Confused in differentiating Flow blockchain and Ethereum for NFT Development? Here are the key differences between Flow vs Ethereum.

The evolution of blockchain technology is continuously introducing new platforms, apps, and languages. As of now, the latest development in the world of blockchain focuses on the representation and trading of artwork and collectibles, in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Many NFTs are presently in the Ethereum ecosystem

However, there is a strong case for Flow blockchain as a reliable platform for NFTs. So, who is the winner in this Flow vs Ethereum debate? We could not find an answer without finding out what these two platforms are and how they differ in diverse aspects. The following discussion offers a detailed comparison between Flow and Ethereum to help you decide the better choice for NFTs.

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Understanding Ethereum

When you try to get a firsthand impression of the Flow blockchain vs Ethereum comparison, you must know about the basic differences. Let us start with the discussion on Ethereum before anything else. The second-largest blockchain network, Ethereum, offers a decentralized open-source platform with smart contract features, is undoubtedly a force to reckon with in the blockchain landscape. The creators of Ethereum needed to introduce a blockchain network with support for a wide range of use cases. 

The interesting fact about Ethereum, which is an important aspect in the difference between Flow blockchain and Ethereum, is the programming language it uses. Ethereum leverages Solidity as a credible object-oriented advanced programming language for tailoring smart contracts. Solidity bears considerable similarities with JavaScript, Python, and C++. In addition, it has been tailored specifically for Ethereum Virtual Machine.    

While Bitcoin arrived as a successful example of blockchain network, it served only as a peer-to-peer currency exchange. On the contrary, Ethereum helps in digitization and efficient movement of anything having value, other than the only cryptocurrency. Ethereum offers the benefit of Solidity as its programming language. Presently, Ethereum serves as the preferred platform for different decentralized applications as well as NFTs. 

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Understanding Flow Blockchain

The other player in the Flow blockchain vs Ethereum competition, i.e., Flow blockchain, made its mark in 2020. The developers of Flow blockchain, Dapper Labs, have the credit of developing the popular CryptoKitties NFTs. However, the NFT-based game created prominent issues of network congestion for Ethereum. Therefore, Dapper Labs tried to develop a blockchain platform that could support billions of users in decentralized apps with capabilities to scale up for meeting the basic consumer requirements. 

As a result, we have Flow blockchain today. It is a fast, decentralized blockchain platform that can foster the growth of complete ecosystems of applications, especially NFTs. The most critical factor in favor of Flow blockchain in the Flow vs Ethereum comparison refers to its multi-node architecture. The new blockchain platform could support the creation of apps with security and composability, which could appeal to billions of users.    

Flow utilizes its own native currency, FLOW, as the reserve asset of the network. It also works effectively as an exclusive token to facilitate governance, payment of transaction fees, and staking. Just like Ethereum creators, the creators of Flow blockchain also brought a new language, known as Cadence. The programming language of Flow blockchain also tilts the stakes in its favor in the comparison between Flow and Ethereum

Cadence offers the functionalities of a resource-oriented programming language equipped with new features applicable for smart contracts. Some of the unique features in Cadence include in-built pre and post conditions for transactions and functions, capability-based security, and an effective static type system. Interestingly, Flow is already the top-choice for popular decentralized applications such as the NBA Top Shot. 

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Which One Is the Better Choice for NFT – Flow Blockchain vs Ethereum?

As you can see clearly, Flow is currently the emerging favorite for NFTs. At the same time, it is impossible to undermine the role of Ethereum in boosting the popularity of NFTs. As a matter of fact, most of the NFTs in circulation today are created using Ethereum. So, it is important to take a deeper look at the difference between Flow blockchain and Ethereum for identifying the best alternative among the two. 

  • Scalability

The first point of comparison in Flow blockchain vs Ethereum debates refers to scalability. You can find a throughput of almost 13 to 15 transactions every second in the Ethereum network, making it inadequate for large-scale use. Ethereum was not successful in dealing with the sudden growth of users in the CryptoKitties game. On the other hand, developers created Flow blockchain with the goal of solving the scalability problem while ensuring decentralization and high-security levels. 

Ethereum opts for the use of sharding to facilitate horizontal scaling of the blockchain network. On the contrary, Flow blockchain relies on the multi-node architecture to facilitate vertical scalability. Therefore, the work is divided among different nodes in the Flow blockchain. 

With four different types of nodes such as collection nodes, verification nodes, execution nodes, and consensus nodes, Flow blockchain gains advantages over Ethereum. Most important of all, Flow blockchain emerges as a winner in the Flow vs Ethereum comparison in terms of scalability. The use of four distinct types of nodes helps in ensuring optimal decentralization and distribution of node operators. 

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  • Transaction Fees

The comparison between Flow and Ethereum also takes the transaction fees into account. Ethereum users must pay gas as the fees for performing a transaction and ensuring the successful execution of smart contracts. The transaction fees on Ethereum depend profoundly on the complexity of the smart contract and load on the network. Users have to pay gas fees in Ether, the own cryptocurrency of Ethereum. 

In the case of Flow, the creators were not happy with the high cost of transaction fees. So, was Flow successful in solving the problem of high transaction fees? The answer to this question is clearly evident in the facility of two distinct fees applicable for the transactions. The first fee in the case of Flow blockchain is the cost of creating your account, estimated at 0.001 FLOW. The second fee is actually a transaction fee which starts at almost 0.000001 FLOW. 

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  • Account Model

Another pointer for comparing the two entries in the Flow blockchain vs. Ethereum debate refers to the account model. Generally, the most important aspect of an Ethereum account refers to the private key, which is basically a 256 bits or 32 bytes hexadecimal number. After successfully generating the private key, mathematical operations on it could help in obtaining the public key. Subsequently, the public key goes through multiple mathematical operations for obtaining a valid address. Now, it is important to note that you could not create a private key by leveraging a specific address. 

In the case of Flow, the blockchain network automatically creates an account on Flow while ensuring support for multiple public keys. In addition, you should generate the public and private key pairs first by leveraging the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm or ECDSA P-256 or secp256k1 curves. 

Then, the system must ensure that the transaction goes to the blockchain. Such a transaction helps in the initialization of new account storage followed by the assignment of generated keys to the concerned account. Every account on Flow blockchain could have an association with 1to n public keys. In addition, Flow also features a private key in the direct ownership of the account holder for every public key. 

The difference between Flow blockchain and Ethereum also becomes quite clear with smart contracts on Ethereum being deployed to individual accounts. In addition, the individual accounts do not feature a private key in Ethereum. Furthermore, Flow blockchain ensures that accounts can ensure the deployment of multiple smart contracts simultaneously. 

The discrepancy in account models of Flow blockchain and Ethereum primarily rests in the ability to track smart contracts and tokens. Basically, an Ethereum account could track all tokens and the smart contracts with which the account has interacted through Ethereum logs. On the contrary, Ethereum does not present a single store of account assets for smart contracts. The resource-oriented programming model of Flow blockchain ensures effective tracking of smart contracts with which your resources have interacted. 

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  • Consensus Mechanism

The topic of consensus mechanism will definitely be one of the top priorities in the Flow vs Ethereum comparison. Ethereum presently relies on the Proof-of-Stake or PoS consensus mechanism, which pits miners in a competition for creating new blocks. The miners are able to solve cryptographic puzzles faster than others, with capabilities for establishing cryptographic connections among blocks. 

Furthermore, Ethereum developers are also planning to shift to the Proof-of-Stake or PoS consensus protocol. With the PoS consensus mechanism, validators would place ETH as stakes for participating in transaction verification. Interestingly, the selection of validators at random ensures the creation of new blocks and sharing them with the network alongside receiving rewards. The transition to PoS consensus could introduce a potential reduction in energy consumption as well as gas fees. 

While Ethereum plans to introduce PoS, the Flow blockchain is already operating on the PoS consensus algorithm. The consensus algorithm comparison for Flow blockchain vs Ethereum shows the difference in the ways for participants to make profits. PoS encourages participants to reap results from elevating the currency value. 

On the other hand, PoW encourages participants or miners to increase the commission. PoW is also one of the important reasons for scalability issues in Ethereum. So, Flow blockchain definitely comes on top as a winner, especially for creators waiting to launch and capitalize on opportunities with NFT projects

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  • Working Philosophy

The philosophy underlying Ethereum relies on different principles such as universality, agility, simplicity, non-discrimination, and modularity. Generally, the average programmer must have the capabilities to implement a desired decentralized application. In addition, Ethereum also serves universality by working as an ideal platform as the base for applications for different purposes. 

In addition, Ethereum developers are also seeking for prospects in the improvement of the security and scalability of blockchain. Although the comparison between Flow and Ethereum turns towards Ethereum in terms of working philosophy, it is completely different. Smart contract development on Ethereum involves many tradeoffs in reality. 

For example, you have to constantly work on identifying the balance between the desired app architecture and unique peculiarities in Solidity. Furthermore, the implementation of a smart contract is considerably complex, with multiple scenarios and rising costs with each unnecessary action. 

The philosophy of creators behind Flow blockchain draws considerable inspiration from other blockchain networks such as Ethereum. The developers of Flow blockchain have evaluated all problems that developers face before creating the platform. Flow blockchain enables developers to concentrate on business logic rather than worrying about complicated blockchain specifics. 

Even if Flow blockchain is new and you have to go through a prominent learning curve, it offers adequate documentation. In addition, the creators of Flow are constantly striving to introduce improvements that would allow simpler approaches for development. 

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  • Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are also one of the pointers for Flow vs Ethereum comparison. Generally, Ethereum is associated with smart contracts directly. It is practically the top platform preferred for creating smart contracts. Any transaction over the smart contract is documented on the blockchain and thus becomes immutable. 

On the other hand, some developers perceive the need for modifications in the smart contract after deployment in the event of identification of any issues. Flow helps in releasing smart contracts in a ‘beta state’ on its mainnet. Therefore, the original author of the smart contract could easily update the code in a stepwise process. 

On the other hand, users could opt for using the code just as it is at a specific instance. Users could also wait for the completion of the code before putting their trust in the code. Therefore, it is clear that Flow blockchain offers better flexibility in terms of smart contract optimization. 

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You can get a brief overview of the difference between Flow blockchain and Ethereum in the following comparison table.

CriteriaFlow BlockchainEthereum
ScalabilityScalability targeted towards larger audiences.Highly difficult scalability with only 13 to 15 transactions per second.
Transaction FeesAccount creation fee and transaction fee amount for a very low transaction cost.Transaction fees depend on network congestion and the complexity of smart contracts.
Account ModelBlockchain automatically creates blockchain with support for multiple public keys.An account is created on the basis of a private key.
Consensus MechanismFlow blockchain uses the Proof of Stake consensus algorithm.Ethereum is using the Proof of Stake consensus algorithm.
Working PhilosophyDevelopers can concentrate on business logic rather than blockchain technicalities.Smart contract development on Ethereum involves a lot of tradeoffs.
Smart ContractsSmart contract authors could update code before making it immutable. A smart contract could not be modified after execution.

Final Words

The discussion on the Flow blockchain vs Ethereum debate shows that both of them have suitable capabilities for a wide variety of applications. However, the features of both of them have pros and cons, especially in relation to NFT development. While Ethereum is working on new solutions for scalability with sharding as the preferred option now, Flow blockchain offers scalability effortlessly with a multi-node architecture. 

Furthermore, Ethereum imposes high transaction costs and does not allow modifications in smart contracts, while Flow blockchain does the opposite. In a head-to-head comparison, Flow blockchain definitely takes the top edge in some facets. However, the choice of a blockchain platform for NFT development ultimately falls on you. 

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*Disclaimer: The article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide any investment advice. Claims made in this article do not constitute investment advice and should not be taken as such. 101 Blockchains shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this article. Do your own research!