NEAR Foundation, the Swiss non-profit that oversees the governance and development of the NEAR protocol, today announced the launch of a regional hub in India dedicated to blockchain talent development and innovation. The hub marks a strong commitment from NEAR to invest in India – a country that is not only home to some of the most talented developers and Web3 creators but is also one of the largest startup and entrepreneur communities in the world.
NEAR’s involvement in the country aims to move the dial toward a sustainable and inclusive approach to blockchain development, and a strong group of potential emerging leaders already exist in the region. Over 8000 developers have already completed the NEAR developer certificate, representing a growing interest in Web3.
The NEAR India hub will identify and support entrepreneurs who plan to solve specific problems that people are facing through the innovative use of web3.0 technologies. The two focus areas for the hub are GameFi and DeFi space in the country. In the first year, NEAR India hub aims to onboard 15 to 20 high-quality projects to its ecosystem.
The NEAR India Hub will be led by Aayush Gupta and Yash Kanchan, the former leads on India strategy for Terraform Labs. Gupta, CFA and an alumnus of IIT Delhi, is a marquee angel investor and advisor to startups in the Web3 space and comes with an experience of more than 7 years in the traditional finance industry. Kanchan is a Computer Science Engineer and an MBA in Finance with prior work experience at JP Morgan and has been collaborating with Web3 startups for over 7 years.
“We are thrilled to be working with NEAR to bring Web3 innovation to the masses in a sustainable and impactful way,” said Gupta. “We believe that entry barriers to Web3 can be significantly improved via enhancing user experience. NEAR India Hub will focus on empowering entrepreneurs and developers to “build” interesting use cases that can cater to masses globally. We are excited about pushing the envelope on DeFi to create products that can be as robust as traditional financial and gaming primitives”.
The hub intends to attract the finest talent and nurture young entrepreneurs to build on Web3. A physical office in India will house their Entrepreneurs In Residence programme, enabling innovators to work with the NEAR India Hub team in the same physical space. The hub will also incubate programmes online, providing virtual guidance to entrepreneurs across the globe.
“We are extremely excited to be supporting the rich and exciting developments taking shape in India – and with our new hub, there will be an incredible opportunity for developers and creators to come together to learn, educate and further their talent and build on our blockchain, ” said Marieke Flament, CEO of the NEAR Foundation. “This hub gives us the chance to nurture the local talent that will have global opportunities in the near future – and we look forward to seeing the amazing applications and initiatives that will come out of this ecosystem.”
India ranked first in this year’s Global Crypto Adoption Index and has the potential to become a driving force in mass crypto adoption, thanks to its rapidly growing economy, digital-first population, and world-renowned technological prowess. Combined with the right balance of regulation and support for creators of the new Web3 economy, these strengths could transform the nation into a leader in the crypto space.
NEAR wants to ensure that it can tap into this exciting network and has made firm commitments to win over the ecosystem, including launching its India-focused NEAR India Accelerator program in 2021. This aims to nurture and identify upcoming Indian startups that want to innovate in the blockchain space, build impactful products that solve real-world problems, and strengthen India’s blockchain prowess in the global ecosystem.
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Through the accelerator, NEAR Foundation and Woodstock Fund have cumulatively offered up to $200,000 in funding, mentorship from global experts in the blockchain and startup space, and marketing support to innovative startups with impactful solutions built on the NEAR protocol for real-world problems.
About NEAR Foundation
The NEAR Foundation is a Swiss non-profit that oversees the governance and development of the NEAR protocol, a high-performance blockchain that is designed to be super-fast, incredibly secure, and infinitely scalable. NEAR is built by an award-winning team of engineers and entrepreneurs to be simple to use, inclusive and good for the environment.
The foundation aims to help evangelize, raise awareness, support and grow this ecosystem and allocate grants on behalf of the ecosystem. To date, the foundation has allocated over $45m to new projects.