Last week we sent Cap, our resident NFT guru and NEAR mastermind to Lisbon’s NEARCON 2022 event, where, between epic fiestas, he attended and contributed to a number of incredible sessions among fellow NEAR Protocol enthusiasts. The event threw up a load of interesting learnings, which we are keen to digest and explore below.
Lesson One: “In-Person Sh*t Matters” - @Web3Hedge
Hedge said it best himself, but to put it more eloquently, we’ve perhaps got a little bit too comfortable and accustomed to the remote-first Web3 world and it takes an epic event like NEARCON 2022 to remind us of that. This blockchain bonanza was very well done and had the added benefit of being hosted in one of Europe’s coolest cities, which went some way to inspiring the excellent vibes.
Bringing together founders, builders, degens, and enthusiasts from all over the Web3 industry to connect in person, forge new friendships, discuss business opportunities, and collaborate on ideas is what this whole thing was about. It was a success and Cap will be back next year with bells on.
“Discord has been doing a great job of connecting the community, but an open bar does it better” - Cap 🧢
Lesson Two: NEAR Foundation hasn’t forgotten about NEAR NFTs
After the epic rise and disastrous fall of LUNA, the NEAR foundation has been quiet on the NFT front. However, after restructuring their Business Development department, they’re now placing an increased emphasis on giving attention to the communities that underpinned their chain’s popularity and activity.
One thing we already knew, but learned more about at NEARCON 2022, is that low NFT volume is a big issue. In response, NEAR has brought on a Business Development professional called Alex Scharrer to focus solely on NFTs and uplift the NEARNFT community. It’s impressive to see a blockchain take on feedback so fast and take action to address it.
Lesson Three: Gaming is #NEAR
Cap led the construction of Near Future, a Discord-based NFT game on NEAR, so he knows all about the challenges and hurdles in releasing a hyper-casual gaming title. NEAR has allowed stronger and more innovative upgrades that other blockchains struggle to compete with, such as instantly upgradeable NFTs. This sentiment that NEAR is a fast, low-cost, and hyper-scalable blockchain that encourages innovation was shared among many in attendance at NEARCON 2022.
NEAR really does offer the perfect infrastructure for new Web3 games in development and it’s exciting to think about all of the games that haven’t been built or conceptualized yet. From talking to others at NEARCON, Cap was very interested in companies like playEmber, which are bringing Web2 mobile games and gamers to the blockchain with a simple SDK.
There were developers at NEARCON this year who could go on to make billions in revenue. Cap got to engage with their projects first-hand in the Gaming Demo showcase of NEARCON’s warehouse. This collaborative environment for NEAR’s GameFi devs was incredible exposure for what is both possible and is on the verge of being released.
Mass adoption is NEAR, and gaming is the trojan horse to ignite it.
Lesson Four: The Future of NEAR is Collaborative
NEAR has all of the potential attributes to become one of the key players in the Blockchain game, but it requires maximum participation and collaboration from the community to realize its vision. This intentional unity between the blockchain and its developers is reaping rewards already; one example is NEARton’s NFT staking, which was a collaborative project that highlighted what can be done with accelerated communications.
“Imagine Web3 as a city of districts, with each district being a blockchain. As the builders develop on NEAR, they are adding bricks to the NEAR district. When the leaders of a district have the capacity to gather together, they’re able to discuss how to build their structures in unison rather than in isolation. The result? A district of many homes, but all under the same roof of NEAR - just like how a city can have consistent architecture across its buildings - we can build our NEAR district by all reading off the same blueprint. Strength in unison OG OG!” - Cap
This was a big theme at NEARCON, with the philosophy of collaboration being something that almost every person and project at the conference had bought into. This really sets NEAR and its community apart from the elitism and hierarchy of other chains.
Lesson Five: Wallets are the key, but gas transaction volume is the door!
Loads of cool new projects are bringing new users to NEAR.
Take SweatCoin for example, in the first month after partnering with NEAR, over 4 million new NEAR wallets were created, which is great for onboarding. At the time of writing, SweatCoin now boasts over 100 million users. However, many of these NEAR wallets never make a transaction in the ecosystem, so can they really be considered new users? There’s a gap in education and support here because if users are getting as far as making the wallet but never interacting with it, they need to be shown how to open the door and use this awesome ecosystem.
What’s next for NEAR?
We keep building…
We keep innovating…
We continue the conversation…
We support one another…
We provide constructive feedback to NEAR…
We keep turning up to Twitter Spaces and ensuring that projects get proper exposure…
We book our tickets for NEARCON 2023!