NEAR Protocol has raised $350 million in a new round of funding led by popular US hedge fund Tiger Global.
The Layer 1 blockchain network announced Wednesday that it has raised $350 million from Tiger Global to increase “the number of regional hubs at key community centers around the globe.” Dragonfly Capital, Republic Capital, Hashed and FTX Ventures also participated in the funding round.
Tiger Global partner John Curtis says that “The Tiger Global is delighted to support NEAR” as it ramps up investments in the crypto space. He thinks NEAR is “ready to be a leading smart contract blockchain platform.”
NEAR is a Proof-of-Stake blockchain focused on developer and user friendliness. It uses complex technology called sharding to reduce the computational load of the network by dividing it into chunks known as shards. Sharding allows the protocol to scale as the number of validating nodes in the network increases. NEAR can handle around 100,000 transactions per second on its base layer (Ethereum is currently processing around 30). Ethereum plans to implement sharding in the future after completing the long-awaited “Merge” with Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism.
In the short two years since its launch, NEAR has become the 18th largest cryptocurrency in the world with a market capitalization of around $11 billion. However, while it became one of the largest Layer 1 blockchains and spent $800 million in funding to boost its DeFi ecosystem, the protocol has struggled to grow the ecosystem compared to other similar networks.
According to data from Defi Llama, NEAR currently holds a total locked value of around $1.13 billion. That’s significantly less than Ethereum’s $123 billion, Terra’s $30 billion, and Avalanche’s $10.8 billion.
NEAR’s latest $350 million raise, more than double the amount it received in a funding round led by Three Arrows Capital in January, could help the project catch up with the rest of the ecosystem thai.
Boris Revsin, chief executive officer of Republic Capital, a leading venture capital firm that also participated in the funding round, said that he thinks NEAR is “the best” in several key areas of development.
“Republic Capital did an in-depth analysis of the NEAR ecosystem and found that builders in the space recognized the protocol as key to their implementation roadmap.”
NEAR price did not react positively after the funding round as affected by Bitcoin correction after sliding below $45,000 threshold. The token is currently trading at $15.2 with a drop of over 6% in the last 24 hours.