NEAR is an open source platform that enables the development and launch of decentralised applications. Its primary objectives are to eliminate scalability problems and to ensure the lowest possible cost.

The core of the NEAR protocol is the sharding technique: it aims to divide the network infrastructure into several segments so that computers, also known as "nodes", only have to handle a fraction of the network transactions. The partitioning is expected to create a more efficient way of retrieving network data and scaling the platform to handle up to 100,000 transactions per second. Like other projects, NEAR has its own token, which is an important element in the ecosystem's operation. Ownership of a token gives the right to vote on issues affecting the project and can be used to pay fees for transactions and data storage, and tokens can be obtained in exchange for running the nodes. It is fully owned by the project run and maintained by the community. NEAR works in a similar way to other centralised data storage systems such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).