The Technology Enabling NEAR Personas

A combination of three powerful Web 3.0 technologies enables the functionality of NEAR Personas.

NEAR Protocol

NEAR Protocol is a Layer 1 blockchain designed with the end-user and developer in mind.  It is a secure thresholded Proof of Stake system, carbon neutral, fast (~1s block finality), with extremely low gas fees.  Combined with NEAR’s account system – with human readable names and innovative access keys - NEAR provides a foundation for open web app development that is intuitive and easy for anyone to grasp, really opening the doors to more widespread mass adoption of cryptography based applications. 

In short, NEAR's focus on usability enables us to build applications that behave like people expect them to and abstract away some of the more blockchainy and cryptography parts of it.  

This focus not only makes it very simple for someone new to crypto to create and manage their accounts, but relevant to what we're doing here with NEAR Personas, human readable account names with cryptographic underpinnings like bob.near or alice.near allow people to establish decentralized digital identities (DIDs) without even knowing it. NEAR enables a dimension of personality at the outset while also preserving the ability to remain pseudo anonymous if desired.

We've written and deployed a smart contract that acts as a registry along with some other functionality to give people the ability to manage a link from their NEAR account to a decentralized identifier on Ceramic.Network.


Those decentralized digital identities (DIDs) we just mentioned are what Ceramic.Network brings to the table.  Ceramic is a decentralized data network that brings unlimited data composability to Web 3 applications.  It enables us to create data models, in this case persona models, that allow us to store, update, and retrieve information that is associated with someone's NEAR account.

This is pretty powerful stuff if you think about it.  Ceramic makes data composable and reusable across all applications.  Vital Point AI runs a Ceramic node ensuring the data for NEAR Personas remains available while also helping decentralize the network.

The Graph

The Graph is sometimes referred to as the Google of blockchains.  Like Google indexes search results, The Graph enables the indexing of blockchain data.  

It makes it possible to use the data on blockchains in ways that are difficult or impossible to directly ask the chain for.  Indexing the data allows complex queries to take place.

Many smart contracts will program specific types of queries into them that make getting specific data like an owner of a NFT, a balance of an account, or a total supply simple to retrieve.

However, more complex queries that really make that chain data useful - things like aggregating the data, searching through the chain for specific types of information, discovering relationships or doing more complex filtering are not possible. On large chains, it may take days or weeks to do a search through the chain data to find something.  That kind of lag doesn't make for performant dapps or great user experience.

While we query the chain directly for some things, we typically like to build NEAR subgraphs for The Graph for our applications, including NEAR Personas, to make them perform better.  If you're interested in learning more about building subgraphs for NEAR, check out our free course in the Vital Point AI Academy.