What is Flow (FLOW) and How Does it Work? | KuCoin Crypto Gem Observer

2022/08/17 09:35:30

Recently, Meta, formerly Facebook, announced a partnership with Flow, which made FLOW surge over 38% within 24 hours. The partnership will see Flow host non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Meta’s subsidiary, Instagram, which now supports NFTs in 100 countries. According to data, the FLOW token surged significantly to trade as high as $3.22 on August 11.

So this blog will walk you through Flow and how does it work.

What is Flow?

Low transaction throughputs have proven a significant challenge in leading blockchain networks. This problem emanates from the fact that most traditional blockchains run as homogeneous systems with full nodes. In this setup, nodes handle all on-chain data, including collecting transactions, generating blocks, and reaching consensus.

This means the nodes act like micro-processors, forcing the networks to execute one instruction per step, consequently limiting the throughput. This shortcoming has limited the adoption of the crypto and blockchain industries.

Looking to address this problem, the Onflow team under video game developer Dapper Labs launched the Flow blockchain in September 2019. Unlike conventional blockchains, Flow leverages a pipelined architecture. The Flow system separates the consensus process from transaction computation, boosting the network’s throughput and maintaining security.

How Does Flow Work?

Flow’s pipelined architecture assigns different functions to specialized nodes. These include Collector, Consensus, Execution, and Verification nodes. This setup dedicates light tasks like consensus and verification to the network’s adopters who use home internet connections. Flow then leaves the execution task to large-scale data centers.

The low entry barrier and crypto-economic rewards encourage many people to sign up to become Consensus and Verification nodes. In turn, the network becomes more decentralized and secure. Flow allows Verification nodes to appeal whenever they discover anomalies. The consensus nodes must then determine whether the appeal is valid or not.

By dedicating different tasks to different nodes, Flow surpassed the throughput of blockchains that use full nodes by a factor of 56.

The network is based on a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which minimizes the amount of computational power needed to verify and execute transactions. Nodes on the Flow network run on four core principles.

These are detectable, attributable, punishable, and recoverable.

By detectable, the network ensures all honest nodes can detect any faults and prove the fault to other honest nodes. In so doing, the network enables all honest nodes to re-do the faulty parts. Attributable means that Flow assigns different tasks to a random group of nodes based on Verifiable Random Functions (VRFs). As such, any fault is attributable to the responsible nodes.

Punishable means that all nodes in the Flow network must stake some tokens. Any participant responsible for a fault gets some of their staked tokens slashed. The network actively punishes nodes responsible for faults because of the detectable and attributable features.

Recoverable means Flow boasts features for result verification and resolution of potential challenges. These elements help prevent malicious nodes from introducing faults into the system.

Flow treats nodes that complete the collector, consensus, execution, and verification roles as different entities. Although a single piece of hardware can run collector, consensus, execution, or verification nodes, each role is staked, unstaked, and punished independently.

Who Created Flow?

Flow is the creation of Dapper Labs, the firm that launched renowned blockchain games like CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot. The firm features an experienced blockchain team led by founders Roham Gharegozlou, Dieter Shirley, and Mikhael Naayem.

What is the FLOW Token Used For?

FLOW is the native token of the Flow network. FLOW is used for every activity on the network, including creating new user accounts. As the Flow network matures, FLOW holders can use the token to participate in governance.

Developers that build on Flow can add FLOW into their apps enabling users to use the token for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. On top of this, FLOW is required when creating and using secondary tokens on Flow. In this case, network participants can use FLOW to pay for storage or as collateral.

Moreover, FLOW holders can earn rewards by staking their tokens and running validator nodes. The network’s users can also delegate their stake to big operators to run validator nodes on their behalf.

What Makes Flow Unique?

Unlike most blockchains, which use full nodes, Flow boasts a multi-role architecture. This design allows the network to scale and serve users without sharing or compromising decentralization. Additionally, the network features resource-oriented programming, whereby developers write smart contracts in Cadence, a programming language for crypto and dApps.

Closing Thoughts

Flow’s multi-role design and the PoS consensus model increase the throughput, making it ideal for handling daily transactions. The network already hosts an array of blockchain games, including NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day, and UFC Strike, to mention a few. The partnership with Meta is set to propel the project even further, creating a big opportunity for Flow to expand its user base.

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