Since we launched CryptoKitties in November 2017, our team has been testing and evaluating different approaches to solving the problem of scalability. Unfortunately, none of the existing solutions are a fit for the applications we’ve been wanting to build.
Today we’re excited to announce Flow, a fast and developer-friendly blockchain built to support entire ecosystems of apps, games, and the digital assets that power them.
We’re also excited to announce that we’ve raised a new round of financing from Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund and Accomplice as well as leading players in entertainment and crypto including Warner Music Group, Union Square Ventures, Venrock, AppWorks, Digital Currency Group, Autonomous Partners, Fenbushi Digital, Animoca Brands, SV Angel, Version One, CMT, and CoinFund, among others.
Why build a new blockchain?
Every other decentralized blockchain’s plans for scaling depend on some kind of sharding or side chains. Unfortunately, our team recognized early on that these approaches make interactivity between smart contracts significantly more complex and error-prone.
In other words, sharding is a good solution for payments, but not for an ecosystem of complex applications like games or social networks.
After nearly two years of research we are happy to present Flow, a blockchain design that can meet mainstream developer and consumer expectations without sharding the network or compromising decentralization.
How is Flow different?
In a traditional blockchain, every node stores the entire state (account balances, smart contract code, etc.) and performs all of the work associated with processing every transaction in the chain.
Flow has a pipelined architecture that separates the jobs typically done by a single node across five different node types, significantly reducing redundant effort and improving efficiency. To support this approach, the Flow team developed a new cryptographic technique called Specialized Proofs of Confidential Knowledge (SPoCKs) to address the Verifier’s Dilemma.
Flow rethinks many other design choices to improve usability for developers and consumers alike, including upgradable smart contracts, human-readable security, and more. The protocol is secured via a variant of HotStuff, a Proof of Stake consensus algorithm developed by VMware Research. See the How Flow Works section of our Primer for details.
The result is a single shared state for all smart contracts, ensuring that each transaction has full ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) guarantees. This approach empowers developers to safely and easily build on top of each others’ code, creating entirely new products and services at an accelerating pace. This is known as composability. Similar to open source software, composability allows developers to innovate faster, ultimately leading to more consumer choice:
“A platform is composable if its existing resources can be used as building blocks and programmed into higher order applications. Composability is important because it allows developers to do more with less, which in turn, can lead to more rapid and compounding innovation.”
— Jesse Walden, 4 eras of blockchain computing, degrees of composability
What can you build on Flow?
Flow is a dependable platform for applications that can provide entirely new features and benefits to their users.
Examples of experiences that can be powered by Flow include: artists or bands using crypto tokens to give millions of fans unprecedented new ways to show their fandom; games that reward players for adding value and enable assets and identities that users can take across infinite open environments; or platforms for sports fans around the world to trade verified, authentic, limited-edition digital memorabilia in real-time.
That’s why we are excited to announce the involvement of entertainment legends like Warner Music Group and Ubisoft as well as high growth innovators like Animoca Brands, developers of crypto games including F1 Delta Time and Sandbox.
We’ll have more details about Flow partners and how you can get involved soon. In the meantime, if you’re a developer, content creator, or IP holder, please get in touch for more details.
What does Flow mean for CryptoKitties, Dapper, and Cheeze Wizards?
Dapper Wallet will seamlessly support Ethereum and Flow, allowing consumers to easily access assets and applications on both networks. Both CryptoKitties and Cheeze Wizards NFTs and their associated smart contracts will continue to live on Ethereum.
Users of Dapper Wallet and players of both games will be the first to receive early access to see, test, and play with upcoming experiences on Flow.
Once Flow is live, players will be able to use Dapper Wallet to take CryptoKitties into applications on Flow, benefiting from a new universe of games and other apps that will emerge there.
Cool! How can I get involved?
Flow is built for open ecosystems, so we want to get the community involved as early as possible. There is no code available yet, but there’s still a lot to talk about: