It’s a community operated Cloud, providing a platform for building open source and open state applications.
It’s a decentralized application platform running on its own blockchain, that solves usability and scaling via sharding.
At Near, we can differentiate between the following three entities
The NEAR Protocol is a permissionless, Proof-of-Stake blockchain protocol that anyone can access, add transactions to, or read from. The public NEAR blockchain is an instantiation of the reference code at http://github.com/nearprotocol/nearcore, but theoretically this repo could be forked and deployed as a separate chain, as many protocols have done, to build upon the core Bitcoin code.
The NEAR Foundation
A non-profit foundation headquartered in Switzerland, that is responsible for contracting protocol maintainers, funding ecosystem development, and shepherding core governance of the protocol.
A US-based software research and development company that did much of the early development of the protocol and its tooling. While Near Inc does not own or run the NEAR Protocol (which is decentralized), it continues to propose changes to the reference implementation codebase as one of multiple third party entities performing R&D work for the protocol.
What's important for you?
The first implementation of the NEAR Protocol is done by Near Inc. It is a permissionless, open-source blockchain that anyone can write to and read from.
We will show you exactly how in this document!
Support & Community
If you have any questions about NEAR, you can get direct access to the team behind it and other members of the community through Discord.
To find more about on how YOU can get involved, please checkout our community section!