The NEAR Protocol is an open-source, decentralized platform that is designed to accelerate and make decentralized apps more usable and accessible in the internet. It is one of the gen-3 blockchain platforms that address scalability and security issues. The NEAR Protocol was founded by Alex Skidanov, a former Microsoft developer, and Illia Poloushkin, an engineering manager at Google. Helped by Y Combinator, the NEAR Protocol project was able to raise $50 million in its first four months. The NEAR Protocol launched its mainnet in 2020.