There are 3 main actors interacting to form the NEAR ecosystem:
- The users, consuming the services provided by the NEAR network.
- The validators, operating the computers that form the decentralized network.
- The blockchain, working as the persistent storage for the network.
Users can have one or multiple NEAR accounts, which they can use to:
- Transfer tokens, such as the native $NEAR token or community-built ones.
- Execute decentralized apps stored in the blockchain, known as smart contracts.
- Develop their own decentralized app and store it in the blockchain.
Validators are people distributed around the world, running the infrastructure that underlies the NEAR network. They serve two main jobs:
- Execute the transactions sent by the users, persisting their outcomes in the blockchain.
- Secure the network by overseeing the rest of the validators and the blocks they create.
Want to dig deeper?
Here are some of the best introductory videos:
- [ watch ] Blockchain 101 Onramp: Deconstructing the Blockchain Ecosystem
- [ watch ] What are Decentralized Applications and How Do They Work?
- [ watch ] The Design of Blockchain-Based Apps
- [ watch ] But how does Bitcoin actually work? by 3Blue1Brown
And you can read more in these educational resources: