NEAR Ecosystem Leaders & Their 2022 in Retrospect

NEAR Ecosystem Leaders & Their 2022 in Retrospect

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 ProtocolNEAR Protocol

NEARCON. Amazing event gathering all the builders from the ecosystem under one roof. It was really exciting to see different projects being built and excitement in the eyes of the attendees about the future.

Alex Shevshenko - CEO @ AuroraAurora Labs

There’re many memorable moments in crypto. Many bad ones. However, there are some good moments, like the launch of However, the most memorable moment of the year was the Russian invasion into Ukraine on 24th of February 2023. This event completely changed the life and operations of many people in Aurora/NEAR ecosystem for a long time.

Louis Liu - Founder @ Octopus NetworkOctopus Network

On July 4, 2022, the Octopus core team organized the 1st community call, which brought forward an open discussion mechanism for the Octopus community. It will be remembered by me and many other people as a major milestone on the path for the Octopus Network to evolve into a fully community-governed protocol.

Bowen Wang - Head of Protocol @ PagodaPagoda

Launch of Phase 1 of sharding in September. It was one of the most important technical milestones for the NEAR ecosystem in 2022 and the team had been working hard on it for several months before the launch. It helped significantly increase the number of validators on NEAR and make NEAR more decentralized.

Sandi Fatić - CEO @ Calimero NetworkCalimero Network

Our first public appearance at NEARCON 2022. That was basically the presentation of the project to a broad public with the whole team gathered. It was also important for the team members to get to know each other, and to get to know the other people in the NEAR ecosystem. That moment gave me additional motivation to keep shipping and working hard.


Claudio Cossio - Co-founder @ Meta PoolMeta Pool

Definitely getting a full team together to build decentralized products around liquid staking derivatives is our bet on NEAR Protocol. So we launched 4 products during 2022:

  1. Staking wNEAR on Aurora, leveraging the Rainbow Bridge any user with an EVM compatible wallet can get stNEAR using Meta Pool.
  2. Launched Meta Yield, a crowdfunding platform that does not risk their main token NEAR, all staking rewards are used to support projects in exchange for the project token.
  3. Launched Meta Vote, the first decentralized application that allows an NEP-141 token to be used to vote on a smart contract on NEAR Protocol. In this case the Meta Pool community can use our $META governance token to support projects that want to launch on Meta Yield.
  4. Launched Meta Staking Vote, with the experienced gathered from launching Meta Vote we understood how to take our first step into building our governance for the Meta Pool liquid staking protocol. Now $META token holders can decide how to distribute delegation from the main NEAR delegation pool. Their votes are deciding how the liquid staking smart contract behaves. Getting us one step closer into building a Decentralized Autonomous Organization built on ASTRODAO.
  5. Built Meta Bonds which we recently launched in January 2023, all thought it was ready in December 2022 and we decided to wait until market conditions where more favorable.

Evie - Business Development Manager @ TrisolarisTrisolaris

The most memorable moment for me was attending Nearcon – my first Web3 convention/conference. This is where I met some amazing partners such as Axelar and Stader, on top of learning everything related to Near among peers.

Fauve Altman - Marketing Lead @ Ref FinanceRef Finance

Celebrating NEAR’s one year on Mainnet.

Marko - CEO @ Tonic DEXTonic DEX

Shipping our v1 orderbook to production was a huge milestone. It was tough shipping the product with just a team of 3, but I’m proud of our speed.

Ran Yi - Co-Founder @ Orderly NetworkOrderly Network

There are many memorable moments in 2022 for myself and Orderly Network. In June, we announced a US$20 million seeding round led by many venture capital heavyweights, including Pantera Capital, Jump Crypto, Sequoia China, and Dragonfly Capital, as well as a group of strategic partners. Not long after, Laser Digital, a crypto subsidiary of global financial services group Nomura, also joined the list of Orderly Network backers.

On Oct 11, 2022, Orderly Network officially went live on NEAR Mainnet, months after our successful Testnet launch. This was a huge moment for us as it set the foundation for us to provide a full-stack trading infrastructure for potentially all builders and users.

Outside of Orderly Network, 2022 was also remembered by the abrupt collapse of FTX and Alameda which caused tremendous trauma to the industry. Though the series of events were unfortunate, it reminded users of the importance of DeFi, and solidified our mission to provide a decentralized trading infrastructure for DeFi applications to flourish.

Uladzislau Dziarkach - CPO @ RoketoRoketo

Nearcon 2022 was the great place where we have got 4 partnerships and started integrations with the other projects.


Carolin Wend - COO @ MintbaseMintbase

Redeeming tickets for NEARCON via Mintbase tooling was pretty memorable. Having a tech that works better than traditional ticketing systems was a proof of concept that will break through in the years to come.

Chris Gale - Co-founder @ Few and FarFew and Far

Having one of the best crypto VCs, Pantera Capital confirmed they wanted to lead our round at Few and Far. Solidifying our vision and approach to the future of web3 and NFTs to back us.

Riqi - Founder/CEO @ ParasParas

In early 2022, Paras got a lot of traffic and transactions, it was so memorable, our team is very small, and we need to provide all the needs of our partners and users. Adding more servers, coding all night long, and meeting with projects all around the world from 9 AM to 11 PM, was so busy and fun.


Oleg Fomenko - Co-Founder @ Sweat EconomySweat Economy

It has to be the launch. Beyond the mechanics of actually fulfilling the largest token generation event (TGE) ever, we were launching SWEAT on 14 top exchanges, delivering on the Sweat Wallet app, introducing a staking and rewards feature, and more. It was a wild 48hrs with some members of the team having to stay up through the whole time to make sure everything worked as intended.

Jon Hook - Co-Founder @ PlayEmberPlayEmber

Successfully raising our pre seed round that was led by Shima Capital after a successful beta test of our MVP.

Shima Capital were joined by some amazing other investors like Big Brain Holdings, Warburg Serres, Hyperithm, Lyrik Capital, Huobi Ventures.

It was very proud moment for the team, especially in the current bear market. Massive thank you to the team and all our early supporters.


Blaze - Champion @ NEAR Digital CollectiveNDC (NEAR Digital Collective)

In 2022 my most memorable moment was when we officially launched Cheddar with an NFT, yield farming, and games.

Sasha Baksht - Founder @ Learn Near ClubLearn Near Club

I think NEARCON 2022 was cool! It was super cool to finally meet in person NEAR folks that I was working with for quite a while already.

Aliaksandr Hudzilin - Co-creator & DAO member @ Human GuildHuman Guild

Unfortunately, the most memorable moment in 2022 for me is the start of the Russian invasion into Ukraine. For example, I was seeing Alex Shevchenko in ETH Denver, and he flew back the same day when war started. Big chunk of 2022 for me was colored in war situations since I was following day to day news for 6 months or so, and importantly, I ended up bringing my mom to the United States because of the war.