Proximity Labs, a private incubator and research firm focused on the ecosystem of the NEAR Protocol, have recently seen the completion of funding rounds for two of the projects they incubated. Ref Finance, a community-led, multi-purpose decentralized finance (DeFi) platform, and Octopus Network, a sidechain network to host Web3.0 application-specific blockchains, aka appchains, raised over 1.7 million NEAR and some DAI and ETH valued at over $15 million in today’s prices, in token auctions on IDO platform Skyward Finance, signaling a blossoming ecosystem of DeFi and other decentralized applications (dApps) on NEAR.
Specifically, for Octopus Network, the token auction was in addition to its recent $5 million Series A funding round from 28 investors after a $3 million seed round financing announced in April, putting the network’s total financing at over $14 million.
Proximity Labs reveals that there are several other projects that have recently launched or will launch this month on NEAR, including MetaPool (staking), OIN Finance (stablecoin), Paras.id (NFT marketplace), Flux (Oracle) and Pulse (prediction markets).
“We are excited to see overwhelming trust and support from the NEAR community for these projects in a short period of time,” stated Bowen Shen of Proximity Labs. “We believe technology innovations are at the core of most projects on NEAR and a booming dApp ecosystem on NEAR will offer a compelling alternative to the existing blockchain applications, especially Ethereum based DeFi.”
Since the launch of the Rainbow Bridge, which seamlessly bridges Ethereum-based assets over to NEAR, and vice versa, DeFi on NEAR Protocol officially kicked off. Supporters hope the network’s Web2-like transaction times (about a second) and low translation fees (fractions of a cent) will bring DeFi to the mainstream.
Ref Finance is the first native DeFi protocol on NEAR. It holds several competitive advantages over similar products, most notably being its low transaction fees, built-in developer incentives, innovative liquidity pool design, and decentralized governance through SputnikDAO. Its core product, a Uniswap-like automated market maker (AMM), which was launched 3 months ago, has already got over 50,000 users and a total value locked of over $50 million on its platform.
“The DeFi and NFT space are poised to see serious growth this year, with 10-20 projects building natively on NEAR scheduled to launch,” Shen added. “With readiness to experiment with novel concepts such as appchains and increased compossibility in the ecosystem, we believe the NEAR Protocol is well-positioned to give birth to the next killer dApps.”
About Ref Finance
Built on top of the cutting-edge protocol NEAR, Ref Finance is the gateway into the NEAR ecosystem through its AMM DEX, which provides liquidity and swapping features. In addition, Ref utilizes the trustless Rainbow Bridge, which seamlessly bridges Ethereum-based assets over to NEAR, and vice versa, allowing for an array of DeFi users to access lower fees and faster transaction speeds.
About Octopus Network
Octopus Network is a decentralized appchain network natively built on NEAR Protocol. Octopus provides out-of-the-box security, interoperability, and on-chain governance to projects looking to create a specific chain for their open web application.
About Proximity Labs
Proximity Labs is a research firm focused on the NEAR ecosystem. The team works closely with many projects building on NEAR, provides grants, and creates open-source software targeting the NEAR blockchain. Proximity is led by former early members of NEAR, Inc.
About NEAR Protocol
NEAR is a carbon-neutral certified decentralized application platform built with user experience and developer experience in mind. NEAR’s novel sharding mechanism, Nightshade, parallelizes computation and automatically increases capacity when needed, resulting in theoretically infinite scalability.
NEAR Protocol is built by a world-class team of engineers and entrepreneurs, including ICPC world champions and medalists, as well as Google Code Jam and TopCoder winners. NEAR is backed by top VCs such as A16Z, Pantera Capital, Electric Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain.com, and Baidu Ventures.