Flow is the name of both a decentralized blockchain network and the cryptocurrency native to it. The Flow cryptocurrency takes the ticker symbol FLOW at exchanges like OKX.
The Flow blockchain aims to provide a highly efficient platform for decentralized applications (DApps) for the blockchain gaming and non-fungible token, or NFT, sectors.
Despite being a relatively new blockchain, the network has already seen significant use, thanks to the NBA Top Shot platform. Flow’s ability to abstract many blockchain processes into the background, along with basketball’s enduring popularity, helped the Top Shot application attract a mainstream audience where many DApps have failed.
Flow uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. However, unlike other blockchain networks, it doesn’t require every node to participate in each step of the transaction validation process. Instead, Flow employs a multi-role architecture in which validation is broken down into four stages:● Collection ● Consensus ● Execution ● Verification
Nodes can specialize in a specific role, allowing for increased efficiency. The team behind the Flow blockchain claims that this unique architecture allows the network to process upwards of 10,000 transactions per second.
Meanwhile, applications developed on Flow benefit from greater composability than those found on shared smart-contract-ready blockchains or sidechains. Flow’s shared execution environment simplifies data retrieval, ensuring a smoother user experience and increased interoperability.
Flow attempts to make life easy for developers too. Along with simplified interoperability, the team created a new programming language called Cadence. It is reportedly easier to learn, audit and implement than other options.
Additionally, Flow introduces the concept of upgradeable smart contracts. It is possible to amend Flow smart contracts after deployment to the mainnet. When developers are confident that the smart contracts they've developed lack vulnerabilities, they can relinquish control.
Current levels of supply and demand determine the FLOW price. When buying pressure is greater than selling pressure, FLOW price increases. When more people want to sell FLOW than buy it, the price decreases.
There are around 23.3 million FLOW currently in circulation and there is no limit to its eventual total supply. While continued supply expansion increases selling pressure, the network does enforce a low rate of inflation. Flow guarantees a set payment amount for nodes honestly validating transactions. New supply is only created when transaction fees alone do not equal the amount guaranteed.
The cryptocurrency itself is crucial to the network’s proof-of-stake security model. Fractions of FLOW are also needed to perform functions on the network. Requiring users to buy FLOW to stake and perform other network operations should ensure continued demand for the cryptocurrency, putting upwards pressure on the FLOW price.
Flow was created by the Canadian company Dapper Labs. The team wanted to build a blockchain that could handle mass adoption without transaction fees degrading the user experience.
Dapper Labs learned first-hand how a congested blockchain can harm the appeal of an application. Before working on Flow, the team was best known for the previously popular NFT game, CryptoKitties. The digital cat breeding application was a massive hit in late-2017 — so popular, in fact, that it created a spike in Ethereum transactions and considerably slowed the network.
After seeing the Ethereum network's shortcomings, Dapper Labs set about building their bespoke blockchain, Flow. The team's vision and proven track record attracted investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Warner Music Group, Digital Currency Group, Google Ventures, Samsung and others.
Dapper Labs went on to fully launch NBA Top Shot in October 2020. The digital trading card game — which features unique video ""Moments"" — has quickly become one of the most successful blockchain applications to date. The company has also teased partnerships with the UFC, Ubisoft and Dr. Seuss."