Near Protocol, the smart contract ecosystem, has earmarked $800 million for new funding initiatives aimed at growing its decentralized finance (DeFi) capabilities, offering the latest evidence that the highly lucrative DeFi market is still in its infancy.
It has been reported that the new funding, which includes the $350 million grants program announced by Proximity Labs last week, gives ecosystem developers added incentive to create new product offerings on Near.
However, around $250 million will be allocated to existing ecosystem developers and another $100 million is earmarked for startup grants, with Near planning to fund more than 20 startups at a rate of $5 million each. The remaining $100 million will be spent on so-called regional funds across Asia, Europe, and the United States.
The report said that value locked in DeFi protocols has surged 936% over the past year, with Ethereum competitors such as Binance Smart Chain, Solana, and Avalanche seeing considerable uptake, according to data from DappRadar. Ethereum projects account for roughly 66% of the total value locked across DeFi, according to industry sources.
Likewise, the DeFi market is growing at a torrid pace and is currently valued at over $247 billion, Despite Ethereum’s overwhelming dominance, leaving plenty of room for competing platforms to capitalize.
One year ago, the total value locked in DeFi projects was less than $13 billion. Near accounts for a tiny sliver of the total DeFi market, but that could soon change as more developers tap into the new funding campaigns and users continue to search for alternatives to Ethereum-based protocols.
Thus, Ethereum’s competitors have seen an influx of users fleeing the high fees on the Ethereum network.