CoinEx Institution: Research Report on Flow, A New Generation of NFT Public Chain
I. Project background
At the end of 2017, a blockchain game called CryptoKitties rose to fame overnight, with a turnover of more than $1.9 million in just one week. Users can adopt and buy virtual cats in the game, and then raise “cloud cats”. Since each kitten is born with a unique appearance and personality, a few rare cats are madly sought after by users, with some priced at as high as hundreds of thousands of US dollars for a time. A massive influx of users once left the Ethereum network in serious congestion. As it went viral, CryptoKitties introduced two concepts to cryptocurrency for the first time: ERC-721 and NFT.
Design problems are to blame for the congestion of the Ethereum network: high transaction fees, low performance, and incapability in carrying large-scale applications; what’s more, running a game on the Ethereum network could incur considerable interaction costs. A few years later, Dapper Labs, the team behind CryptoKitties, finally released its own public chain, which is named Flow.
Flow has a clear goal — to develop into a platform for a new generation of games, applications and digital assets. Such an orientation just makes up for the lack of Ethereum in NFT and games, thus forming a differentiated advantage.
II. Project information
1. About the project
Flow is a new blockchain built for the next generation of apps, games, and the digital assets that power them, and was designed from the ground up as a foundation for internet-scale protocols and applications that also require exceptional user experience. It aims to develop an underlying platform that is more friendly to Dapps, supporting Dapps, games and digital assets.
Flow divides crypto miners or validators into four different roles, each of which has its own characteristics, thereby significantly increasing the speed and throughput. This means that anyone with a reliable internet connection should be able to participate as a validator of Flow at various computing and financial levels.
Validators join Flow in one of four roles: collection nodes that can improve efficiency, execution nodes that can increase the speed and scale, verification nodes that ensure correctness, and consensus nodes that ensure decentralization.
2. Project team
Dapper Labs is the developer of CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, and is also the first in the world to propose the ERC-721 standard for NFT. Since its establishment in February 2018, the team has been committed to introducing to consumers the value of blockchain technology through entertainment and game content. CryptoKitties is known as the most successful blockchain application besides cryptocurrency. In addition, Dapper Labs has launched projects including “Cheeze Wizards” (the world’s first blockchain-based battle royale game), “NBA Top Shot” (a platform created in cooperation with NBA and NBPA), and Flow.
The Dapper Labs team has cooperated with many well-known organizations. For example, it has worked with NBA to develop NBA Top Shot; in March 2020, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced the authorized partnership with Dapper Labs who will develop and deploy UFC brand digital collectibles on its platform Flow.
NBA Top Shot has outrun CryptoKitties in terms of the historical total turnover, with the transaction volume reaching 29.48 million US dollars and 18,800 collectors. CryptoKitties comes second, with a turnover of nearly 29.41 million US dollars and 91,900 collectors.
3. About the token
Token name: FLOW
Official website: https://www.onflow.org/
Listing time: FLOW will be listed on KraKen Exchange in 2021
Total amount: There are 1.25 billion FLOW tokens in the genesis block
Circulation: The circulation is 0 when the main network is launched. Within 30 days after the launch, 20 million FLOW tokens will be distributed as additional rewards to operators staking verification nodes so as to guarantee sufficient token circulation supply in the early stage to start the Flow economy; half a year after the launch, approximately 30 million Flow tokens are in circulation.
ITO conditions: Over 10 million U.S. dollars in the private placement and approximately 18 million U.S. dollars in the public placement.
Total market value: Estimated at 120 million US dollars in the private placement
Token unlock: 50% locked in the first year, and the remaining 50% will be unlocked in the next three years. In the first round of sales, one community member can purchase up to 10,000 FLOW tokens, each with a price of 0.1 US dollars, plus a 1-year lock-up period and 12-month linear release period.
Mining mechanism: Staking
Block time: In seconds
Token use: Staking, governance, and fee payment
4. Technical capabilities and progress
Flow follows the idea of vertical sharding + specialized division of labor to improve performance. Specifically, it can be divided into three steps:
(1) First, by vertically sharding each transaction, that is, by disassembling the transaction links and processes, a transaction is broken down into two types of deterministic and non-deterministic links. These links are then divided into more detailed sub-links, such as transaction collection, consensus, execution, and verification.
(2) Secondly, the nodes are classified by two dimensions, i.e. the different requirements of the nodes in different links of the transaction and the resources, capabilities and other features of the nodes.
(3) Finally, different links and tasks are allocated to different nodes, and each link handles its best tasks. For example, nodes with high hashrates and strong computing power can process and execute computing tasks, ensuring the speed and scale of transaction processing; nodes with strong collection and sorting capabilities are responsible for collecting transactions, thereby improving the efficiency of nodes; verification nodes guarantee the correctness of transaction processing; more consensus nodes keep the network decentralized.
On the whole, the concept of FLOW is to separate the two main tasks that the blockchain needs to handle, i.e. calculation that consumes the most resources and the most time-consuming consensus, and to assign tasks according to the nature and capabilities of nodes.
In March 2020, the team announced the launch of Flow Playground, an interactive web development tool, and introduced a new programming language called Cadence. In addition, technological innovation includes assigning work previously done by a single miner or validator to five different types of nodes, thereby significantly reducing repeated work and improving efficiency.
5. Marketing and community
6. Financial status
Dapper Labs has raised more than $51 million from backers represented by Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Venrock, GV (formerly Google Ventures) as well as founders of companies such as DreamWorks Animation, Reddit, Coinbase, Zynga, and AngelList. In addition, in October 2020, Dapper Labs also raised about 18 million US dollars in two rounds of Dutch auction financing on Coinlist.
Interview with Dapper Labs Team: A Team Committed to Independent Research as NFT Development Strategy and Cooperating with Large Companies and Independent Developers;
Things You Need to Know Before the Public Sale of FLOW Tokens;
A Comeback of the King of CryptoKitties: Is Flow A Dark Horse in Chain Games?