[Matt’s views are his own, and do not constitute financial advice or reflect the views of any companies associated with, or mentioned by him]

As someone who was always into computers, video games, and art, Matt Lockyer’s journey with crypto was not a question of if, but when.

Having taught himself how to program Ethereum smart contracts, he joined Harmony briefly in 2019 but was eventually red-pilled into the Near ecosystem. While originally attached to the NEAR technical team, he eventually transitioned to Proximity labs, which supports budding projects within the ecosystem.

Just last week, we had the chance to chat with Matt for his insights on the Near ecosystem and Web3’s future.

In the NEAR future

NEAR protocol prides itself on the design principles of “usability, scalability, simplicity, and sustainable decentralization.”

Instead of heavily incentivized farming, it seeks to create a seamless experience for all. Matt champions this, noting that the underlying technology will improve NEAR’s reputation among both builders and users.

“You can think of NEAR as having the developer and user experience of ETH 1.0 … that scales, probably better than ETH 2.0 without a bunch of L2s and complicated bridging”

Aurora, its EVM-compatible layer 2, facilitates all this in a single smart contract. With it, anyone can perform cross-network transactions without ever bridging – getting the best prices at a single click.


This feature could also help protocols tap into deeper cross-chain liquidity with low latency.

Not Just DeFi

While Matt’s work mainly involves Defi, the man with many hats highlights how vibrant NEAR really is.

Not only are there hundreds of DAOs, including Astro and Sputnik, offering great utility, but also a thriving NFT ecosystem.

Their leading NFT marketplace, Paras, has done amazing volume recently while constantly making partnerships with creators.

“There are some big players entering the space right now… so keep your eyes open for that”

Within the DeFi sphere, Matt highlights their foundations of “Ref, Burrow, Tonic, Spin, orderly and more”, but also hints that several perps protocols are just about to launch. On Aurora, he also notes “Trisolaris, Bastion, Aurigami, and more”, all of which have become star projects recently.

You can find a full list of applications here.

Web3, Internetting the Internet

Most networks have a theme that protocols building on them identify with. While NEAR’s theme may not have been etched just yet, proximity is pushing hard to make DeFi there a great home for builders and users.

“Right now, that’s our mission”

Matt also believes that we will live in a multi-chain world, with specific chains for specific use cases. With NEAR’s “simple but extensible model” and hybrid scaling solutions, it will be very easy to build virtual machines that branch out from the ecosystem.

This could be the key to crypto mass adoption, as current systems are much too complicated, especially in DeFi. Even for crypto natives, functions like bridging are frustrating events.

“We need to build better apps that enable a casual user to user to use something complicated”

He also sees the need for a better reputation and education, and certainly more transparency. Regulatory clarity is also imperative, as it would lead to more innovation and building.

Not a Sprint, But a Marathon

It is no secret that the bear market still looms overhead.

However, Matt has yet to see “a slowdown yet in Proximity and … NEAR in general”. This is echoed by NEAR’s TVL and developer count, which has outperformed many other layer 1s.

While sentiment may lag price, he sees a bright future ahead, noting that there “has been steady growth and innovation” since 2008, and that “we haven’t hit the ‘euphoria’ of a supercycle yet”.

Despite macroeconomic conditions, NEAR continues to grow at an astounding pace, ensuring focus on building quality applications. With market observers hinting that the next bull market is primed for 2024, who knows how far they could go?

Also Read: We Reached Out To Mark Cuban – Here’s What He Has To Say About Crypto

[Editor’s Note: This article does not represent financial advice. Please do your own research before investing.]

Featured Image Credit: Chaindebrief