The first two weeks of 2024 saw major upheaval with the excitement around the approval of BTC ETFs in the US. The market volatility seems to be cooling off now that the ETFs have been approved – but regardless, a fresh setback has hit the crypto sector. The Near Foundation has decided to lay off 40 percent of its work force as part of an internal restructuring. A non-profit organisation based in Zug, Switzerland, the Near Foundation manages open-source Web3 projects based on the NEAR Protocol blockchain.
In an announcement made on January 11, Near Protocol said it was letting go of 35 employees from its marketing, business development, and community teams.
Explaining its decision, the foundation said, “with the NEAR Foundation Council (NFC), we’ve conducted a thorough review of the Foundation’s activities. During this process, we heard feedback that the Foundation has not always been as effective as it could be, sometimes moving too slowly and trying to do too many things at once.”
It is noteworthy that Near Protocol has not reported any losses in 2023. On the contrary, the Near Protocol, as per a DapperLabs report, emerged third on a list of top ten blockchains by Unique Active Wallets (UAWs) in 2023. The UAW is a term of measurement in the Web3 that represents the number of crypto wallets that were linked with dApps or saw transactions of digital assets over a period of time.
As per the foundation, its treasury remains strong with over $285 million (roughly Rs. 2,362 crore) in fiat, 305 million NEAR tokens worth over $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,291 crore), along with $70 million (roughly Rs. 580 crore) allocated to investments and loans.
The foundation, with this round of layoffs, has decided to significantly consolidate its core team to focus on a narrower and higher-impact set of activities.
“The Near Foundation will provide support to affected colleagues during this time to help them find new opportunities in the NEAR ecosystem, the Web3 industry, and beyond,” the foundation has vouched.
Meanwhile, the Near Protocol has managed to rope-in a bunch of promising projects under its belt in 2023. In November, South Korean metaverse platform Zep announced a new partnership with Near Protocol, ushing which it aims to create online games in the metaverse ecosystem and onboard more users onto its platform.
Aiming to foster the growth of Web3 in Asia, the Near Foundation also entered a partnership with China’s Alibaba Group in June 2023.
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