What is the Flow Blockchain: All About the Home of NBA Top Shot

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Dive into the fast, scalable, and developer-friendly blockchain

Three words are of huge importance in the blockchain space: Speed, scalability, and friendliness. The Flow blockchain is promising all this and more. Let’s dive into this network that is once again making a name for itself with explosive partnerships and projects.

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What is the Flow blockchain?

Flow is a layer-1 blockchain that allows developers to easily build decentralized applications for the next generation of games, finance, and assets. Even though it’s a far more recent project than other big names, like Ethereum and Solana, Flow has built a strong community in a short time.

As most of the crypto-space hopes to be the future of something, Flow claims to be the future of crypto.

The blockchain presents itself as a developer and-friendly blockchain where you can build dapps without compromising the user experience. It operates on Proof-of-Stake and promotes being faster and also more ecological than most of its competitors.

At DappRadar, you can track some of the best projects built on the Flow blockchain – with a deeper integration coming soon.

In the meantime, it’s essential to get a better understanding of the Flow blockchain, what it offers, how it faces off against the competition, and what projects are already signed up to build on Flow.

Who created Flow?

Dapper Labs is the company behind the innovative Flow blockchain. They have been testing and evaluating different approaches to solving a key problem of scalability since launching CryptoKitties in 2017.

Then, they came to realize that none of the existing solutions were fit for the applications they wanted to build.

“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,”

CEO of DapperLabs Roham Gharegozlou in a post on the Dapper Labs Medium channel

After two years of research and experimentation, they came up with a solution. Flow was born.

With Flow, the blockchain’s design is touted to meet the mainstream developer and consumer expectations – without sharding the network or compromising decentralization.

How is the Flow blockchain different?

In a traditional blockchain, every node stores the entire state and performs all of the work connected with processing every transaction in the chain.

Flow has a pipelined architecture that divides the jobs typically done by a single node across five different node types. Significantly reducing unnecessary effort and improving overall efficiency. 

Flow rethinks many other design choices to improve usability for developers and consumers, including upgradeable 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. 

This approach empowers developers to securely and easily build on top of each others’ code, creating entirely new products and services.

In a similar way to open-source software, this added composability on Flow allows developers to innovate faster, ultimately leading to more consumer choices.

Smart-contracts on Flow

As of August 2022, Flow made it possible for developers to build permissionless smart contracts on the blockchain. Until then, projects could not be carried forward without a review.

It was a step further toward decentralization, and therefore, it’s possible that the Flow blockchain start launching more projects thanks to that.

We’ve already seen more projects jump into Flow since then, as you’ll read later in this article.

What can you build on Flow?

Flow is a reliable platform for applications that can provide entirely new features and benefits to their users. From NFT marketplaces and projects to exchanges and video games, Flow allows for advanced designs and minimal fees.

Examples of experiences that can be powered by Flow include artists or bands using crypto tokens to supply millions of fans with unique new ways to show their fandom. If you’re organizing an event and selling tickets on Ticketmaster, for instance, you can mint the event ticket NFTs on Flow.

Another big part of Flow utility is in the gaming industry. Games that reward players for adding value financially and by ownership can use the Flow blockchain too.

There is also perhaps the most popular way to get to know Flow, the platforms for sports fans. It allows people from around the world to trade verified, authentic, limited-edition digital memorabilia in real-time – also through NFTs.

What is the FLOW token?

In addition to being home to over a thousand active projects, Flow also has its own ecosystem token. The FLOW token was launched in 2020, and in just a few weeks, it reached a market capitalization of $1 billion.

It can be used to pay for transaction fees on the blockchain and in purchases in any dapp built there. As the token is on the Flow blockchain, to buy this cryptocurrency, you need to have a blockchain wallet compatible with this protocol, such as Blocto. FLOW can be purchased on major exchanges like Uniswap and Binance.

What are Flow’s partnerships?

The list of projects and brands already involved is certainly impressive. Since its launch, Flow has been steadily building value and bringing people to Web3.

Besides sports giants like NBA, UFC, and NFL, Flow also has partnerships with Instagram, Youtube, Ubisoft, Samsung, Mattel, Warner Music Group, Shopify, and Berkeley University.

As for Web3 partners, Flow counts on CryptoKitties, Binance, Animoca Brands, OpenSea, and Rarible.

Top dapps on Flow: the most successful projects

As you know, there are multiple decentralized applications (apps) built on Flow with different goals. Take a look at the most famous ones below.

Early Success: NBA Top Shot

The Flow blockchain beta main net went live with NBA Top Shot in September 2020. During its record-breaking early access period, NBA Top Shot amassed thousands of users.

It allows you to collect and trade moments of the NBA game’s season, complete sets of dynamic plays, and win challenges. However, the ability to trade unique moments in a peer-to-peer marketplace is what really stirred interest from collectors and gamers.

Flow blockchain
Source: NBA TopShot Twitter in early 2021

On January 2021, a boom in non-fungible token (NFT) sales and interest arrived after one of the most active periods for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology throughout 2020. Crypto markets were at a peak, and investors were looking for an alternative asset class to transfer value into to try and avoid inflationary pressures. 

Unlike Bitcoin, which is exchangeable, NBA Top Shot moments are completely unique NFTs. Each NFT can only have one owner, and it cannot be duplicated. In this way, NFTs are used “to create verifiable digital scarcity” and digital ownership.

A New Wave: Solitaire and Trickshot Blitz

With integration in July and August 2022, Joyride Games brought the Flow blockchain back to the top of the DappRadar Rankings. Solitaire Blitz and Trickshot Blitz, two simple and easy-to-play mobile games, led thousands of people to play-to-earn.

Top Flow Dapps - August 2022
Top Flow Dapps in August 2022 via DappRadar

The gaming platform that had a decade of experience in the gaming industry trusted Flow to join Web3. This says much about the blockchain’s strength and what we can expect next.

Besides these, it’s also worth mentioning other projects on Flow:

Flow blockchain: in-summary 

The Flow blockchain is designed to meet the mainstream developer and consumer expectations without sharding the network or compromising decentralization.

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. 

The involvement of entertainment brands like Warner Music Group and Ubisoft, as well as high-growth innovators like Animoca Brands, and developers of crypto games, including F1 Delta Time and Sandbox, show the Flow blockchain’s intent and user adoption strategy. 

NBA Top Shot smashed multiple NFT sale records and amassed thousands of users, and Joyride’s games are again taking Flow to record-breaking numbers – now on unstable times for the dapp industry.

Keep tracking Flow with DappRadar

Flow is, as it has always been, a promising blockchain that is growing sustainably. We at DappRadar will continue following its journey of leading blockchain innovation and keep you posted on the latest news.

If you’re looking for opportunities with Flow, you’ll like to know that DappRadar tracks some of the most famous dapps on the blockchain. Check our Flow Dapp Rankings to stay ahead of the game.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Flow blockchain with us! Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow DappRadar on Twitter to receive awesome content like this first.

The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your own research.

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