Six months ago, NEAR wrapped up the MetaBUILD 2 hackathon just as the world shut down. New challenges emerged, both inside and outside the NEAR ecosystem. The crypto market itself was seemingly falling apart, and everyone was talking about the looming “Crypto winter”. It was clear that in order to continue, a new, creative approach would be necessary.
NEAR was founded during some of the gloomiest times of the previous “Crypto winter”, so at least some of this was already familiar territory. In fact, NEAR’s resilient design was informed by the uncertainty in the markets surrounding its release. This resilience is not just evident in the technology, but it can also be seen throughout the ecosystem.
To maintain the health of its vibrant community, NEAR focused the aim of its hackathons towards a broader, more ambitious journey for participants—what if these hackathons could foster each team from ideation all the way to forming a Web3 start-up with a market-ready product?
MetaBUILD III: A Bigger, Better Impact
MetaBUILD is considered one of the biggest hackathons in the blockchain community. With a $1 million in prizes pool, nearly 4,000 participants, and more than 350 submissions from across the world, it has helped realize ideas from streaming tokens to metaverse worlds. In fact, some of these winners will be featured at NEARCON in September, so the community can listen to their stories and learn from their challenges.
This year, MetaBUILD III returns with its $1 million in prizes, with registrations opening today and submissions starting September 23rd. But participants should expect to see the hackathon’s format evolve. It’s shaping it up to become an 8-week product-oriented incubation program, hosted by Pagoda, focused on supporting teams beyond the prize money, towards securing funding, and producing a market-ready prototype. Here’s what else is new:
- Instead of the Welcome track (for newly created projects), a Web2 track will be established to help existing teams integrate NEAR blockchain into their current products.
- Only newly created or substantively modified projects are allowed to enter the Native track to ensure that participants are committed to remaining in the ecosystem even after they win. Proofs of concept projects built during NEARCON’s 48hs IRL hackathon are welcome to join MetaBUILD.
- Challenges instead of bounties: MetaBUILD III is looking for sustained product teams who understand their market and are committed to building solutions addressing some of the most pressing challenges of today: rising unemployment, the energy crisis, refugee crises, climate change, access to education and other resources, media censorship, etc.
This shift in perspective centers on an understanding of how impactful $1 million could be in the right hands. It is not only about proving great ideas, but growing them as products that can make a long-term impact in the ecosystem and beyond!
Ways to MetaBUILD
Whether you are a solo hacker or an ecosystem partner, there are several ways to participate in MetaBUILD III:
- As a developer
Incubate your project from idea to an MVP in 8 weeks. Find some talented teammates, and win $20-60k to continue building.
- As a non-technical person
Pivot your career into Web3, and join one of the teams as a designer, bizdev expert, product manager, or copywriter to build a winning project together.
- As a NEAR community member
Host a workshop, share your success story, or provide mentorship to participants.
- As a Web3 company or VC
Spread the word about MetaBUILD in your community, apply to become a mentor or a judge, or host an IRL event to inspire and support the MetaBUILD community.
To help fuel the ideas for the next big wave in Web3, a whole educational program will be added to the incubation process:
- The Education team behind NEAR University will provide self-paced NEAR workshops.
- Team Docs will present their Zero to Hero tutorials to make sure the onboarding process is streamlined for everyone.
- The Pagoda team is already hosting monthly Developer Tooling meetings to demonstrate the features and capabilities of their latest releases.
After the Hack
In addition to all the cash prizes, up to 30 winning teams will be enrolled in an 8-week pre-accelerator program hosted online to shape up their products and prepare them for the next steps in going to market. This preparatory program will include live and self-paced business education workshops designed to help teams write winning grant proposals, navigate funding opportunities, and prepare for the full accelerator program to follow.
Stay tuned for more details on the pre-accelerator program, which will be posted on MetaBuild’s page.
The “We” in Web3
Navigating a bear market is a sobering experience, but it is also an inspiring one, because Web3 is ready to face new challenges, new audiences, and new use cases. All it needs are open minds, ambitious ideas, and a willingness to work together to change the world—one decentralized project at a time.
Ready to hack the ever changing world? Build your next project on NEAR. MetaBUILD III is here to guide you from idea to market, and beyond. We have the expertise, the funds, and the drive to face new challenges together.