The promise of Web3.0 is our main point of admiration: A new era of the internet which holds the promise of bringing data, information, communication, and interaction onto a new level. We strongly believe that realizing the promise of Web3 lies in making this version of the internet easy to use and accessible - in short, mass adoption is a matter of getting every individual to understand and participate in a revolutionary new version of the internet that gives them ownership of their data, value and identity.

As pioneers of this new era for the internet, our job is to facilitate adoption such that those familiar with the internet can easily make the leap into a better future - in a way that is easy, painless, and intuitive.

For many L1 Ecosystems, the Holy Grail of success is to onboard the first billion users into the internet of value. Originally this referred to active users purchasing or selling ecosystem tokens like ERC-20, NEP-141 fungible token, but has since grown to involve participation in NFT marketplaces, governance projects, community-managed metaverses, DeFi protocols, and Play-to-Earn Games

Spaceport’s target is to provide an easy and natural gateway for crypto-newbies into all of the best opportunities offered by the world of Web3.

What it does

The Spaceport Docking Station is a novel custodial on-ramp and off-ramp for the global market of retail users and institutional investors, looking for exposure into the NEAR Ecosystem. 

Spaceport operates as a middle-way custodian, offering newcomers to the NEAR Ecosystem the best of both worlds: 

1) custody and security in trading, staking, and interacting with NEAR dApps, 

2) the unique capacity to ‘undock’ or ‘re-dock’ their assets into an account that only they control.

The platform is designed, first and foremost, to allow easy access into the World of dAapps on NEAR for non-crypto natives. Users can connect their bank account, credit card, or debit card, exchange their fiat into crypto, and then actively trade or swap across the suite of NEP-141 tokens featured on NEAR, Aurora, or Octopus Network. 

Beyond the trading of native NEAR Assets, Spaceport also provides staking infrastructure of NEAR and other NEP-141 tokens, sending and receiving of NEAR and all other native tokens, as well as direct integrations with certain dApps on NEAR (such as games, metaverses, and NFT marketplaces).

In this sense, Spaceport is a simple and easy-to-use on-ramp for users to engage with the Ecosystem - an on-ramp that doesn't require seed phrase management, or even gas fees!

Spaceport intends to open-up the NEAR Ecosystem (and its hundreds of projects) in three keys ways:

First, by providing higher levels of exposure to retail and institutional investors via simple onboarding and affordable custody.

Second, by bringing market liquidity to emerging dApps via institutional custody and financial exposure.

Third, by offering all dApps and services on NEAR increased capital flows into protocols, NFTs, games, and services.

Projects and founders, meanwhile, can benefit from easier access to their future user base, better exposure to retail and institutions alike, and more daily active users keen on testing the waters of crypto.

With this context, the central innovation and key value proposition of Spaceport can be discussed:

Docking and Un-Docking.

Thanks to the innovative design of the NEAR Account model, Spaceport offers users the opportunity to participate in the emerging world of Web3 as if it was Web2, while nevertheless maintaining the underlying option to un-dock their account and launch into the crypto-verse on their own.

In custodial terms, Spaceport is designed to allow users to undock their participation in the NEAR Ecosystem into their own NEAR Account, and effectively deploy into the Ecosystem with sole custody of their assets. The same concept applies, for re-docking into Spaceport, and off-ramping funds.

How we built it

Our first thought was to create a small web app that would communicate with blockchain directly, this could completely implement our idea, but after conducting a profound analysis, we realized that this approach would be less secure from the point of view of data transfer. Therefore, we decided to add a server part to our application, allowing fast connection and disconnection with the platform preserving maximum security and making the accidental loss of the user's account impossible.

In regards to user authorization, we immediately chose the most common method - Google authentication, because it already has built-in protection mechanisms of various levels (2FAs), and also does not require creation of a separate password for login.

Challenges we ran into

First of all - we are a team that wants to make the NEAR ecosystem bigger and more user-friendly.

We did a lot of thinking on the implementation of each of the product's components, our top priorities were safety and user experience.

What makes our platform user-friendly is easy onboarding in a few clicks. Therefore, all the user needs to do is press a couple of buttons and insert their existing seed phrase to dock an account into Spaceport (if they have an existing account). For new users, they can open up an account inside of Spaceport without even having to look at a seed phrase! This was a must in order to guarantee a continuous flow of newcomers into the Ecosystem.

Security, meanwhile, was a more challenging issue. We needed to provide users with the ability to generate a new seed phrase that would only remain in their possession, while also ensuring that it couldn't be lost during the docking process. Since the generation of a new seed phrase should only be done by the user in the NEAR wallet, our application must provide the easiest and most understandable flow of interaction with the NEAR wallet, along with clear and understandable instructions for the process, while backing up the user throughout the process until they are sure the recovery phrase is saved privately. We considered an iFrame solution for the NEAR wallet (or for that matter, any Open-Source Wallet offering access to the NEAR Ecosystem), in order to avoid redirecting the user from the application. But operation with iFrame is quite complicated, and this solution could not guarantee safe user authorization process in the portal. That's why we decided to give the user an opportunity to self-authenticate with their wallet, in the same browser they’re in. Thus making the process more understandable and familiar to the user.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our team had an opportunity of common work and effective interaction that led us to the desired result.

We are building a product that will greatly facilitate interaction of new users with the NEAR Ecosystem, open NEAR to the masses, providing an opportunity to non-crypto-native individuals, using ordinary Web 2.0 tools, to access the world of Web 3.0 with ease.

With Spaceport anyone will be able to enjoy all the products and benefits of the world of dApps in the NEAR Ecosystem with a simple click. Eventually, we will even be able to pre-pay gas fees for users using this custodial platform.

What we learned

We have profoundly discovered all the capacities of the NEAR Protocol, especially account management peculiarities, namely search, creation and removal of private keys, importing account by seed phrase. What happens to the account when the recovery method is added using the seed phrase. We have totally flexed the full use of the NEAR Account Model, so as to allow users to manage their accounts more holistically.

While working with NEAR API (near-api-js) we found out that for a large set of account keys (20+), calling requests to add/remove account keys in parallel leads to errors, so we had to implement sequential calls. Also, the need to sequentially delete account keys leads to a linear increase in the undocking time with an increase in the number of account keys, and this should have been taken into account during the system's architectural design. Would be really convenient to have API methods for adding/removing a LIST of account keys (a mental note for the future :)

We studied the possibility of integration and transfer of the user's account to external products, as well as the possibility of removing their account under full control, while maintaining all security standards.

What's next for Spaceport

As of now, we have developed the docking and undocking functionalities of the Spaceport that are basic for ensuring new users inflow and their fast onboarding into the Ecosystem. These functionalities are fully active within our app, submitted for the hackathon commission's consideration.

We have big plans ahead in terms of development and promotion. Retail and institutional Custody solutions, a NEAR Account Marketplace, ReFi and DeFi integration, Games, NFTs, Metaverses and so forth. We're looking into total integration of the whole inventory of NEAR Ecosystem products into our Spaceport!

For more information on Spaceport, be sure to check our Whitepaper and Deck. The future is near!

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