I live in Europe (in The Netherlands) and when the war in Ukraine begun I started to wonder what the Russians would see on the news about the war, and what things they wouldn’t see on the news. It made me realize the importance of freedom of the press and uncensored internet. In addition to that, I noticed that during the COVID-19 pandemic some people were perceiving a growing gap between what they called ‘mainstream media’ and other media sources. I wanted to create a news platform that is accessible in all countries and that closes the gap between ‘mainstream media’ and other writers. I believe everyone is equal and every writer/journalist should be able to generate a fair income based on the quality of his work.

What it does

On NearPress, journalists can directly publish their articles. They are free to choose any topic and they can set their own price for each article. Readers pay this price directly to the journalist after reading the article. This is implemented using smart contract technology on the NEAR network. The articles on NearPress also have content identifier (CID) on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), which can be used to retrieve the content from multiple IPFS nodes if your government blocks access to the normal NearPress website. China did try to block IPFS, but due to the nature of this protocol it is highly resistant to censorship. The next step in our roadmap is hosting the whole website on IPFS.

How I built it

The front-end is build with Vue, Nuxt and Bootstrap. The smart contract is written in Javascript and deployed on the NEAR testnet using the NEAR Javascript SDK. The Sender browser extension is used to connect NEAR wallets to NearPress.

Challenges I ran into

I ran into some React problems whilst trying to integrate the default NEAR wallet connector in my Vue app, but I found the Sender wallet was a good alternative and easier to integrate in my app.

What I've learned

During this hackathon I learned to write smart contracts for NEAR using Javascript. I learned to use the Sender wallet, I learned about IPFS and I expanded my UX design and front-end development skills.

What I'm proud of

I’m proud that I came very close to reaching my initial goal: I developed a news platform that is a great place for journalists to start publishing and earn a decent income whilst readers can read high-quality news articles, even if they can not afford a regular newspaper subscription, and I developed it using IPFS.

What's next for NearPress

  1. Hosting the website on IPFS
  2. Making the website fully production-ready by developing a solid back-end.
  3. Developing a marketing strategy to attract journalists and readers.

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