Building The Open Web on NEAR: Highlighting Use Cases in the HZN1 Accelerator

Building The Open Web on NEAR: Highlighting Use Cases in the HZN1 Accelerator

Near is more than a performant Layer 1 blockchain. At last week’s NearCon, Near’s annual conference, Near expanded on its Blockchain Operating System vision introduced in March of this year. Near’s driving vision goes beyond being a high throughput blockchain, but rather to become a unifying abstraction layer so that developers can incorporate features and leverage ecosystems across multiple chains in a seamless experience for users. The goal is to become the best ecosystem for founders to build the Open Web, an internet where users control their own assets, data and power of governance. To learn more about Near’s embrace of a modular and multi-chain future, check out the content from the NearCon conference

Near Horizon is an accelerator for early stage founders developing applications on Near. Over the last 2 months, Near Horizon has been working with their first accelerator cohort, HZN1, and providing valuable guidance on how to navigate being a Web3 founder.

As the HZN1 cohort is coming to a close, we thought it would be interesting to dive into the use cases that are being explored by this cohort.

HZN1 Cohort Use Cases

Founders within the HZN1 cohort are developing projects across 6 different verticals. There are 26 projects spanning a diverse set of use cases.

The largest vertical is entertainment which includes 8 projects across consumer and fan engagement (Hashku, vSelf, and ActiveLink), a media/entertainment platform (Ample), a Web3 record label (DAOrecords) and a social network (Bit Happier).

E-commerce was the second largest category within the cohort with 4 projects in this category including, an e-commerce platform with Web3 payments and rewards; Droplinked, a decentralized retail and affiliate network; Solaire a solution for 1:1 digital representation of physical retail products; and Tenamint, which enables fractionalized ownership of collectibles.

Other areas of focus included:

One notable category that was missing was DeFi, which usually dominates the conversation when it comes to blockchain applications. Rather, it seems like the HZN1 cohort is focused more on applying the unique advantages of Web3 to real world use cases. 

Why Web3?

Web3 advantages such as provenance, veracity and ownership when it comes to user data and intellectual property were a common theme among a number of the projects. Leveraging digital tokens to increase engagement is another very prevalent feature across the projects within the HZN1 cohort. Naturally, ease of payments and settlement of transactions are also an advantage of Web3 that is being leveraged by the projects as well.

For example, Contented, a talent marketplace that connects brands to content creators/influencers, uses a public ledger so that creators can prove a piece of content is theirs. As a result, brands feel confident that they have the right to license it. Content licensing and commission payments are done with smart contracts.

Gravvity AI is an e-commerce solution that leverages Web3 incentives to boost shopper engagement and conversion rates. E-commerce is an untapped gateway for mainstream adoption of Web3. Through their Web3 solutions (e.g. giving users control over their privacy & data, rewards & NFTs), they believe we can fundamentally change the relationship between consumers and retailers to make it more symbiotic, efficient and mutually beneficial.

Metame is a digital repository of all your online activity and data that you own, control and monetize. You can control the data that gets shared to different parties. As a result, you can get paid for your data and allow it to curate more relevant ads/content. The data that you control also helps to train a personalized AI assistant. Metame leverages Web3 to generate verifiable information and to share it in an ethical and trustless manner.

Why Near?

The advantages of Web3 are clear. Less clear is why founders choose to build within one blockchain ecosystem over another, so we asked.

Blockchain Operating System

TaxiStake, ShardDog and Metame mentioned that BOS was an appealing factor. BOS is an open-source platform that allows developers to create applications across multiple blockchains. The platform is intended to enable seamless interaction across various blockchains while abstracting some of the complexities associated with Web3 from users. 

Metame is exploring Near’s BOS as a means to deploy their own operating system to enable Web1, 2 and 3 applications and dApps to consume and interact with their user’s data repositories.

TaxiStake, a blockchain validator and infrastructure company, believes that NEAR protocol’s key assignment and reassignment features, along with the BOS, have great potential for their claiming and re-staking tool.

Key management

TaxiStake and Metame also referenced Near’s key management features as an attractive feature point of differentiation. As opposed to other blockchains where a single private key gives full control over an account, Near accounts can have multiple keypairs with varying permissions.

Metame is exploring the use of Near’s hierarchical key management model to enable a flexible and hierarchical identity management service in their network.

Speed and scalability

Nearly all the founders we polled mentioned Near’s speed and scalability as an advantage. Near’s dynamically sharded architecture, low transaction fee and fast finality help to offer users fast transactions at negligible cost. This is particularly helpful when it comes to micro-payments as could possibly be the case in Contented’s application.

Easy onboarding

It’s no surprise that the three web2.5 oriented projects in our survey, Contented, and Metame, mentioned Near’s ease of user onboarding as a distinct advantage. Near accounts feature human readable account id’s which closely mirror the user experience of web2 accounts and authentication. This is seen as a significant advantage to converting non-crypto native users. In addition, ShardDog believes that NEAR’s innovative account system – beyond the usual seed phrase-based accounts – potentially opens up creative possibilities that might not be feasible on other platforms.


Contented in particular mentioned the strength of the Near ecosystem and the support and collaboration they receive as an advantage of building on Near. echoed this sentiment and cited the developer friendliness, supportive community and ecosystem collaboration as important factors.

Concluding Thoughts

While examining the various projects in the HZN1 cohort, it’s clear that there are still so many novel ways to leverage the benefits of Web3 to improve our lives. The benefits of ownership, provenance, disintermediation, trustless veracity, and frictionless remittances have virtually limitless applications. I encourage you all to look into the HZN1 projects linked throughout this article. Perhaps it sparks an interest in some novel solution to an existing problem.

As the HZN1 cohort comes to a close, Near Horizon is on the lookout for its next cohort, HZN2 which starts in January 2024. Near is developing a supportive and collaborative ecosystem of founders and projects. If you are a founder looking for a way to accelerate your journey, Near Horizon’s HZN program is a great no-cost program to do exactly that.

[This article has been written and prepared by Near Foundation/Near Horizon and GCR Research Team, a group of dedicated professionals with extensive knowledge and expertise in their field. Committed to staying current with industry developments and providing accurate and valuable information is a trusted source for insightful news, research, and analysis.]

Disclaimer: Investing carries with it inherent risks, including but not limited to technical, operational, and human errors, as well as platform failures. The content provided is purely for educational purposes and should not be considered as financial advice. The authors of this content are not professional or licensed financial advisors and the views expressed are their own and do not represent the opinions of any organization they may be affiliated with.

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