Fantom is the first public smart contract platform to introduce the concept of “guaranteed transaction slots” together with fixed transaction fees, making it suitable for enterprise-grade Dapps. Its model also incentivises miners to increase transaction capacity in line with demand.
As their novelty value slowly recedes, the success of smart contract blockchain platforms will increasingly depend on their ability to attract users based on objective business criteria. Future growth will not come from crypto-enthusiasts or from blockchain hype. Most existing tokenomics models do not fully take into account the needs of network users. This is something Fantom aims to change.
Before a company or a project invests significant resources to develop and deploy a business-critical DApp on a blockchain, it should ask the following questions:
- Is the chosen blockchain platform economically viable over the long term?
- Are transaction costs reasonable as well as predictable?
- How can we ensure that the Dapp users will always be able to transact? Can we get a guaranteed transaction capacity?
- Will the platform scale with the application, in terms of transaction and storage capacity?
- Will we be able to onboard Dapp users who do not own cryptocurrencies?
- Does the platform have settlement finality?
- Does the platform have a solid governance system?
Unlike most other smart contract platforms, the Fantom network has been designed to provide a positive answer to all of these questions.
In order to be economically viable, the fee structure must ensure that miners have a sufficient income to cover their operating costs. After the launch of mainnet, the Fantom Foundation will guarantee a minimum income to validators, in case block rewards do not cover hardware costs. This will encourage validators to operate high performance nodes at all times.
Predictable transaction and storage costs
The transaction fees on the Fantom network will be set in relation to cloud computing and storage costs, and will be stable in terms of fiat. Because processing and storage will be distributed among multiple nodes, these fees will inevitably be significantly higher than what traditional cloud providers charge. The goal is to keep these fees at a reasonable level while still covering the costs of running the network nodes, given the network’s expected number of validators.
Transaction fees will be expressed in terms of FTG (Fantom Gas). Specifically, each opcode executed by the register-based Fantom Virtual Machine will have a fee expressed in FTG. Computing the gas cost of a token transfer or of a smart contract call will therefore be very similar to the way this is currently done on Ethereum.
The price of FTG will be fixed against fiat. It will be modified from time to time by the network users themselves, as part of the on-chain governance. The FTG price is expected to decline slowly and gradually over time.
Guaranteed transaction capacity for transaction-staked FTM token holders
Owning a percentage of FTM tokens staked for transactions will guarantee a corresponding percentage of nominal network processing capacity at all times — this is called a “guaranteed transaction slot”. Independently of spikes in transaction volume, holders of transaction-staked FTM will thus be able to have a certain minimum number of transactions processed. This guaranteed capacity will furthermore be weighted with a user’s importance, which means that active users will have a larger guaranteed transaction slot compared to others who are less active.
A user wishing to increase his guaranteed transaction slot will have to purchase FTM at the current market price, which will fluctuate. However, once the purchase is made, the transaction fees are predictable.
Note that it is extremely unlikely that all users will be using all of their guaranteed capacity at all times. It is therefore likely that there will be ample free capacity available in most blocks.
Finally, as the network capacity grows over time, the guaranteed transaction capacity corresponding to a given number of FTM tokens will grow proportionally.
Organic growth of network capacity according to demand
Network capacity will tend to grow in line with transaction volume. Because transaction fees will be fixed, the only way for validators to increase revenue will be to increase processing capacity, and they will have a strong incentive to do. Fantom will make sure that the increase in block rewards more than compensates for the additional cost of a more powerful processor. Note that the Fantom consensus protocol will only have a moderate processing overhead (no “proof of work”), so most of the processing capacity of every node can be used for transaction processing. On the other hand, validators with inadequate processing capacity will be at risk of receiving a low validator score, and thus significantly less block rewards.
As a result, the same percentage of FTM tokens held should, over time, give access to a larger processing capacity. This is expected to be a key driver of the FTM token price.
Note that other scaling methods, such as network sharding and off-chain computing, are also likely to be used in the future.
Access to Dapps without FTM/FTG tokens
Dapp developers will be able to deposit FTG tokens into their Dapps — think of it as staking tokens to a Dapp. Developers can then allow specific accounts to use these Dapps without holding any FTM or FTG. This will significantly simplify the onboarding of new clients or Dapp users, who may not yet be involved with blockchain or crypto.
The Fantom consensus model will ensure settlement finality at every block. There will be no need to wait for several blocks to confirm a transaction, nor will there be any risk of 51% attacks.
The Fantom team is working on a solid, multi-tiered governance system with the following goals:
- Reduce the risk of forks by focusing on consensus voting models
- Different voting / participation methods depending on the importance of changes
- Fast decision times for urgent bug fixes and emergencies
We will publish more details about this in the coming weeks.
The Fantom smart contract platform has all the necessary features for projects that require long-term visibility and predictable transaction costs. We are in a unique position, offering enterprise-grade features on a public, permissionless blockchain.