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Sharded proof-of-stake blockchain NEAR Protocol’s live hackathon focused on interoperability has begun today. The Hack the Rainbow event will be centered around connecting Ethereum and NEAR, enabling assets to trustlessly move cross-chain and there’s $50,000 in hackathon prizes up for grabs.

The Rainbow Bridge in question has already been developed by NEAR, which has raised a total of more than $60M in both private and public rounds. The hackathon has attracted more than 250 developers looking to build on its PoS blockchain. Rainbow Bridge enables developers to utilize the lower fees, faster block times and greater scalability of NEAR Protocol, while tapping into Ethereum’s unrivaled network effects. All DeFi roads flow to Ethereum, and if NEAR Protocol’s developers have their way, a chunk of that traffic will soon be flowing over its two-way bridge.

$50,000 in NEAR and DAI Bounties

NEAR’s debut Massive Open Online Hackathon (MOOH) is set to run from September 15-30 and there’s $50,000 in bounties to be claimed, courtesy of NEAR’s hackathon partners. This will be disbursed in NEAR and DAI. The team explains:

"Hack the Rainbow 🌈 will be a creative, collaborative, cross chain hackathon focused on building the bridges needed to make web3 an accessible reality for everyone. Our aim is to work with our Ethereum partners and bring together the best tools for that build."

One of the cool things about NEAR’s Rainbow Bridge is that it’s good for more than simply locking up tokens to move them on the opposite chain. It enables other kinds of assets – like NFTs – to be transferred, and for even the smart contract logic to be imported to NEAR.

A Trustless Bridge From an All-Star Team

NEAR’s trustless Ethereum bridge was designed by renowned dev Anton Bukov, who’s now CTO of, but he still oversees high-level design of Rainbow Bridge. NEAR can also call upon the talents of several tech veterans including former Google, Facebook and Niantic employees. NEAR co-founders Alexander Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin, meanwhile, will be judging the Bridge the Rainbow hackathon.

Despite its core team hailing from an enterprise background, NEAR is very much a DeFi project, both in the implementation and use cases for its bridge, and in its token distribution model. More than 1,500 community members purchased 100 million NEAR tokens in its recent public sale, laying the foundations for adoption of NEAR Protocol’s developer-friendly dApp platform.

Incentivized Hackathons Catch On

NEAR’s Hack the Rainbow event is the latest in a series of incentivized events. Projects such as Elrond and Kusama have held similar events in a bid to get developers to build on their network and enhance its toolset. For third party devs, such events provide a chance to deploy novel ideas while working quickly and to a tight deadline. Despite the burnout that such speed events can engender, the results are often impressive. When under pressure, devs seem to deploy their A-game.

It was a hackathon that led to the creation of Uniswap for instance, which now holds over $1 billion in liquidity and is the most copied DeFi platform in the space. Whatever the outcome of NEAR’s online hackathon, it promises to raise the profile of the fledgling network while extending Ethereum’s tentacles into yet another ecosystem.

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