Vital Point Pulse (Mar 2022) 

 March 31, 2022

By  Aaron Luhning

Here we go with the Vital Point Pulse for March - where you find out what the guild has been up to in support of the NEAR ecosystem and what it's planning to do in the coming month.  Let's get to it.

Did the Pistol Shrimps Win? (Metabuild)

Spoiler: nope.

Took awhile thanks to the volatile world we live in, but the results of the hackathon finally came out.  Congrats to all the winners - unfortunately the Pistol Shrimps didn't place. Competition was obviously strong enough to take out the vicious Pistol Shrimp (didn't know it was possible :))

Great thing about hackathons is that they show what is possible in a short period of time.  As mentioned in February, the guild put a team together consisting of two more experienced guild developers who mentored four brand new developers with zero hackathon/NEAR experience.

I'm sure we'll do it again - so if you've never been on a hackathon team and want to see what it's all about, connect with us on the Vital Point AI Discord and get yourself ready for the next one. 

If you want an idea of what's possible - the Pistol Shrimps created and submitted Space Gem (built with NEAR, Ceramic, The Graph, and React).  It's what we think is the first open web app that enables people with space to connect directly with people needing space.  It was born out of a real-world need for office and parking space sharing that many of the shrimpers experience daily.  

Here's the demo video - and be sure to check out the full Space Gem origin story (give the shrimps a like if you like :))

Catalyst Completes User Testing

Mr. Mike Grossman, writer and creative strategist based out of Brooklyn, New York started some UX testing on Catalyst in late January and finished up a couple days ago.

We mentioned them in February, but feeling compelled to do so again, because they are simply awesome - Open Web Sandbox (OWS) once again provided testers for the final round of testing leading to completion and presentation of the recommended onboarding flow for Catalyst users.

Next up, we need to review and implement the recommendations, bring Catalyst one step closer to providing the NEAR Ecosytem with another community DAO platform - ideally in April.

Free Subgraphs - Want one for your Project?

To recap quickly - Vital Point AI released a free The Graph for NEAR course (free to take) in Vital Point Academy (our NEAR education initiative).  A lot of interest ensued and we started receiving requests for help building subgraphs.

Given the demand, we applied for funding and were given a grant to build a subgraph directory for NEAR subgraphs, train subgraph developers, and produce subgraphs for NEAR projects.  That's right, we can  build you a subgraph for your project at NO CHARGE to you.  So, if you want a subgraph for your project, reach out to us and we'll add it to the list.

We've now got five subgraph developers to draw from.  The next subgraphs that will become available are for Oin Finance and Metapool.  Until we get the directory up and running, access the graphs from Vital Point AI dashboard on The Graph Hosted Service.  Also a few in our legacy location which will be moved to the Vital Point AI dashboard.

Also a reminder that we're holding facilitated courses of The Graph for NEAR. Complete the course, get validated and and you can join Vital Point AI and get paid to build subgraphs for the directory.  We'd love to have you join the guild and if you want to get into development, NEAR subgraphs are a perfect starting point.

Contact us if you're interested in learning how to build subgraphs.  We'll schedule the next course once we have a small group ready to go.

Onboarding App Update: Guilds and Individuals

Read NEAR Guild Onboarding for some background.

As mentioned in February, we're building a couple onboarding applications that I believe will simplify the process for guild leaders to start and grow guilds as well as individuals to create rich web 3 type user profiles and get recommendations for communities to join based on those profiles.

I said that Vital Point AI would build:

  • An application to improve guild leader onboarding and engagement;
  • An application improving guild management and communication;
  • An application that improves individual onboarding and engagement; and
  • A service to provide customized front ends for NEAR guilds that incorporate these onboarding flows.

Happy to announce that significant progress has been made on three of the four:

Introducing NEAR Guilds

NEAR Guilds (which includes the first two bullets - guild leader onboarding and management/communication tools) - live on Testnet - https://nearguilds.live

Introducing NEAR Personas (again, but improved)

NEAR Personas - live on Testnet - https://nearpersonas.live lets people build rich profiles for their NEAR accounts.  These profiles are managed centrally in the app, give users 100% control over their data, and any changes they make synch up with any application that has integrated NEAR Personas.  

Developers can easily integrate NEAR Personas into their apps - immediately adding some personality to their users.   We've published a NPM package to make it even easier.  See the NEAR Persona docs.

We've even integrated NFT avatars - just specify a contract/token ID and it will display.  Check it out.

Some of you might remember NEAR Personas - it's a project we initially started, then integrated into Catalyst.  Following Catalyst user testing (see above) recommendation was made to make it a standalone app to simplify things.  So, we revisited in light of individual onboarding and here's the result.  Check it out.

Vital Point Academy - NEAR Certified Dev Trg

At Vital Point AI we currently have a NEAR Certified Instructor and we're going to start delivering our version of NEAR Certified Developer Training very soon.  It's the same necessary standard of training needed to get the NEAR Certified Developer title, but we're adding a few things to it so when you're done, you're more comfortable building full on applications with some other important web 3 integrations.  That training is about 65% complete.

Those integrations include Ceramic.Network, The Graph and some more emphasis on the front end development using React.  Our reasons for doing this are selfish - we want you working on Vital Point AI projects and we tend to use all these technologies in what we build.  

That said, we won't force you to work on our stuff even though you will earn NEAR for doing so...  Even if you do decide to do something else, the training will be an excellent starting point for where ever you end up.

This initiative and some regular training we're running are NEAR education initiatives. We sincerely appreciate the NEAR support in helping us teach these skills to new developers.  If you want to learn to develop NEAR applications, then consider joining Vital Point AI.

Vital Point Guild (VP Guild) exists to teach and spread the word about near protocol as a means to achieve widespread web 3.0 adoption... 

Looking Ahead to April 2022

(Strikethroughs are done).  What's on the plate for April.  Well, we are aiming to:

Guild Membership

  • See some growth (2)
  • Keep current members engaged with opportunities

NEAR Subgraphs Project:

  • Carry over:  Build and deploy the first version of the subgraph directory - so that anyone wanting to use subgraphs for NEAR projects in their own projects can easily find and do so;
  • Looking to build and deploy at five new subgraphs for the directory.  If you need a subgraph for your project - please reach out and let us know.  Likewise, if you are developing an app, there's some things you can do to make your contracts compatible with The Graph - let's discuss them (it's basically ensuring you emit logs that are ideally NEP-297 format).
  • Run serial 002 of The Graph for NEAR training.  Get your name on the waiting list if you want to make some NEAR building subgraphs.
  • Continue monitoring The Graph for documentation relating to running decentralized graph node for NEAR subgraphs.  When available, spool up a node to ensure availability of NEAR subgraphs.
  • Post service page for people to request NEAR subgraphs from the Vital Point AI site.


  • Implement recommendations from final user-testing report from Mr. Grossman with a view to a revised Catalyst launch (by end Apr).
  • Get Vital Point AI/Vital Point Academy Catalyst communities back up and running on the revised platform.

Onboarding Project:

  • develop and deploy (testnet) individual onboarding application
  • extend NEAR Personas with recommendation engine
  • extend NEAR guilds with more management features for guild leaders/guild program (messaging, reporting, analytics)
  • continue providing input as member of the on-chain guilds management council - attend the 6 Apr meeting to find out where this is going.
  • develop and deploy (testnet) proof of concept for OWS onboarding (customized front end/onboarding)
  • post project pages on Vital Point AI for both NEAR Guilds and NEAR Personas
  • post service provision page for guilds to request customized frontend onboarding experiences

Vital Point Academy:

  • Finalize Vital Point AI's NEAR Certified Developer Training lessons/curriculumn (approx 60%, 65% complete)
  • Continue lunch n learns within professional sphere (day job)
  • Plan/strategize course schedules for Apr/May/beyond (facilitated (virtual/in-person), self-directed)

And That's a Wrap...

See you again in a month for another Pulse check.  In the meantime, happy developing on NEAR.  

Note - you can leave comments/ask questions below - feel free to do so/start a conversation.

Aaron Luhning

I'm the husband of an amazing wife and father to two fantastic kids. I spend my time immersed in blockchain, data science, and mixed reality to automate processes, eliminate bureaucracy and create mind-blowing decision support solutions. When I'm not doing that, I'm running ultra-marathons, skydiving or boxing. Oh, and I don't do this stuff professionally. About sums me up.

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