The latest flagship from the creators of CryptoKitties, Flow, is a decentralized layer-one protocol designed to be fast, scalable, and accessible. Its multi-role architecture, its innovative programming language and its ease of handling make it a benchmark blockchain for NFTs.
What is the Flow Protocol (FLOW)?
The latest flagship from Canadian Dapper Labs, known for being behind the game CryptoKitties, Flow is a decentralized layer-one protocol designed with two watchwords: speed and accessibility. Its ambition is to set up a reference protocol for the development of a new generation of entertainment and gaming applications.
Flow’s design stems from Dapper Labs’ frustration with the lack of scalability of the Ethereum network. CryptoKitties, a victim of its success, had caused network congestion rendering the platform unusable. Twenty engineers then mobilized to design this new blockchain for two years, which is equipped with a universal platform specially developed for decentralized applications (dApps) operating with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and for all types of smart contracts.
Flow also aims to make the user experience easier and more accessible for both the developer and the user. Thanks to the creation of its own blockchain, Dapper Labs is now able to support its own range of applications while aiming to stimulate the creation of dApps for the general public.
Protocol: A Multi-node and Multi-role Architecture
Today, most networks in search of scalability use the “sharding” method of fragmenting the blockchain in order to rearrange the processing of transaction data. For Dapper Labs, this method tarnishes ACID guarantees and makes interactions between smart contracts more complex: this is why the development team decided to forge a different architecture for Flow. The latter is based on the HotStuff consensus algorithm. Its particularity is that the node validation processes are separated into four different types, all of which require staking:
- Consensus Nodes which decide the order of transactions within the blockchain.
- Execution Nodes that execute the computation associated with each transaction.
- The verification nodes (Verification Nodes) which are responsible for verifying the execution nodes.
- Collection Nodes that improve network connectivity.
In the same vein as the division of labour, Flow separates consensus from the computation. The Flow consensus is proof-of-stake: nodes must lock FLOWs to validate transactions.
Computation is the execution and recording of each of these transactions. This separation of processes clearly contributes to increasing transaction throughput by avoiding the appearance of bottlenecks and without compromising security and decentralization.
Flow Logo (FLOW), by Cryptoast
The Flow Protocol Ecosystem
Flow’s ecosystem is very rich and diverse. One of his points of interest lies in particular in his programming language: Cadence. Cadence is designed to be easy to learn, read and write. It deploys several features ensuring security, clarity and accessibility of programming while maintaining productivity.
Cadence makes it possible to maximize network efficiency while maintaining a high level of security through a static and solid system minimizing execution errors. Emphasis is also placed on the clarity of the language so that it is the least ambiguous possible while greatly facilitating the verification stage. Elements of the Swift and Rust languages have been incorporated into Cadence, making the syntax familiar and accessible. For the developer, the creation of programs is highly facilitated through the provision of documentation, examples and open-source tools.
Finally, one of the main characteristics of the language is that it is resource-oriented. Assets are a new way to embed the digital possession of an asset and all of its properties directly into the programming language. This new paradigm combines linear systems with object capability models to create a secure model of digital ownership, ensuring that resources and the assets associated with them can only exist in one place at a time.
Thus, each account owns and stores its own assets, which can be freely transferred between accounts without the need to be centralized by a smart contract.
The ecosystem is full of resources focused on its development:
- Flow emulator similar to Flow
- Packaging of development tools for the creation of applications
- Providing Utility Using a Command Line Interface
The Flow protocol also leaves the possibility of accessing a decentralized world through its system called “Flow Port”. To be able to go there, you must have a Blocto account or a Ledger. So you will have two choices thanks to this interface, the staking or the delegation of tokens.
What is FLOW Used for?
The native token of the blockchain of the same name, FLOW, allows you to pay fees, perform staking operations and receive rewards. The token can be obtained through three methods (apart from purchase):
- If you are a blockchain validator (minimum of 250,000 FLOW)
- If you participate and contribute to the expansion of the platform or its construction (via the Open World Builders program, for example)
- If you participated in early access on platforms like CoinList
If you have Flow protocol tokens in a wallet, you will be able to use them in several ways. Would you like to participate in the votes within the platform? It’s possible. All you have to do is write a proposal and present it on a forum that is accessible to everyone on the blockchain. However, if you are not familiar with this system but want to contribute to its development, you can delegate your FLOW tokens to a collaborator. This one will benefit from a greater impact because it will use your tokens to vote. The same applies if you transfer FLOW to a node in order to secure it (principle of staking).
There are several roles within the blockchain. Depending on your choice, the distribution of rewards will not be the same. However, a mechanism will be there to adjust the rewards between the functions in order to be as fair as possible.
Here is an overview of the planned distribution for staking according to roles
FLOW tokens will allow the generation of secondary tokens following a model called Infusion. Their purpose is to generate unique NFTs or tokens from other protocols on the Flow blockchain. Via a collateralization mechanism of the platform’s native tokens, you will produce “infused” tokens (INF). They have many advantages:
- Securing the network by blocking its tokens
- Governance, because there is a possibility to vote thanks to secondary tokens
- Liquidity guarantee by a smart contract that governs the price in real-time
- Volatility is reduced by a bond curve mechanism that adapts to the supply
Thus, the Flow protocol wants to give new interest to its often used valueless secondary tokens. In addition to this new infusion mechanism, the Canadian company allows the issuance of stablecoins to be backed by either fiat currency or an algorithm. For the latter, this is based on the mechanism explained previously.
Flow’s Fundraising and its FLOW Token
Thanks to the rise of NFTs, the Flow protocol was able to receive colossal funds to support the project. Renowned investors such as a16z or Coinbase Ventures have notably contributed to the financing of the project. Thus, 12 million dollars were raised by Dapper Labs. The latter had also raised $250 million for the NBA Top Shot platform, which has been enjoying growing success in recent months.
The native blockchain token of the same name, FLOW, has decided to launch via an ICO. It was, therefore, on September 22, 2020, that the token was issued at $0.1 (at the time of writing, the token is displayed at $32, a gain of 32,000%). Thanks to this event, the company was able to recover more than 19,500,000 dollars.
In protocol strategy, a second ICO took place on October 6 in the form of an auction. It is, therefore, 25 million FLOW tokens that have been put up for sale. All of these crypto-assets are locked for one year before being unlocked.
Team and Partners
Despite its young age, Flow already presents very prestigious partnerships. Flow’s beta mainnet was released in September 2021 with NBA Top Shot, made in partnership with NBA. A real phenomenon, this platform allows users to exchange extracts of highlights from the NBA season (actions, extracts from matches) in the form of NFTs. The success of the platform is explained by the fact that the target audience is very large, attracting both NBA fans, investors and traders.
- Multinationals: Warner Music, Samsung, Ubisoft, UFC
- Development studios: Animoca Brands, Sumo Digital, nWay
- Leading crypto companies: Circle and Binance
- And many more: Opensea, Dr. Seuss, Genies…
List of main Flow partners
The team behind Flow consists of a total of twenty-four members with diverse profiles, according to their website.
Roham Gharegozlou, a Stanford graduate and CEO of Dapper Labs, was previously known as the founder of Axiom Zen. His colleague Dieter Shirley is the company’s technical director, the founder of Flow and a long-time acquaintance of Gharegozlou since he served as chief architect at Axiom Zen. He notably wrote the ERC-721 proposal, which defined NFTs on Ethereum.
Chief Business Officer Mikhael Naayem was previously CEO of Fuel Powered before selling it to Animoca in 2017. Finally, Alex Shih, also a Stanford graduate, is Flow’s Chief Financial Officer and a Board member from Dapper Labs and ZenHub.
The management team of Dapper Labs thus benefits from a proven experience in the fields of development and entrepreneurship, but also from a proximity due to common professional backgrounds.
From left to right: Roham Gharegozlou, Dieter Shirley, Mikhael Naayem, Alex Shih
How to Buy FLOW?
Purchasing FLOW is available on the following platforms: Huobi Global, OKEx, and Kraken. However, only Kraken offers the direct purchase of FLOW in euros at the moment.
Explanations for Buying FLOW on Kraken
- Join Kraken
- You will receive an email and need to click on a link to verify your account
- Deposit funds on the platform
- Click on the Buy Crypto menu and search for the FLOW cryptocurrency
- All you have to do is buy FLOW for the amount of your choice
- Congratulations, you are now in possession of FLOW tokens which you can view by clicking on the Kraken logo at the top left.
How to Store your FLOW Tokens?
The FLOW is a native token of a blockchain of its own. So you cannot use MetaMask to store your tokens. Recently, the French company Ledger declared that it supports the FLOW token, so we recommend that you use this hardware wallet.
However, there is a fox-head wallet-like alternative called Dapper. To use the official wallet developed by Dapper Labs, it will be necessary to register on the platform to obtain access to the waiting list. Once your turn has come, all you have to do is use Dapper On Flow to store your crypto-assets.
Flow (FLOW) Protocol Ratings and Reviews
From our research, we can conclude that Flow is a very promising blockchain in terms of its scalable and productive architecture, its accessible programming language and its ease of use for application development.
One of its added values really lies in the fact that the blockchain is designed by developers for developers. Before creating Flow, the team was indeed a user of the Ethereum blockchain and had been interested in the functioning of many other blockchains before deciding to design their own. Thus, it has acquired precise knowledge of the shortcomings of current blockchains and of user expectations, which has enabled it to design a suitable and innovative protocol. Thanks to this feature, Flow is well on its way to democratizing NFTs by stimulating their creation, multiplication and adoption by the general public.
Despite these many advantages, one can wonder if the Flow protocol has not taken advantage of the wave of NFTs and its many partners to quickly climb into the top 100 cryptocurrencies (at the time of writing these lines). If the effect of non-fungible tokens wears off, we’ll see if Dapper Labs’ blockchain company manages to scale. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most successful NFT protocols within the crypto-asset ecosystem.