NEAR Protocol’s PoS Mainnet Launches as the Foundation Raises $21.6M Led by a16z

The DeFi market has been on an uptrend in recent months as more investors move to capitalize on this upcoming industry.

NEAR Protocol, a project within the DeFi scope, is the latest to announce significant funding in its token sale. The project’s foundation said that it has raised $21.6 million in its latest funding round led by popular Venture Capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

This milestone coincides with a stealth launch of NEAR’s mainnet; the firm recently released an early version of its intended blockchain. The platform is designed to compete with the likes of Ethereum given it also leverages the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus. It, however, goes on to implement sharding just the like the underlying in Ethereum 2.0.

NEAR Protocol Market Prospects

It's quite noteworthy that this initiative raised $12.1 million back in June 2019 during its first seed round. The proceeds came from prominent entities within the FinTech financing world; they include Pantera Capital, Multicoin and Coinbase ventures amongst others.

New reports of the latest funding round now reveal that NEAR attracted more firms and consequently a larger investor capital this year. Over 40 investment firms are said to have participated including former contributors such as Pantera Capital.

As for its fundamental value, the project continues to bank on its sharding approach in a bid to decongest its blockchain network. Basically, sharding reduces the output required by nodes in the validation process; this is because they are tasked with specific shards as opposed to processing all network transactions. A recent press release noted that this approach gives room for scalability:

“NEAR provides the scale and programmability to allow any data—whether digital currency, karma, gaming items or stock certificates—to become a fully portable, programmable and tradable asset.”

Apart from the focus on scalability, NEAR is also expanding its developer community with initiatives such as TessaB and Flux Markets according to the firm’s head of business development, Aliaksandr Hudzilin.

NEAR Mainnet Progress

As mentioned earlier, the project pioneered the first phase of its blockchain platform. This network currently runs on a Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus as opposed to the intended PoS.

It, therefore, follows that the ecosystem has limited participation to authorized community members as of press date. Going forward, this is expected to change as NEAR gradually rolls out superior versions of the mainnet; it will eventually be governed by the entire NEAR community. However, it is still unclear when the final version will launch.

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