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Supporting digital ownership and decentralization with Dapper Labs and Google Cloud

Businesses, developers and end-users are increasingly embracing blockchain applications. The benefits and opportunities that decentralized technologies offer are becoming evident: true digital ownership and emerging markets of digital goods powered by transparent, reliable, and verifiable transactions. 

At the very heart of this ongoing mass adoption are networks like Flow – a consumer-friendly, high-throughput blockchain that provides great user experiences at scale, without sacrificing decentralization or sustainability. Originally developed by Dapper Labs, Flow is now home to the first blockchain application to reach one million users – NBA Top Shot – and with the NFL, LaLiga and UFC, even more consumer-scale experiences are joining an already vibrant ecosystem of mainstream users.

The foundation enabling these levels of scalability is Flow’s multi-node architecture which increases efficiency by pipelining load across specialized node types. With the promising potential of this type of protocol design, I’m excited that Dapper Labs has selected Google Cloud as its hyperscale cloud partner to ensure performance, reliability and decentralization for the next wave of mainstream users on Flow.

Through this partnership, Dapper Labs will deploy an Execution node on Google Cloud to increase the speed of the overall network and assure reliable performance even in times of large traffic spikes. This step ensures that Flow’s users will continue to enjoy low transaction fees and fast finalization times even as millions of novices are joining the network.

In addition, Dapper Labs will tap the Google Cloud Marketplace to offer services for end-users to set up their own dedicated Consensus or Verification node on Flow. This step motivates active participation in the network and thus heightens the level of overall decentralization. Since Google Cloud infrastructure runs completely carbon neutral, this approach of hosting nodes is not only much easier, but also much more sustainable.

Through all this, Google Cloud will enable greater levels of performance, reliability and security for Flow users, without needing to compromise on decentralization or sustainability.

Flow and its multi-node architecture that scales seamlessly

Flow achieves high levels of scalability and decentralization with a novel multi-node architecture. Rather than letting every single node do the entire work of computation and consensus, the network’s load is pipelined across multiple node types: Collection nodes batch the work, Consensus nodes secure the work, Execution nodes do the work, and Verification nodes check the work.

This architecture is highly efficient because each node type specializes on a specific task. Relatively fewer resource-intensive Execution nodes can run the computations of each block as fast as possible, while a much higher number of Consensus and Verification nodes can allow anyone to participate in block sealing or verification. 

In short, the small number of powerhouses of the network are continuously watched by a far greater number of nodes that analyze and verify every bit of their work. This pipelining allows for better efficiency across all parts of the network, while preserving high levels of decentralization. 

Google Cloud x Flow: Connecting performance and decentralization

Google Cloud will enable both performance and accessibility for Flow and developers. First, Google Cloud will operate a high-performance Execution node to run Flow computations at scale; and secondly, we will offer services to end-users that enable them to take part in the network themselves. 

Execution nodes demand the highest levels of performance because they are dedicated to running user transactions as quickly as possible and at large scale, bringing low-latency access for developers and lightning speed to consumer blockchain applications.

Additionally, users will be able to operate a Flow node directly through solutions offered on Google Cloud Marketplace, enabling them to run various testnet configurations of Flow to test, experiment, and look for problems that may only show up at scale without posing any risk to the main network.

Enabling sustainable growth

Growing in a sustainable manner is top of mind for many businesses, but is particularly relevant in the blockchain space, where the ability to run and scale with minimal carbon output is critical. Google Cloudis carbon neutral today, and aims to be carbon-free by 2030, ensuring that developers and partners can interact with the Flow network using the industry’s cleanest cloud.

Google Cloud infrastructure and services will ensure that Flow can scale securely and reliably to billions of users. As that happens, Google Cloud will ensure that data, applications, games, and even digital assets like NFTs, are supported by a stable, secure, and trusted global network.

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