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What is Flow? An introduction to the Flow blockchain

The Flow Blockchain helps power some of the most popular apps, games, and digital assets. Here's everything you need to know.

26 Jul 2021by Bud Hennekes

If you've ever bought an NBA Top Shot pack or adopted your very own CryptoKitties, then you're already familiar with Flow, the powerful blockchain that powers some of the most popular applications in crypto, NFTs, and gaming.

Launched by Dapper Labs in 2019, Flow is quickly becoming the go-to blockchain for businesses to build and grow their user-base.

With a focus on low transaction fees and a truly user-centric experience, Flow is positioning itself to help build the next generation of apps, games, and digital assets. It has also launched its own native currency, FLOW, which is leveraged by validators, users, and developers to participate in the ecosystem.

What is the Flow blockchain?

What exactly is the Flow Blockchain?

"Flow is a blockchain that is designed for extensive scaling without the use of sharding techniques, providing fast and low-cost transactions that make sense for dapps such as NFT marketplaces and crypto-infused video games," writes Andrew Hayward of Decrypt.

Most notably, Flow is focused on reducing the complexity that is seen in many blockchains. Take, for example, purchasing a CryptoKitty. Behind the scenes, that process can involve dozens of transactions.

But, as Flow shares, ‍"In an unsharded, ACID-compliant environment like Flow, the same action, and many more complex than it, can be handled by one atomic transaction in a single block."

Image of CryptoKitties.
Created by Dapper Labs and using Flow, CryptoKitties is one of the most popular blockchain projects ( Image source

The Flow blockchain is designed not just to improve the end-user experience but also to allow developers to build, test, and launch projects quickly and sustainably as well.

4 benefits of Flow

As crypto, virtual worlds, and NFTs continue to become more mainstream, low transaction costs and ease of use are critical for both developers and users alike.

Flow was built with long-term sustainability in mind. Using proof of stake (POS) to run, it's significantly more energy-friendly than Proof of Work (POW), roughly in line with other online services you use regularly. Additionally, the launch of the stablecoin FUSD helps further strengthen the Flow ecosystem and is incredibly promising for its long-term growth.

Here are a few additional benefits of the Flow network:

1. User-friendly and mainstream ready

Flow is built for mainstream adoption, with a heavy focus on being developer-friendly and making it easy for non-crypto users to get involved. For example, with the Flow network, users can easily recover lost keys. Additionally, Flow works to reduce the many steps involved in getting started with their favorite projects. Because of this, Dapper Labs uses Flow for all their portfolio projects.

Image of the many brands that use the Flow blockchain.
Some of the many brands that use Flow ( Image source

2. Doesn't use sharding

As Flow notes: "Smart contracts and user accounts on Flow can always interact with each other in one atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable (ACID) transaction. In other words: all applications on Flow can run in the same shared execution state…. Sharding and layer 2 solutions break composability and reduce network effects for dapps and smart contracts by removing ACID guarantees from the execution environment."

While sharding can be helpful in some instances, it's not a long-term solution. By not using sharding, the Flow ecosystem is able to bypass some of the issues it can cause.

3. A focus on decentralization

Because it's incredibly easy for developers and users to participate in the Flow ecosystem, this ensures that more individuals can participate in the consensus process that secures the network. As Flow shares: "Flow is committed to a diverse and decentralized participation in the Flow Network, and therefore the distribution of the token, in compliance with securities law and other relevant regulatory frameworks."

4. Backed by some of the best investors and used by some of the world's biggest brands

Additionally, Flow is backed by some incredibly well-respected investors, ensuring the long-term growth and sustainability of the ecosystem.

An image of Flows investors.
Investors of Flow ( Image source

Both the Flow ecosystem and FLOW token continue to grow rapidly, and with more people around the world getting involved in crypto, it is well-positioned to become a key part of the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. The sky's the limit for the ecosystem.

We have some exciting news to share on how MoonPay and Flow will be working together to bring crypto to the next billion users. Stay tuned!