The smart contract ecosystem NEAR Protocol, having earmarked $800 million for new funding initiatives is looking to grow its decentralized finance capabilities.

The new funding includes in part, a $350 million grants program that was announced by Proximity Labs a week ago. This part will give developers the extra motivation and support they’ll be needing to create new product offerings on NEAR, announced the company.

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Another $250 million will be allocated to existing ecosystem developers, another $100 million for startup grants, which NEAR is reportedly planning to fund about 20 startups at the rate of $5 million each. Lastly, the remaining $100 million will be pumped into regions across Europe, Asia and the United States.

Implication for NEAR Token

Over the past year, value locked in DeFi protocols has seen a 936% surge. And now, Ethereum’s main competitors like Solana, Binance Smart Chain, and Avalanche presently seeing considerable imcreases, according to data from DappRadar. However, Ethereum-based projects account for about 66% of the entire value locked across DeFi, according to industry data.

Now, despite the unarguable dominance of  Ethereum in the DeFi space, the market keeps growing at an unimaginable rate, currently valued at over $247 billion. This reality undoubtedly gives enough room for other competing platforms to take advantage of.

Although NEAR represents only a small portion of the total DeFi market, but that might just change soon enough.  There’ll definitely be many more developers hoping to tap into the new funding campaigns, even as users continue looking for alternatives to Ethereum-based protocols.