20M JavaScript devs can now build applications on NEAR: KBW 2022


20 million JavaScript developers will now have the ability to write blockchain smart contracts and build applications on the NEAR Protocol, after rolling out JavaScript Software Development Kits (JS SDKs) on Monday.

Speaking with Cointelegraph at the Korea Blockchain Week (KBW) on Aug. 9 (local time), NEAR founder Illia Polosukhin emphasized that the move will open up the niche field of blockchain development to a substantially broader audience:

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“There’s about 20 million JavaScript developers in the world. Probably like every developer one way or another wrote JavaScript in their life. And what we allow you to do is to write smart contracts in JavaScript.”

“Before we had Solidity so for Ethereum and other Layer 2s, we had Rust, which is what Solana and Near are mainly. And so Solidity has probably 100,000 developers who are familiar with it, and those who are active is even less. There is even less probably in Rust,” he added.

In an Aug. 8 announcement shared with Cointelegraph, NEAR outlined that the JS SDK includes the “contract framework itself, JavaScript and TypeScript contract examples and tests.”

Polosukhin went on to note that the JS SDKs could be utilized by anyone from students looking to dip their toes into the blockchain, to people in the commercial sector looking to accelerate their projects.

“A student can build an app without needing to learn new languages without needing to learn new skills. It will also be easier for entrepreneurs to hire [devs], so they can actually build teams stronger, faster, and deliver products faster,” he said, adding that:

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“So kind of the idea from Near is to build a very extensible and powerful system that allows developers to build really anything from simple apps to very complex apps.”

Questioned on whether the JS SDKs will be Ethereum Virtual Machine Compatible given that NEAR is an Ethereum competitor, Polosukhin stated that the offering will run specifically on Near, but that it is possible to create EVM compatible smart contracts from the SDK, much like how EVM compatible scaling Aurora was created on NEAR.

Related: Korea Blockchain Week, Aug. 8: First-day takeaways from the Cointelegraph team

NEAR is a decentralized application (dApp) platform launched in April 2020 that is designed to be developer and user-friendly. Its native token NEAR is currently the twenty-fourth largest crypto asset in terms of market cap at $4.1 billion.

The asset is priced at $5.44 at the time of writing and is up a notably 42.8% over the past 30 days according to CoinGecko.

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Author: Brian Quarmby

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