Over the recent period, in light of the US inflation rate, which has remained at a high level, people suspect that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates sooner than previously scheduled. Driven by such negative market sentiments, plenty of cryptos have suffered a temporary price drop. Yet, NEAR, the native token of NEAR Protocol has defied the gloomy market and is now widely regarded as an undervalued Layer 1 protocol.
Last year, the performance limitations of Ethereum triggered the appearance of many Layer 1 projects, including Solana, Terra, Avalanche, and Polkadot, which have gained the favor of big investors. Despite this, considering the high market cap of these projects, institutional investors are also in search of outstanding Layer 1 projects that have been underestimated as they look for the next Solana. Among such projects, Fantom, Harmony, Atom, and NEAR have captured the spotlight.
In particular, NEAR, a POS-based public chain that uses sharding, has recently made many moves. For instance, the EVM-compatible chain Aurora and Rainbow Bridge have become increasingly matured; the appchain Octopus Network gained more market recognition; Staking has been activated to unlock ecosystem rewards. As a result, the public chain has attracted the attention of plenty of investors worldwide.
Aurora: an EVM-compatible chain on NEAR that lowers migration costs for developers
Aurora, an EVM-compatible blockchain launched by NEAR, is an EVM built by the NEAR team that offers the Layer 2 experience to users and developers. Relying on NEAR Sharding (a scalable technology), Aurora features a throughput that’s 10 times higher than Ethereum Mainnet, thus allowing users to benefit from the lower transaction fees.
On Aurora, you can use the same infrastructures, such as developer tools and wallets, that you use for Ethereum, and the public chain also relies on ETH as the basic token. We can tell that Aurora is fully compatible with Ethereum, which makes it significantly more accessible for users and developers by enabling seamless migration from Ethereum to Aurora.
Aurora’s TVL now stands at $790 million, according to DeFi Llama. On Aurora’s official website, we can see that many Ethereum applications such as DODO, Multichain, and The Graph have already been migrated to Aurora, while leading Ethereum applications like SushiSwap and Curve will also soon be launched on Aurora.
Rainbow Bridge: A trustless, efficient cross-chain bridge NEAR
With the NEAR-built Rainbow Bridge, you can transfer tokens between Ethereum, NEAR, and Aurora at any time. Although transferring tokens from NEAR/Aurora to Ethereum through Rainbow Bridge may take up to 12 hours, it is much more efficient than Layer 2 projects like Arbitrum and Optimism which make you wait for up to seven days.
Moreover, Rainbow Bridge is designed to minimize the amount of trust the cross-chain bridge requires. Other than the validators of the corresponding blockchain, no individual or entity has the authority to modify the relevant data. Therefore, users only need to trust the blockchain nodes connected to the Rainbow Bridge, i.e. validators of NEAR, Aurora, and Ethereum, without trusting the Rainbow Bridge itself.
Octopus Network: An application chain driving the growth of the NEAR ecosystem
Through Octopus Network, an appchain solution on NEAR. Through Octopus Network, developers can create their appchains on NEAR with high efficiency and low costs. This allows them to quickly build NEAR-powered applications that are somewhat less secure.
Cosmos and Polkadot are among the best-known appchain solutions out there. Compared with Cosmos, Octopus simplifies the process of finding validators, staking, and deployment, making it easier to release an appchain. Polkadot, on the other hand, auctions a certain number of slots in the early stage. Such biddings make Polkadot less accessible than Octopus.
As the NEAR-enabled infrastructures continue to advance, plenty of projects, including Ardana, ConsenSys, and Terra, have partnered up with NEAR, and its ecosystem is also fast-growing. In the past seven days, the growth rate of NEAR’s TVL has exceeded 50%, while its EVM-compatible chain Aurora has been growing at a rate of over 30%. Such a growth record shows the strong expectations for NEAR among investors with liquid funds. In 2021, driven by market excitement, massive funds flowed into Solana. This year NEAR may repeat the same story.