NEAR protocol is a smart contract enabled, layer 1 blockchain that is a competitor to the Ethereum network.
NEAR uses the process of sharding, which splits the network into fragments known as shards, allowing each node to handle a portion of the network’s code.
What sets NEAR apart is its sharding process called Nightshade. Nightshade uses state sharding by breaking the underlying blockchain into shards, which divides the processing power and storage required. NEAR is able to scale effectively and achieve close to 100,000 transactions per second.