To celebrate the milestone of 1000 teams building on NEAR, we reached out to a number of them to shed some light on the people behind the projects.
Over the course of 10 weeks, you will read some personal insights of these NEAR Ecosystem leaders.
Today’s question (answers in random order):
Illia Polosukhin - Co-Founder @ NEAR Protocol
Originally we wanted to build a decentralized crowd sourcing platform, to solve our own problem of challenges around payments to people around the world who could do the work we needed. Investigating how to build such system led to the rabbit hole of blockchain protocols, from consensus to developer models and realization that a more user friendly and scalable infrastructure is needed.
Alex Shevshenko - CEO @ Aurora Labs
2015, I’ve joined BitFury and started to work on Exonum – the framework for permissioned blockchains, where I was developing the consensus algorithm, growing the project from 3 to 35 people. Exonum was one of the first blockchain projects to use Rust as programming language. Actually, some parts of Exonum are reused in NEAR Core.
Louis Liu - Founder @ Octopus Network
Before Octopus, our team focused on the blockchain interoperability area. We built the 1st version of the Flow-Ethereum NFT bridge, the Platon-Ethereum token bridge, and started the work of Substrate IBC in 2020.
Bowen Wang - Head of Protocol @ Pagoda
NEAR is the first thing I built. We started with a prototype built in python while iterating on the design. A few months later we moved to building it properly in Rust. There were a lot of struggles, redesigns, and major changes of priorities, but in the end we successfully delivered mainnet in October 2020.
Sandi Fatić - CEO @ Calimero Network
I have been working in the industry since 2018, as a core protocol developer at an ICO Layer 1, but started researching and investing in 2017. After that I joined Facebook and spent 2 years working on releasing the Facebook web. Shortly after that, I joined the NEAR Protocol and my first bigger accomplishment was helping the building infrastructure and release process for the official Mainnet launch. It was amazing to be a part of the launch of a project that size, and be part of Illia’s team. That’s definitely something that shaped who I am today.
Claudio Cossio - Co-founder @ Meta Pool
For me it was building the first Spanish speaking community on NEAR with NEAR Hispano and supporting the Education team around NEAR University creating the first bootcamps for developers that are interested in building on NEAR Protocol.
Through NEAR Hispano I met my co-founder who at that time was launching Narwallets, we started to discuss how to collaborate on another project he was designing called Meta Staking Pool. I looked at the white paper and it took me a few weeks to completely understand what LSD was all about, decided to collaborate on it and came in as a co-founder.
So Meta Pool was my first decentralized protocol that I helped launch on a Proof of Stake blockchain.
Evie - Business Development Manager @ Trisolaris
I have been a user/investor in the space since 2017 but have only started to contribute in 2022 when I joined Trisolaris. I have explored many different ecosystems including Ethereum, Cosmos, Fantom, Binance, but I made Near my home as it fits into my vision of how a Layer 1 should be.
Fauve Altman - Marketing Lead @ Ref Finance
The first thing I did was join the first DAPP registry that existed: State of the DApps. I was focused on finding all the DAPPS from the ecosystem and advising the teams on how to best communicate to their end-users, managing partnerships between DAPPS and building analytics to demonstrate the ecosystem growth.
Marko - CEO @ Tonic DEX
The Tonic team got started in the NEAR ecosystem by writing a proof of concept prediction market on NEAR, called Currence. We have worked with prediction markets previously and it seemed like a natural choice for a first dApp to build. After we built our MVP we were hooked. We started Tonic just 2 months later.
Ran Yi - Co-Founder @ Orderly Network
I came from a traditional finance (TradFi) background with 10 years of experience in global asset management. In 2017, I went into the field of cryptocurrency, rekindling with my friends from Carnegie Mellon, Jack Tan, and Mark Pimentel, who started Kronos Research and I joined them as the COO. I was responsible for Kronos’ and WOO Network’s (incubated by Kronos) push into DeFi.
Uladzislau Dziarkach - CPO @ Roketo
Multistreaming - Multiple FT streaming for Airdrops. This feature allows to Airdropsender to send tokens via stream to a big list of recipients, usinn Roketo’s smart contract request.
Carolin Wend - COO @ Mintbase
We launched Mintbase in 2019 and hosted the first OG crypto artist which was super fun! It was amazing to see what people built on the protocol. We also experimented a lot in the Metaverse, as such we hosted the first ever NFT advent calendar in cryptovoxels.
Chris Gale - Co-founder @ Few and Far
I was the cofounder of Verasity back in 2017, after learning about the potential of smart contracts and how it can reshape the attention economy.
Riqi - Founder/CEO @ Paras
I joined a lot of hackathons back in 2019-2020 and built a couple of innovative products that won the hackathons. I built a custom near-indexer even before near launched their main net.
Oleg Fomenko - Co-Founder @ Sweat Economy
We have built quite a lot of STUFF, but I think my biggest contribution so far is the proposition that appeals to tens of millions of people that is built on blockchain. There are a lot of propositions out there, but they struggle to break into mass-market. Sweatcoin and Sweat Economy is really making getting into web3 easy - you literally can walk into crypto and you do not even need to part with some of your hard-earned cash to start learning. No brainer!
From technical perspective I am really proud of our team and the supporting team on the Near Protocol side who were able to deliver the biggest TGE in Web3 history where more than 13 million people received their $SWEAT over a period of 30 hours on September 12th-13th last year. That was pretty incredible because nobody knew if it would actually work until the very end.
Jon Hook - Co-Founder @ PlayEmber
Our MVP on NEAR protocol - we integrated the NEAR wallet into our existing mobile games on iOS and GP to test our thesis that we could onboard web2 mobile gamers through the appstore to 1. Create new wallets 2. Improve playtime/retention in existing games As part of this process we jumped straight into the NEAR community to real understand the different projects, the builders, the missions and the vision from Ilia, Marike and the executive team.
Blaze - Champion @ NDC (NEAR Digital Collective)
The first tool I built in Web3 was on NEAR and was a set of validator tools for StakeWars II. Since then, my co-founders and I have built Cheddar, a loyalty network on NEAR.
Sasha Baksht - Founder @ Learn Near Club
At my previous project we were building an educational platform for blockchain. It was quite a big thing, fun fact - once Google was showing our logo instead of Ethereum for a couple weeks. Super grateful for that opportunity, I met a lot of super smart folks in blockchain and learned a LOT from them.
Aliaksandr Hudzilin - Co-creator & DAO member @ Human Guild
I joined the founding team of NEAR in August 2018, and was focusing on talking to the market. I’ve identified ~500 or so founders that were in space at the time, and figured out a way to get in touch with most of them via warm introductions. This allowed the NEAR team to get critical feedback from the market (e.g. not to focus just on scalability and focus on end user usability) and win several first applications to NEAR. In addition, I started the first incubator on NEAR, Open Web Collective. It’s now run by Mimi who I recruited in 2020.