Cron.Near - Grantee Update 1 (Mar 27)

Hello NEAR Community!

I’m thrilled to announce a new project that will help the ecosystem schedule and execute transactions: Cron.near!

What is Cron?

Those familiar with crontab will know exactly what Cron is, a recurring scheduled execution of a script. Cron on NEAR will bring dynamically scheduled transactions and function executions to the blockchain with an economical & sustainable approach.

A little back story & why we’re building this:
Back in August 2020, a colleague and I were building some PoC apps on NEAR, but kept finding reasons for poor UX. The common theme across all of the interactions and app overall experience forced the user to be in charge of finalization steps. This is clearly not ideal, especially in an asynchronous blockchain system where a user should not be in charge of workflow.

We came up with a few use cases that required the use of a cron job, or otherwise would require telling the user to do something at some point in the future:

  • Subscription Payments
  • Auctions & Prediction Markets
  • Rebasing tokens
  • Voting & Governance
  • Triggers & IFTTT Style Contracts
  • Contract Storage Reclaiming/Garbage Collection
  • Rewards & Staking

While this is a non-exhaustive list, you can see there is a ton of potential where cron fits to fuel UX.
If your project could utilize Cron functionality, please reach out on Discord (trevor#8998)

Progress Report

We’ve only just started development and have been making huge strides! Here’s a quick recap of current progress:

  1. Cron manager contract: Responsible for the task registration, queue & economics to make execution sustainable. This contract has about 80% implementation for PoC and is now getting tests built. Hoping to have initial version fully testable within the next week.
  2. NEP: A long time in the works (months), we’re working on a standard for cross-contract scheduling, and ultimately a protocol level implementation for future. This NEP needs a couple days of polishing before it will be submitted to the NEAR NEPs repository. Look out for it on the next update!

Grant Funding
We are honored and humbled by the opportunity to build this utility for the NEAR ecosystem. The NEAR Foundation has accepted the Cron.near project proposal, which allows us to build Cron into a suitable featureset for mainnet.

Interested in helping build Cron?
We have 1-2 slots for FOSS Rust developers. You can DM me on Discord (trevor#8998).

Current scope & spec for Cron: