Near Protocol’s Ethereum-compatible platform, Aurora, is having a rough year. Despite backing from Pantera Capital, Three Arrows Capital and Alameda Research, its token has fallen by 64% since January and its TVL is down from $1.3B to $465M.
So what next for Aurora? Aurora+, a membership program.
Launching today, it offers 50 free transactions a month (currently worth just $1, but means new users don’t have to buy the sparsely traded token elsewhere, then move it to Aurora), a staking interface, and airdrops.
Airdrop for Early Users
Users who create an account on Aurora+ during the first week of launch will be eligible for an airdrop of AURORA tokens.
Also: 111 NFTs, distributed at random to members that entitle holders to 500 free transactions each month (currently worth $10).
Eventually, Aurora+ will offer paid membership plans, as well as governance participation, private transactions, and an identity verification system for Aurora dapps.
Aurora+ comes about a year after the launch of the platform, which Near created to provide Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) support to its network. It allows Ethereum developers to deploy their apps on the Near network with little extra effort.
Before this month’s crypto crash, Aurora enjoyed significant growth. During March and April, its total value locked grew from $346.5M to more than $1.3B at the start of May, data from DeFi Llama shows.
However, the collapse of Terra’s UST stablecoin and broader market sell-off dragged down Aurora and Near. The NEAR token fell from $19 six weeks ago to about $6 this past week. Near’s recently-launched NEAR-collateralized stablecoin, USN, briefly lost its U.S. dollar peg on May 16, slipping to $0.98.
Other Layer 1 networks that offer low-cost EVM transactions, such as Solana, Avalanche and Fantom, were among 2021’s top gainers. But 2022’s bear market has driven brutal losses for these chains, too. Previously surging EVM-compatible L1s all crashed more than 75% from their respective all-time highs.