Near Protocol is a third-generation blockchain which strives to offer better scalability, interoperability and composability than the already-existing solutions on the market. The project was launched in 2020.
To improve scalability, the platform uses a unique sharding technology (Nightshade), where validators process transactions simultaneously across multiple shards.
However, Nightshade adds a unique touch: shards also produce a fraction of the next block ('chunk'), which together allows the protocol to potentially achieve a throughput of 100,000 with near-instant block-resolution time (and near-zero fees).
Сross-chain interoperability is offered via Rainbow Bridge and Aurora. The former allows users to transfer ERC-20 tokens, stablecoins and NFTs between the Ethereum and NEAR blockchains, while the latter permits developers to build DeFi products on an Ethereum-compatible platform. Both options offer users a better experience of higher throughput and lower transaction fees.
Near Protocol uses a Threshold Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, similar to the standard PoS, but validators are chosen via a process that resembles an auction (TPoS determines the minimum threshold for becoming a validator in each epoch/12-hour period; those who have staked above it may be selected as a validator).
The native token of Near Protocol is NEAR. The token is used to pay transaction and data storage fees on the network and can be staked to receive rewards. NEAR token holders can also participate in the governance of the network and vote on its future.
Check out this article to choose the most convenient way to buy cryptocurrencies, including NEAR.
NB: For NEAR transfers, Cryptopay supports NEAR Protocol network only. All the funds sent via other networks (e.g. ERC-20, BEP-20 etc.) will be lost forever.