What do NFTs, Open Ecosystems and Flow Playground Have in Common?

April 14, 2020

Dieter Shirley, the genius behind leading the Flow product, Layne Lafrance and Dapper Lab's fearless CEO, Roham Gharegozlou joined Staking Hub for an AMA about all topics Flow.

What do NFTs, Open Ecosystems and Flow Playground have in common? Find out in the transcript of the Staking Hub and Flow AMA.


Clayton Menzel: Wonderful. We have a lot of questions so let's get started. 
How do you plan to foster community around Flow? Will you make a place for community members of other Dapper Labs projects?

Dieter Shirley: Happy to answer, Clayton, but let me just start by thanking you and the Figment team for organizing!
It’s the efforts of teams like yours that keep the crypto community connected and positive, and we’re really excited to be a part of it.

Layne Lafrance: Our discord channel has been full of phenomenal people dedicated to making cool things. We’re just going to keep giving you the tools to make more awesome stuff and adding more of you to our weekly webinars so you can really know what it means to be on the flow team. 
The community from other dapper labs projects has been jumping directly into the flow discord and we love that they feel comfortable there 🙂

Clayton Menzel: What has made Flow so attractive to media and sports companies like Ubisoft, Warner Music, and the NBA?

Dieter Shirley: I think the most important part of building a sustainable community around Flow is actually starting with the end users. It’s one of the key reasons why we’re launching the blockchain with our own consumer-facing Dapps available on day one.

I think one of the reasons those companies are willing to trust us is that we’re the only layer one team that has the experience of building, launching, and supporting a widely-used consumer blockchain application. This gives us way more empathy for creating a smooth experience for both developers and users.

R 🚀: They Staking Hub 👋 re Community i should also mention it's why we're here! we want to engage with folks directly and transparently. we're doing things like Cadence Cup to engage smart contract devs, onboarding universities to teach resource-oriented programming to their students, and ofc we're thinking really creatively about ways to support entrepreneurs and open source devs building on Flow directly

Clayton Menzel: Makes sense! Are all partners like the ones mentioned above expected to run their own nodes?
Will you be looking to the larger validator community to help educate these partners who are more new to this space?

Layne Lafrance: They don’t have to, but most of them have indicated interest in doing so!

We definitely want to engage the larger validator community to help onboard these folks - our partners have lots of questions around both the tactical operation of staking and the strategy and so far they've found it helpful to engage with folks we've introduced them to in the space. If you'd like to connect with folks looking for help please shoot mickey@dapperlabs.com and email and he'd be happy to make introductions 🙂

Clayton Menzel: Great. 🙂 Your multi-node infrastructure is pretty unique. Can you explain its advantages when compared to other blockchains?

R 🚀: Folks like Purdue have already been public with their intent to run nodes (https://www.coindesk.com/the-team-behind-cryptokitties-is-one-step-closer-to-leaving-ethereum) others like Ubisoft and Animoca are working on logistics 🙂

To be clear that's Purdue University not Purdue Pharma 😅

Dieter Shirley: I think most people have heard of the “scalability trilemma”. It’s the idea that you can’t have a homogenous network that exhibits security, scalability, and decentralization. You have to pick at most two of the three.

The most common ways to work around this limitation is to either limit participation (giving up on decentralization) or to create a sharded state space, which limits composability. Flow takes a different path: It breaks the network into different node types.
What this allows is for us to make different “trilemma” trade-offs at different parts of the network. With the Consensus and Verification nodes, we emphasize Decentralization and Security.
We can focus solely on Security and Scalability with the Execution Nodes by making sure that the job of those nodes is strictly deterministic and verifiable.
In other words, the job given to the Execution Nodes has a single right answer, and if they produce the wrong answer, they will get slashed.

Clayton Menzel: So sort of like an assembly line in the traditional sense.

Dieter Shirley: Absolutely! We were actually inspired by the way that modern CPUs are pipelined.

Clayton Menzel: Can you tell us how the Flow token plays into this? Are there different rewards/risks associated with staking with particular node types?

Dieter Shirley: There’s always two sides to an incentive structure, the sticks and the carrots. 😁

The carrots are the rewards given to honest node operators. If you do your job you get paid, and if you fail to do your job you don’t get paid. As simple as that.

In certain cases, we can give small bonuses to nodes that go “above and beyond”, like the fastest Execution Node.

The sticks are the slashing conditions. We learned very quickly that node operators really don’t like to work with protocols where being slow or unresponsive can lead to slashing. (“If my machine is crashed, I shouldn’t get slashed.”)

However, we absolutely need to slash nodes that engage in active malfeasance.

Of course, each node has different kinds of active behaviour that could result in slashing: An Execution Node that produces an incorrect result, for example, or a Consensus Node that double votes.

Clayton Menzel: I see. Will end-users of applications built on Flow be exposed to the Flow token?

Layne Lafrance: Yes, but they don’t have to be - we’ll have infrastructure to make sure there is a trustworthy stable coin and credit card on-ramps available for folks to use on their favourite dapps - we want to make onboarding a piece of 🍰

Gavin Figment: Also curious to know if token holders will be able to delegate their stake to validators.

Layne Lafrance: Delegation will be supported - we're thinking through the right mechanisms but at the very least it'll be supported at the smart contract level.

Gavin Figment: What funds node operators that do their job? Transaction fees and inflationary block rewards?

Dieter Shirley: The primary source of income for node operators are the block rewards, we use transaction fees to reduce the overall inflation rate.

Clayton Menzel: A question from the community: Are you noticing any trends out of the numerous projects currently being developed on the Flow Playground? Are they entertainment focused? Collectible focused?

Layne Lafrance: We've seen a lot of ideas around collectibles/NFTs and the gameplay that could evolve around them. 

I'd categorize them into the buckets:

* Single player NFT - the focus is on creating, collecting, sharing, and trading the item - sometimes game play is layered onto this especially with card games (collectible cards that you use as a deck)

* Multiple player NFT strategy - these are experiences that focus on the evolution of the NFTs as the result of interaction with other players - the NFTs have attributes that define how they're played, those attributes are incremented/decremented with game play - and it's much more about the strategy of forming challenges  

There is also a lot of effort being put into onboarding and the tools around that which is awesome to see

Gavin Figment: Is inflation going to be used for anything else? Or just to fund staking?

Dieter Shirley: We don’t have any plans to use inflation for anything other than rewarding node operators. We are committed to keeping the inflation rate as low as possible while maximizing security.

Clayton Menzel: Awesome.

R 🚀: To be clear, Flow is a general purpose blockchain so while we're starting with games / entertainment / NFTs bc those are what get mainstream users' interest, people can build anything on Flow for these users and they already are. E.g. Cadence Cup this week is about voting contracts and DAOs (https://www.onflow.org/post/cadence-cup-round-2-building-voting-mechanisms) we haven't talked about Cadence yet but if any of your members are smart contract devs they should take a look (https://play.onflow.org)

Layne Lafrance: We've also seen a huge chunk of the community building around defi based ideas and we're working hard to support that ecosystem with a stablecoin available for use early on

Gavin Figment: I suppose that security is really important because you're anticipating high value NFTs to move across your network. I recall seeing high value crypto kitties--what kind of high value nfts might we see on Flow?

I see we're getting short on time--any plans for interoperability? Will Flow be able to work with other popular chains? Eg. Cryptokitties on Ethereum

Also wondering about governance. Is there a roadmap for how changes to Flow's protocol will be coordinated from mainnet onward?

Clayton Menzel: Adding to Gavin's Q... Are the name brands y'all are partnering with like Warner and the NBA mostly interested in NFTs?

Layne Lafrance: Security is important because this is a general purpose verifiable computation environment where all kinds of things of value can move - NFTs will ultimately be a subset of all that activity. We have some projects up our sleeve that we're excited to share in the coming months 😉

Gavin Figment: Oh you gotta give us more than that! Even a hint

Dieter Shirley: Cross-blockchain interoperability is a really hard problem and one that deserves a lot of thought to make sure we’re getting it right. Right now we’re focussed on delivering a core protocol that works, is dependable, and is secure. We expect to dig deep into interoperability later this year. (As you can imagine, we have a pretty strong incentive to find a way to connect our Ethereum projects with the new work we’ll be delivering on Flow!)

Layne Lafrance: > Also wondering about governance. Is there a roadmap for how changes to Flow's protocol will be coordinated from mainnet onward?

Saving all the tough questions for the end 😉 Governance is another tough problem that we want to be thoughtful about and requires buy-in from the community. The community is critical to defining governance and so our priority over the coming months is defining that process with them. We'll be open sourcing soon and look forward to building out a proposal, review, update process with the community.

Gavin Figment: Layne it's like NFT stands for Not Likely Telling 😉

R 🚀: in terms of high-value NFTs, absolutely - life has been becoming more and more digital even before lockdown! we think of NFTs in a bunch of different buckets and want to make sure there's a home for all of them on Flow. In-game items like CryptoKitties, NBA Top Shots, UFC players, but also digital fashion, digital art, and pure collectibles. Especially for digital art we're starting to work with some major players both non-crypto big names as well as people in the crypto NFT community - here it's important to do as much on-chain as possible. We think NFTs will *start* being most successful as digital items with in-game utility and collectible products for the world's biggest brands / fandoms (like the NBA), but eventually, at scale, they can be the main currency of any group of people with a shared purpose. We want to make it as easy as creating a facebook page or twitter profile for communities to create their own NFT economies.

Gavin Figment: Very cool!

Dieter Shirley: Thanks again to Clayton and Gavin for hosting, and thanks to everyone who provided the thoughtful questions!

We had a lot of fun, and we look forward to sharing more information with everyone in future.

Clayton Menzel: Great insight y'all! Thank you so much. Any last updates y'all would like to share?

How can our community stay in touch?

Layne Lafrance: Thanks for having us folks - it was a pleasure connecting with y'all - hope to see you on our Discord 

Gavin Figment: Was fun! Thanks to Clay for hosting and to the Flow team for joining :)

Check out the Flow Discord for up to date information on what is happening on Flow!



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