Welcome! This page will give you a single guided path through the experience of getting to know the NEAR platform.
If you have any questions along the way, we have a vibrant community on Discord that is eager to help.
What is NEAR?
NEAR Protocol (aka "NEAR") is a decentralized platform where developers can host serverless applications and smart contracts which have easy access to "open finance" networks and benefit from an ecosystem of "open web" components.
Unlike other blockchain-based platforms, the NEAR Protocol has been built from the ground up to be the easiest in the world for both developers and their end users while still providing the scalability and security necessary to serve those users. Specifically, NEAR is designed to make it easier to:
- Build decentralized applications, especially as a developer familiar only with "traditional" web or app concepts.
- Onboard users with a smooth experience, even if they aren't familiar with crypto, tokens, keys, wallets or other artifacts of this ecosystem.
- Scale your application since the underlying platform automatically expands capacity via sharding without additional costs or effort on your part.
: "Open Finance" networks facilitate digital value transfer and storage using tokens and tokenized assets. Practically, this spans everything from easy peer-to-peer payments to sophisticated lending and trading protocols.
: "Open Web" components are re-usable smart contracts that share state, making for easy composability of applications that still protect user data. Where Open Finance is build on the permissionless movement of value, the Open Web further generalizes this to operate on all data.
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain is a particular kind of irreversible distributed ledger which combines aspects of both computation and data storage. Each new block which is added contains modifications to the state of the ledger that have been agreed upon by the consensus of the distributed nodes which run the network.
These ledgers allow for a large number of participants to permissionlessly but collaboratively manage extremely large amounts of value (Bitcoin is worth >$100B) entirely through the use of basic economic incentives.
While it is intellectually interesting to explore the theory and technology behind blockchains, it is not necessary to do this in order to build, test and deploy apps. Similarly, you don't need to understand how fault tolerant commodity compute clusters work inside AWS, GCP or Azure in order to deploy an app to these clouds. Focus on the code!
Best orientation videos
- [ watch ] Blockchain 101 Onramp: Deconstructing the Blockchain Ecosystem
- [ watch ] What are Decentralized Applications and How Do They Work
- [ watch ] The Design of Blockchain Based Apps
- [ watch ] But how does bitcoin actually work? by 3Blue1Brown
Best orientation resources
- [ read ] The Beginner’s Guide to the NEAR Blockchain
- [ read ] Blockchain Infrastructure Landscape: A First Principles Framing
- [ read ] a16z Crypto Glossary
- [ read ] a16z Crypto Canon
How do I get started?
- Set up an account.
- Choose a starter project, click
Runat the top and play for a few minutes.
- Check out the network status (and any changes you made while playing in step 2). The block explorer provides you with insights on nodes, transactions, and blocks. You can look for your account ID used in step 2.
- Dive head first into the docs.
- Let us know if you need anything.
Is there anything that I should know up front?
Developing on a sharded blockchain-based platform is conceptually similar to building web applications but there are still differences you will need to pay attention to. For example, the "smart contracts" that back these applications require careful thinking about good security practices, asynchronous calls and release management when deployed to production.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools available in these docs to test-drive these things and learn more.
What else can I explore?
[ open ] NEAR Protocol network status page
Lunch & Learn Series
[ watch ] new episodes published regularly
- NEAR Lunch & Learn Ep. 05: Accounts and Runtime
- NEAR Lunch & Learn Ep. 04: Nightshade: Consensus and finality
- NEAR Lunch & Learn Ep. 03: Light clients in Proof-of-Stake systems
- NEAR Lunch & Learn Ep. 02: Economics in a Sharded Blockchain
- NEAR Lunch & Learn Ep. 01: Cross Shard Transactions with One Block Delay
[ watch ] new episodes published regularly
- Whiteboard Series with NEAR | Ep: 31 Kevin Davis from Kava Labs
- Whiteboard Series with NEAR | Ep: 30 David Vorick from Sia
- Whiteboard Series with NEAR | Ep: 29 Taylor Wei from Top Network
- Whiteboard Series with NEAR | Ep: 28 Jaynti Kanani from Matic
- Whiteboard Series with NEAR | Ep: 27 Xiaoshan Zhu from Meter
[ view ] new questions and answers published regularly
- Could we consider non-plugins web-based crypto wallets as safe? (view)
- How to print the length of an array in AssemblyScript / Near? (view)
- Changing VMContext attributes during tests (view)
- String attribute set in init method always returns empty string (view)
- How to attach value (deposit) to transaction with Nearlib? (view)