NEAR Protocol today announced it has raised $350 million in new funding to expand the development of its developer-oriented blockchain platform designed to support decentralized Web3 applications.
The funding round was led by Tiger Global with participation from crypto-native investors FTX Ventures, Hashed, DragonFly Capital, Blockchange Ventures, Republic Capital and MetaWeb.vc. This latest funding round is double the $150 million the company raised in January. According to CoinMarketCap, NEAR’s cryptocurrency has a market cap exceeding $10.6 billion.
NEAR said it will use the funds to expand its developer ecosystem to support decentralized applications, called dapps, to accelerate the adoption of what is called Web3, or the decentralized web. Since the launch of its mainnet in 2020, NEAR has been developing a fast, low-cost blockchain designed as an alternative to Ethereum, which is currently the most popular for dapp development.
Because of its popularity, Ethereum has suffered scalability issues that have generated high transaction fees and the need for extra protocol layers to ease these problems. NEAR’s vision is to provide its own blockchain where the same use cases such as decentralized finance, token economies, dapps and decentralized gaming will be able to scale up with less friction.
The NEAR Protocol blockchain can also run alongside Ethereum using a bridge, as well as other blockchains such as Polkadot and Cosmos. As a result, assets and information can be exchanged with other blockchains with ease, giving developers interoperability.
NEAR’s ecosystem has become home to a large number of projects since its launch including marketplaces, games and DeFi apps. Projects building on the NEAR Protocol include NEAR Crowd, a service that allows users to earn NEAR tokens by performing small tasks; the Paras 2.0 marketplace for buying, selling and trading digital collectibles; and Ref Finance, a community-led decentralized finance platform.
Ref Finance is one of a few dapp projects running on NEAR that has received venture capital after announcing $4.8 million in February. Aurora, an Ethereum-compatible scaling solution, also announced $12 million in October.