What is Flow Blockchain [Features and Architecture]

In this Blockchain tutorial, we are going to learn about Flow Blockchain. Here we will illustrate how this Flow Blockchain works. Moreover, we will cover the following topics.

  • What is Flow Blockchain
  • What Problems Does Flow Blockchain Solve?
  • History of Flow Blockchain
  • Features of Flow Blockchain
  • Multi-Node Architecture of Flow Blockchain
  • How does the flow blockchain work?
  • What is FLOW token
  • What language does flow blockchain use?

History of Flow Blockchain

Before deep-diving into the Flow Blockchain technology, let’s understand its history. And also understand what events led to the creation of this technology.

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are extraordinary cryptographic tokens that live on a blockchain. Moreover, these tokens are unique and non-transferable. Thus, NFTs have emerged as a popular way to represent goods such as videos, pictures, artwork, and other digital assets.

In November 2017, one of the first NFT projects, CryptoKitties got released in the market. Now, Dapper Labs developed CryptoKitties as a decentralized application based upon Ethereum. And this decentralized application allows users to buy, sell, collect unique virtual cats.

First Flow Blockchain Project

Now, as the CryptoKitties became quite famous and successful. This success caused Ethereum’s network to become congested, resulting in higher transaction fees.

So, instead of looking for alternatives, Dapper Labs, head office in Vancouver, Canada opted to address the issue of congestion by creating a custom blockchain. Thus, resulting in the formation of Flow Blockchain.

What is Flow Blockchain

Now that we got a clear idea about the history of Flow blockchain. Next, let’s understand what exactly is Flow blockchain.

The Flow blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) system developed to ease digital collectibles and blockchain-based gaming.

It is mainly a decentralized, fast blockchain that aims to support the development of a whole new set of apps, games, and digital assets.

Flow Blockchain Official Logo
Flow Blockchain Official Logo

Moreover, it works on a unique multi-role architecture. And this new multi-role architecture emphasizes the advantage of scaling without using sharding.

Hence, Flow blockchain has the potential to provide better efficiency and speed. And it also helps in maintaining ACID compliance and a developer-friendly environment.

What Problems Does Flow Blockchain Solve?

Till now, we have analyzed the history and definition of Flow Blockchain. Now, let’s understand the key issues that this Flow Blockchain helps to solve.

Limited Scalability

One fundamental weakness of Blockchain technology is its restricted scalability. Blockchain technology like Ethereum can only process 13–15 transactions per second. And this makes Ethereum unsuitable for widespread use.

And then, Dapper Labs decided to create the Flow Blockchain to address the issue of scalability. Its prototype reached a capacity of 1,000 transactions per second (TPS).

High Cost

The developers of Flow Blockchain also worked to lower the cost of transactions compared to the Ethereum network. In Ethereum, users have to pay some gas fees for each transaction on the network.

And this gas fee depends upon the complexity of a smart contract and the availability of the network.

Now, the average gas price per transaction on Ethereum can reach $20 on some days. But, Flow imposes two fees for each transaction in the network.

First is the account creation cost, which starts at 0.001 FLOW ($0.03). And second is the transaction fee, which starts at 0.000001 FLOW.

Features of Flow Blockchain

Now, in this section, let’s discuss some of the key features of using Flow Blockchain.

Features of Flow Blockchain
Features of Flow Blockchain

1. Scalability

The main aim of Flow Blockchain is to assist NFT-driven apps, crypto games, and other dApps. Now, these types of applications might generate a lot of user engagement.

However, due to its multi-role architecture and proof of stake consensus, it allows scaling without sharding. And it is capable of sustaining billions of transactions.

2. Less Complex

Some of the scaling solutions in Blockchain include the use of the sharding technique. But, sharding usually adds unnecessary complexity due to the requirement for synchronization among shard chains. Now, this could affect the overall development of smart contract based applications.

In comparison with other Blockchains, the Flow Blockchain offers to scale without using sharding. Hence, this helps in decreasing the overall complexity of the development.

3. Developer-friendly

Flow Blockchain has several features designed to make it easier and faster for developers to create apps.

For instance, Flow utilizes its own programming language for smart contracts known as Cadence. Now, this Cadence also offers different features, and it has an easy-to-read syntax.

Moreover, Flow Blockchain also includes a set of open-source tools to assist developers. For example, Flow Go SDK, a Flow JavaScript SDK, and Visual Studio Code Extension are among them.

4. Improved Smart Contracts

Smart contracts on standard dApp platforms like Ethereum are immutable. Now, this signifies that once a smart contract gets deployed, nobody can alter it.

Now, this immutability of smart contacts is to protect the dApps. But with this, Developers are unable to make code changes if required.

On the other hand, the Flow blockchain allows developers to deploy smart contracts in beta mode. Moreover, modifying smart contracts in beta mode is possible, while users get notified that their code is still incomplete.

Once the developers are confident with the contract, they can make it irreversible.

5. User freindly

The Flow blockchain also has a variety of features designed to make life easier for users. Smart user accounts and clear, human-readable security messages are among them.

How does the flow blockchain work?

To understand the working of Flow Blockchain, first, we need to understand its multi-node architecture. And then, we need to understand the functionality of those multiple nodes.

Multi-Node Architecture of Flow Blockchain

In traditional blockchain networks, each node has a significant amount of workload. In this, every node is responsible for storing the whole state of the ledger. And this also includes performing all activities associated with the processing of all transactions in the chain.

On the other hand, Flow Blockchain tries to solve this problem by using the pipelining technique. It utilizes pipelining for blockchain networks by dividing the work of validator nodes. Thus, the fundamentals of the Flow blockchain center on the utilization of four separate nodes.

  • Collection Node
  • Consensus Node
  • Execution Node
  • Verification Node
Multi-Node Architecture of Flow Blockchain
Multi-Node Architecture of Flow Blockchain

Now, the multi-node architecture demonstrates the division of work in Flow Blockchain. Moreover, the work gets distributed between nodes across different validation steps in each transaction.

This architecture focuses on the potential of separating non-deterministic and deterministic tasks. And then assign those tasks to different types of nodes in the network based on their technical capabilities.

The following two categories arise from a broader classification of tasks in the blockchain.

  • Calculating the result of transactions is an example of a deterministic or objective task.
  • Arranging transactions on the blockchain is an example of non-deterministic or subjective tasks.

Generally, non-deterministic activities would involve a coordinated consensus procedure such as Proof of Work or Proof of Stake. Deterministic tasks, on the other hand, have a single, objectively accurate outcome.

Functionality of Multi-Node Architecture

Now, let’s understand the functionality of these different nodes in the Flow Blockchain architecture.

  • Consensus nodes help to determine the existence and sequence of transactions on the blockchain. And it also utilizes Proof of Stake consensus algorithm.
  • Execution nodes are in charge of all transaction-related computation activity.
  • Verification nodes are responsible for maintaining and supervising execution nodes.
  • Collection nodes help to improve data availability and network connectivity.

Now, the consensus and verification nodes maintain security by employing crypto-economic rewards to create network-wide accountability. These nodes are also responsible for maintaining network optimization.

Additionally, consensus and verification nodes enable higher levels of participation.

Execution and collection nodes are in charge of performing the majority of deterministic tasks. And other types of nodes verify the work done by these nodes.

What is FLOW token

The FLOW token or coin is a native currency based upon the Flow Blockchain network. And it is the foundation for a new, open, and transnational digital economy.

Now, consider the Flow Blockchain network as an engine, and the FLOW token is the fuel that powers that engine.

FLOW token for Flow blockchain

Thus, it is a currency utilized by the Flow Blockchain network and all its applications to work. FLOW token represents both a payment method and a long-term reserve asset for the Flow economy.

In the Flow Blockchain network, validators, developers, and users use the token to gain benefits while participating in the network.

What language does flow blockchain use?

Blockchain environments like Ethereum, Flow uses a program stored on the blockchain, also referred to as Smart Contract. A smart contract is a program that validates and executes some task without the involvement of a trusted third party.

Now, Ethereum Blockchain uses Solidity as a programming language for smart contracts. And Flow Blockchain, on the other hand, uses Cadence to build smart contracts.

Cadence is a resource-oriented programming language that adds additional capabilities to program smart contracts. Moreover, it enables developers to make their code safer, better, more secure, and more approachable.

Related Blockchain tutorials:

In this tutorial, we have learned about Flow Blockchain. Here we have also illustrated how this Flow Blockchain works. Moreover, we have covered the following topics.

  • What is Flow Blockchain
  • What Problems Does Flow Blockchain Solve?
  • History of Flow Blockchain
  • Features of Flow Blockchain
  • Multi-Node Architecture of Flow Blockchain
  • How does the flow blockchain work?
  • What is FLOW token
  • What language does flow blockchain use?