NEARCON ‘23 Day One: Major Announcements and Insightful Panels in Focus – NEAR Protocol

NEARCON ‘23 Day One: Major Announcements and Insightful Panels in Focus

NEAR Foundation
November 8, 2023

As the sun set on Lisbon, the first day of an already iconic NEARCON ‘23 drew to a close, the excitement and momentum of the entire ecosystem was on full display. The morning kicked off with insightful sessions on open web interoperability and AI, all leading up to NEAR co-founder and newly announced NEAR Foundation CEO Illia Polosukhin unveiling some exciting announcements.

From regulatory talks to marketing in the open web, here’s everything that went down at Day One of NEARCON ‘23.

Talks, panels and sessions highlight day one

NEAR: The Open Web Vision
Illia Polosukhin, NEAR co-founder, delivered an inspiring session on his vision for the open web, sharing NEAR’s strategic direction and upcoming enhancements. His talk illuminated the path forward for the ecosystem, including new initiatives and partnerships in areas like account abstraction and NEAR’s role as the main portal to the open web.

Regulating the Open Web: Chris Donovan and Michael Casey
Chris Donovan, COO of NEAR Foundation, and Michael Casey, Chief Content Officer at CoinDesk, engaged in a riveting dialogue about the intersection of open web philosophies and regulation. They unpacked the complexities of fostering innovation within a framework that ensures inclusivity, transparency, and community governance.

Innovations in AI, Account Abstraction, and NFTs Today
Nate Geier, CEO of Mintbase, took attendees on a deep dive into the evolving realms of AI, account abstraction, and the burgeoning NFT landscape. His insights provided a closer look at how these technologies interplay to shape a user-centric NFT ecosystem and finding product market fit for NFT projects.

Marketing Through Web3 Mechanisms at DevHub and Beyond
Joe Spano of ShardDog highlighted the transformative power of open web mechanisms in the marketing domain. He discussed how decentralized approaches are reshaping brand strategies, offering businesses a novel way to engage with their audiences while retaining user privacy and control.

Open Brand: Unlocking the Power of Brand to Accelerate Growth

One of the biggest challenges for decentralized projects and founders is developing a powerful, cohesive brand. Tom Munckton, head of design at well-known branding agency Fold7, joined NEAR Foundation CMO Jack Collier in a fireside chat, where the two dove into NEAR’s rebrand as a case study for any open web project.

Recap of major announcements

The crowd at NEARCON ‘23 was buzzing with anticipation as Illia took the stage to kick off the afternoon sessions, and he didn’t disappoint, unveiling a number of key announcements that will drive NEAR’s vision of the open web into the future. 

NEAR Data Availability (DA)

Perhaps the biggest announcement of the day was Illia lifting the curtain on NEAR DA, offering Ethereum developers a low-cost, secure data availability layer. NEAR DA opens the door for enhanced modular blockchain solutions, ensuring scalability and cost-efficiency for developers in the NEAR ecosystem and beyond.

Polygon zkWASM

Illia also spotlighted a new NEAR and Polygon Labs partnership, zkWASM, which fuses zero-knowledge proofs with Web Assembly (WASM) for enhanced blockchain scalability and decentralization. This exciting research initiative will pave the way for greater trustless interoperability across the open web, including between NEAR and the Ethereum ecosystem.

Coin98 Decentralized Dapp Store 

Coin98’s new decentralized app store, leveraging NEAR’s Blockchain Operating System (B.O.S), will empower its 7 million users to access diverse apps across key Ethereum Layer-2 ecosystems. The user-friendly platform will enhance dApp discoverability, streamlining the open web experience within a single, decentralized interface.

Ecosystem announcements

And the momentum didn’t stop there, with a couple of key ecosystem announcements coming to the forefront during Day One.

Tekuno spurs open web adoption

Tekuno has sparked a surge in NEAR’s ecosystem by activating over 27,000 new wallets since March 2023. This NEAR BAAS platform, leveraging NFTs to gamify real-world experiences, has garnered attention with collaborations like Mastercard, showcasing NEAR’s growing appeal and Tekuno’s innovative impact.

Mintbase empowers NEAR builders

Mintbase, in partnership with NEAR, has launched its 2023 cohort to propel the NEAR ecosystem. The initiative aims to empower developers with essential open web development tools and has earmarked funding for innovative projects that contribute open-source solutions, driving forward the creation and adoption of decentralized applications.

Side events and networking success 

The day concluded with a couple of amazing side events where networking, brainstorming, and fun all came together. The final speaker session led right into the SailGP Happy Hour at the SailGP Lounge directly at the venue, giving NEARCON-goers a chance to unwind and socialize right away.

From there, things lead into the Opening Night Party, Sponsored by Cosmose and BitGo, at the Pavilhão Carlos Lopes. It’ll be a great chance to party until midnight with fellow builders, founders, and open web enthusiasts. Between the Opening Night party and SailGP Happy Hour, Day One’s social activities showcase the energy and enthusiasm of the entire ecosystem.

A stellar NEARCON Day Two agenda around the corner

As NEARCON ’23’s Day Two swiftly approaches, attendees can look forward to a plethora of enriching talks and panels, including deep dives into blockchain’s societal impacts and the latest in open web advancements. 

Additionally, the Women of Web3 Brunch and Founders Forum Programming kick off at 8:30 AM, offering insights on diversity, equity, and open web building success. And if you’re participating in the Hackathon, make sure your project is submitted by the deadline.

Thanks to everyone who attended Day One, and if you weren’t able to attend, rest assured that it’s just the beginning of a NEARCON ‘23 that will only grow to be more iconic over the next few days.

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