Alex Skidanov & Illia Polosukhin: NEAR Protocol – Scaling Blockchain to a Billion Users


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NEAR Protocol is a leading smart contract platform that aims for simplicity, security and scalability. NEAR was one of the first sharded blockchains and allows deploying smart contracts using Web Assembly on currently four different shards. NEAR's sharding design, Nightshade, splits the blocks into different segments, which allows for great scalability without negatively impacting user and developer experience. Since, its launch NEAR has evolved into one of the most active smart contract ecosystems.

Illia and Alex, co-founders of NEAR, joined us to chat about the NEAR's protocol design and recent advances, such as the launch of Aurora, NEAR's EVM shard. We also discussed how their sharding solution works and how it can scale to support a massive amount of users and applications.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Why Illia and Alex decided to build NEAR
  • NEAR's core idea to scale through sharding
  • NEAR’s Nightshade sharding design
  • Dealing with interactions between programmes
  • How cross-shard interoperability works
  • Aurora - the EVM shard
  • NEAR's focus on user experience
  • Pagoda - the first web3 startup platform
  • The biggest challenges ahead

Episode links:


  • Gnosis Safe: Gnosis Safe is a smart wallet for securely managing digital assets and allows you to define customized access permissions. -
  • Tally: Tally is a new wallet for Web3 and DeFi that sees the wallet as a public good. Think of it like a community-owned alternative to MetaMask. -

This episode is hosted by Brian Fabian Crain. Show notes and listening options:

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