Top Reasons to Farm on NEAR Protocolby@INC4
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Top Reasons to Farm on NEAR Protocol

September 6th 2022
6 min
by @INC4 15,334 reads
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NEAR is a rapidly growing Layer 1 blockchain ecosystem. We explore the capabilities the protocol offers to both developers and users, from tools for building decentralized applications to taking advantage of intuitive interfaces to gain high APY from DeFi farming platforms.

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The number of blockchains that developers can build on is growing every single day, each with their own distinct features and capabilities. So why do we think farming on NEAR is the best choice? Well, no matter what perspective you use the blockchain comes out on top — in this article, we’ll explore the concrete reasons why.

NEAR Blockchain Summary

NEAR is a public Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain designed to host decentralized applications (Dapps) through the deployment of smart contracts. While sometimes described as a competitor to Ethereum, this is not strictly true. Despite Ethereum’s well-publicized scalability issues leading to high transaction fees, it nevertheless remains the largest ecosystem for decentralized applications and will continue to be so once the much-anticipated Eth 2.0 upgrade is rolled out. This is why, rather than simply acting as an Ethereum competitor, NEAR also provides cross-chain capabilities; that is, as well as its own features, Ethereum-compatible Dapps can be launched on NEAR with minimal changes.


Here are some of NEAR’s main features:

Carbon neutral

We mentioned above that NEAR uses the PoS consensus mechanism, which is favored by newer blockchain technologies as a much greener and more efficient alternative to Proof of Work, which has come under fire over the last year due to high carbon emissions. NEAR has gone one step further, being awarded the Climate Neutral product label by South Pole, an organization that works with businesses to implement ecological solutions. Their audit found that NEAR was 200,000x more energy efficient than Bitcoin.

Sharding

If the blockchain sector wishes to grow, it needs to become more scalable, accommodating the influx of transactions that come with new users. Layer 2 solutions, built on top of existing blockchains, ease the pressure on base (layer 1) networks such as Ethereum but are band-aid solutions with their own limitations and usability issues.


NEAR has had mass uptake in mind from the get-go, with its sharding architecture, Nightshade, as the main feature. Sharding involves splitting the network into smaller chunks so that each transaction doesn’t need to be sent around to all validators. This eases congestion at peak times. Implemented in four different phases, Nightshade will eventually include dynamic sharding, whereby shards are automatically created or pruned based on network pressure.

Low fees and fast transactions

Related to both its PoS consensus mechanism and sharding capabilities, NEAR boasts transactions that are extremely fast and affordable, often much less than $1, and with near-instant finality.

Multichain capabilities

As hinted at above, outright competition between blockchains has now given way to cooperation. While further blockchain connections are planned, the biggest fish is undoubtedly Ethereum, which is why NEAR has given ways for both developers and users to connect to the blockchain:

  • Aurora - An EVM created by NEAR Protocol, allowing developers to launch Ethereum-compatible applications on the NEAR network. Smart contracts don’t have to be rewritten and the base currency is ETH, meaning that developers and users can take advantage of Ethereum applications while also benefiting from the low fees, fast transactions, and security of NEAR.
  • Rainbow Bridge - A way for users to quickly and easily transfer Ethereum and other ERC-20 assets to the NEAR network. As stated on the Rainbow Bridge website:

The Rainbow Bridge allows any information that is cryptographically provable on NEAR to be usable in Ethereum contracts and vice versa.


This means that once on the NEAR network, ETH and other tokens can be used without incurring any congestion or high fees, especially at peak times.

User and developer friendliness

One of NEAR Protocol’s key priorities is ensuring ease of use on both the side of the developer and the user.


For users, features include:

  • Human readable account names, in contrast to the usual cryptographic wallet addresses.

  • The ability to explore NEAR Dapps without having to connect a wallet.

  • Educational blogs, guides and tutorials to help new users navigate the world of DeFi and Web3.


For developers, features include:

  • Guilds — specialists teams of experienced developers from around the world who provide support to those creating a Dapp on the NEAR blockchain.
  • Fair payment from fees that their smart contracts generate.
  • Grants from the NEAR Foundation.
  • CLI, SDKs, APIs, and other tools to assist efficient and cost-effective development using different languages, even JavaScript.

Native stablecoin

In April 2022, the NEAR-native stablecoin, $USN, was launched through the Decentral Bank DAO. Over-collateralized by USDT in the short term, phase two will see it be backed by a range of different assets, including NEAR and ETH. This marks a big development, allowing users to take advantage of:


  • A stable medium of exchange between NEAR-based DeFi protocols.
  • Arbitrage opportunities should the price temporarily diverge from its $1 peg.
  • Greater usage and stability of the $NEAR token.


NEAR is Growing - Key Info

Due to the many features mentioned above, the NEAR ecosystem — which only launched on the mainnet in 2020 — is growing at a huge rate. Here are some figures to give you an idea of the blockchain’s expansion.


  • Number of accounts - NEAR boasts around 17 million accounts at the time of writing, up from just 3 million, six months ago.
  • Number of projects - Over 700 projects are now built or being built on the NEAR, Aurora, and Octopus networks.
  • Number of transactions - Transactions are steadily increasing, averaging around 350,000 per day over the last month.
  • Number of active developers - From 2020 - 2021, the number of active developers grew by 4x on the NEAR network, one of the largest increases. This is extremely promising, after all, not only is this a vote of confidence, but more projects equals more users.

Source: Electric Capital

Source: Electric Capital

NEAR as Your Choice for Yield Farming

So we’ve had an overview of NEAR’s features and seen how the blockchain is sustainably growing in terms of users and developers. For this reason, we believe it represents the best and most dynamic environment for yield farming.


Let’s take a look at three trending projects on NEAR:

Burrow

A lending platform similar to Aave and Compound, Burrow calls itself an interest rate market protocol, unlocking yields from base layers through tokens such as stNEAR and stETH, as well as unlocking yields on tokens based on other blockchains, thanks to NEAR’s Rainbow Bridge.


One of Burrow’s most interesting features is its self-paying loans. This works by users putting up collateral for loans that earns interest, in effect, paying off the amount that has been borrowed over time.

Ref Finance

Operating through AMM smart contracts, Ref Finance is NEAR’s leading DEX, allowing users to swap, stake, provide liquidity, and farm, all while taking advantage of NEAR’s fast transactions and ultra-low fees.

Users of Ref Finance can benefit from multiple pools in one contract, atomic transactions, a customizable pool fee, and optimal returns for pools comprised of stable assets. This is thanks to Ref’s multi-chain aggregator, which aggregates data from decentralized exchanges across NEAR and Aurora to leverage liquidity for better prices and lower trading slippage.

PembRock Finance

PembRock is NEAR’s first leveraged yield farming protocol, allowing farmers to leverage their assets by up to 3x for greater rewards. PembRock’s user-friendly interface makes leveraged farming as seamless as possible, with customizable positions, integration with Ref Finance, farming automation, and auto compounding returns, all while taking advantage of NEAR’s great features.


The fact that users can leverage funds and access a range of currencies means that a range of different strategies can be taken advantage of to profit no matter the prevailing market conditions. There are also bonuses for early adopters, where they can get a share of the native $PEM token, which in the near future will be able to be staked for protocol profit and decision-making rights as part of the PembRock DAO.

What have we learned?

NEAR has positioned itself as a blockchain that puts users first, while providing continuous support to developers through an expert team, NEAR Foundation grants, and NEAR Guilds. This has spurred the development of Dapps from a diverse range of areas, such as the metaverse, the environment, gaming, music, and of course, DeFi. These strides place NEAR Protocol at the center of Web3 development.

Find out more

While we hope you’ve got something out of this article, you can always go deeper to explore everything that NEAR offers. Here are some links for further information:

AwesomeNEAR

Welcome to NEAR | NEAR Documentation

NEAR's Native Stablecoin USN launches 2.0 | NEAR Protocol (medium.com)

Burrow – Medium

Ref Finance – Guide

PembRock Finance School of PembRock



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