Wondering how to buy Near Protocol? You can purchase NEAR with fiat on Uphold.
Decentralized finance (DeFi) has erupted in popularity since developers started to build financial services applications on the 2nd-most popular cryptocurrency, Ethereum (ETH). Near Protocol (NEAR) is a new Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain that supports smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps). It aims to compete with Ethereum, the king of DeFi.
Near Protocol’s goal is to provide a scalable and secure blockchain for DApp developers and DeFi users. Near Protocol already has implemented one of the core improvements planned for Ethereum in the awaited Ethereum 2.0 update — sharding. The upgrade will likely not be fully launched until the end of this year or early 2022, leaving Near Protocol a great opportunity to shine.
What is Near Protocol?
NEAR is the native token of its blockchain and has multiple uses within the system. NEAR can be staked or delegated with a validator node to help run the network’s Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. NEAR can also be used in integration with decentralized apps such as marketplaces where you can buy and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Like Ethereum, transaction fees on Near are paid with its native cryptocurrency: Ether on Ethereum is to NEAR on Near Protocol.
Near recognizes the largest issue with the DeFi ecosystem on Ethereum — high transaction fees. Although the list of platforms on the network is minuscule compared to its competitors, the technology is impressive and may entice developers and users to switch to Near. It uses the brilliant technology of sharding where the blockchain is split across many validator nodes to spread out the workload, decreasing congestion. High transaction fees have driven many users away from Ethereum to cheaper alternatives like Binance Smart Chain (BSC). BSC has minimal fees, but it sacrifices one of the main tenets of decentralized finance — decentralization.
Near prides itself on its decentralization and transparency with its community. The entire network is open-source, and developers from around the world have contributed to the project. An impressive core team of more than 50 members works for Near and many more are contracted to build out and improve the network. DeFi users shouldn’t have to sacrifice decentralization or large sums of crypto (in the form of transaction fees) to use DApps, and Near may be the best solution, at least until Ethereum 2.0 is complete.
Brief History of Near Protocol
Near first started in the summer of 2018 after the 2 founders Alex Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin pivoted from a previous business venture. They were working on a project to automate programming before they realized it wasn’t viable with the technology available at the time. They decided to move to the cryptocurrency sphere after trying to automate smart contract generation on Ethereum. Shortly after, Near Protocol was born.
Skidanov and Polosukhin quickly acquired new hires around the world and built what they call the Near Collective. They wanted to make Near a completely open-source platform where anyone could add or suggest changes to the code. The website has a list of “Bounties” that programmers can apply to build part of the expanding Near ecosystem for rewards.
The NEAR token has experienced a wild ride in price fluctuations this year, at least partially because of its relatively small market capitalization of about $850 million. At the beginning of 2021, it was worth about $1.40 per token and it steadily rose for months until it reached its all-time high of $7.57 in March. It stayed between $4 and $7 until the entire crypto market crashed in May. At the time of writing it is hovering around $5.38 after recovering from a dip to $1.86 on June 26.
How to buy Near Protocol
Looking for an easy guide to buy NEAR tokens? Follow these quick steps to pick some up for yourself today!
- Open an online account.
NEAR is available on a few trading platforms, including Binance and Crypto.com. However, Binance only supports NEAR on Binance.com, which isn’t available to U.S customers. Because of this, Crypto.com will likely be the best place to purchase NEAR for U.S. investors. Crypto.com has a sleek and powerful application on iOS and Android phones.
Before you can purchase NEAR you will need to verify your exchange account. In the U.S. this usually entails providing your address, Social Security number and a picture of your driver’s license or passport. If you plan on using your NEAR tokens on DApps on the network, you will need to set up a wallet to store and transfer the tokens.
- Buy a wallet (optional).
You could simply leave your NEAR in the exchange you purchased it from, but without a hardware or software wallet, you can’t do much with the token beyond price speculation. Moving your tokens to a personal wallet also gives you more control over your tokens. Successful hacks on major exchanges have lost users millions of dollars worth of cryptos over the years. Even though the largest exchanges today like Crypto.com are extremely secure, hardware wallets eliminate the risk of cyberattacks.
- Make your purchase.
Now that your account is set up and verified you can fund your account and start trading NEAR. The easiest and fastest method to fund your Crypto.com account with U.S. dollars is through instant ACH deposits. The app guides you through the simple steps to link your bank account to make your deposit. You can also send other supported cryptos to your Crypto.com account and trade them for NEAR. Once your account is funded, just find the trading pair you want with Near such as NEAR/tether (USDT) and make your purchase.
Best Crypto Wallets For NEAR Protocol
Best Hardware Wallet: Ledger
Ledger is a leading hardware wallet brand that boasts thousands of supported cryptocurrencies, including NEAR token. Unfortunately, Ledger doesn’t support NEAR out of the box and requires users to install the Near app on their devices first. Ledger has a quick and simple guide on how to download and set it up.
Ledger produces 2 hardware wallet models dubbed the Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X. Both devices have the same secure chip that randomly generates and encrypts your wallet’s private keys, the only access point to your cryptos. The Nano S is the more basic model and is perfect for beginners. The Nano X adds a larger screen and Bluetooth functionality to facilitate on-the-go use.
Best Software Wallet: Near Wallet
Near Protocol is designed for decentralized applications, and a software wallet is often necessary to interact with these types of programs. NEAR isn’t supported by most of the major software wallets such as MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet, but the company has a proprietary wallet to use with its token. Unlike wallets on Ethereum, Near Wallet requires a small amount of NEAR token to open an account. You will need to buy some on an exchange or get a friend to send you the required 0.2 NEAR first. Once your account is set up you can transfer ERC-20 tokens from your Ethereum wallet to your Near Wallet and start using DApps on the exciting new network.
Adoption is probably the most important factor in the growth of Near Protocol. It is already an efficient smart contract platform with the potential for great DApps, but it may need more users and developers to see greater success.
Trade, Sell or Convert Your NEAR
NEAR is a volatile asset and that won’t change any time soon. Smaller volumes of trading can push the price up or down because of its relatively small market capitalization. Also, if the network doesn’t attract enough developers and users on major applications, NEAR’s price may be severely affected in the long term.
For these reasons you need to know how to close your NEAR position. Luckily, Crypto.com and Binance make it easy to do so. Just go to either exchange you have a verified account on, find the trading pair you want and complete the transaction.
Current Crypto Prices
Nearly all cryptocurrencies on the market suffered a devastating crash this May, and although many have recovered some of the value lost, the downward trend may not be over. The nosedive was caused by a myriad of factors including Tesla’s decision to stop accepting Bitcoin as payment and a ban in China on crypto mining and services. Bitcoin and Ethereum led the market to all-time highs before the crash and both are now struggling to reclaim earlier resistance levels.
Bitcoin has been bouncing between $30,000 and about $36,000 over the past few weeks, and Ethereum has ranged from about $1,750 to $2,350 during the same period. Many investors believe that the astonishing 2020-2021 bull market is over, and we won’t see all-time highs again for a while. Others think it's only a correction and that it will continue to rise again soon. We likely won’t know who is right until the market breaks out in either direction.
Is Near Protocol a Good Investment?
Near Protocol, like all altcoins, is a risky investment that could beget investors massive returns or devastating losses. Anyone who invested in NEAR in late 2020 could have sold their stake for an incredible 10 times return this March. However, those who bought it at its all-time high would be down more than 70% on their purchase at the time of writing. If the network gains traction with users and developers, the token may skyrocket again. However, the platform could easily fail to compete with its rivals and hemorrhage value.
Frequently Asked Questions
Near Protocol is a layer 1 blockchain.
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