Now, a Dapper representative tells Decrypt that the Flow is “fully open and controlled by the community,” with the firm running less than one-third of the active consensus nodes that maintain the proof-of-stake network . The company claims that 68% of nodes are now operated by external Flow validators.
A proof-of-stake network like Flow operates differently from the proof-of-work approach used by Bitcoin and Ethereum . Rather than use an energy-intensive mining model, Flow relies on validators who have staked a significant chunk of FLOW tokens and then earn rewards for processing transactions.
Decentralization is critical to the security of all blockchain networks, which are typically distributed across thousands of computers around the world. If a single entity controls the majority of mining power or validator nodes, then it could be possible to alter transactions and double-spend coins, for example.
Dapper Labs, whose own future success as a company appears closely intertwined with that of Flow, now operates 32% of Flow’s current nodes .
“We’ve reduced the number of consensus nodes that Dapper Labs is running to less than a third,” Flow product manager Layne LaFrance told Decrypt . “That’s enabling a lot more participation in the network for community members, and also is a really important security metric to showcase that the network is run by the community.”
Dapper created Flow after its first NFT project, CryptoKitties , nearly crashed the Ethereum blockchain in 2017 due to overwhelming demand. The Vancouver-based firm didn’t believe that Ethereum could handle its future ambitions for crypto collectibles, and so it developed a bespoke proof-of-stake network that could handle more transactions at lower costs.
Whether Flow truly is decentralized is a question that has hovered around Dapper since NBA Top Shot launched last fall, and especially since it exploded in demand earlier this year. LaFrance said that amidst the process of progressive decentralization, the growth in validators has come both organically and via Dapper’s own efforts to increase distribution of the network.
“Flow has been architected to be a completely permissionless, completely decentralized public blockchain,” she explained. “The bootstrapping process, though—when code is early in its development, security is always something that you’re testing. It’s been part of the security hardening process to add in more folks from the community.”
Unique amongst blockchain networks, Flow splits its proof-of-stake model into four different roles for validators, who can operate Collector, Execution, Verifier, or Consensus nodes. That opens up more opportunities for community participation, without diminishing security or performance as a result, LaFrance claims.
It has been a year of incredible growth #onFlow , so we wanted to reflect on the journey to becoming the world’s fastest growing blockchain License.