Google Cloud’s Integral Role as an Infrastructure Provider on Flare

Jack R. Mitchell

Flare’s announcement on January 15 marked a significant milestone in the world of blockchain technology. Google Cloud has officially joined Flare as an infrastructure provider, introducing a novel role that sets Flare apart from other blockchain platforms. This unique role is instrumental in fulfilling Flare’s mission as the “Blockchain For Data.”

The Flare infrastructure provider role comes with two primary responsibilities, each contributing to the network’s security and data decentralization:

  1. Supporting Network Security: Google Cloud takes on the role of a validator within Flare’s proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. As a validator, Google Cloud is responsible for proposing and validating new blocks on the Flare blockchain, ensuring the network’s integrity and security.
  2. Contributing to Flare’s Native Oracle: Flare’s ecosystem features the Flare Time Series Oracle (FTSO), a decentralized oracle system embedded within the Flare smart contract platform. The FTSO provides decentralized price and data feeds, such as cryptocurrency and stock prices, to decentralized applications (dapps) on the network. Google Cloud, as a data provider for the FTSO, plays a crucial role in retrieving off-chain time series data and supplying it to the FTSO smart contract at regular intervals. This data, combined with contributions from other data providers, enables the calculation of a decentralized median value accessible to all dapps on the network.

One key differentiator in Google Cloud’s role within Flare lies in its participation in a decentralized oracle system. This marks the first instance of Google Cloud’s involvement in such a system, either natively on a blockchain (as with Flare) or within off-chain systems like Chainlink. This strategic alignment underscores the importance of providing decentralized data at scale for the future of the blockchain industry.

James Tromans, Head of Web3 at Google Cloud commented: “Data access at scale is important to increase relevant blockchain use cases and greater global adoption of the technology. Google Cloud becoming a validator on the Flare network will help support that mission.”

The infrastructure provider role assumes a pivotal position within Flare’s ecosystem. By intertwining network validation with decentralized data provision, Flare solidifies its reputation as the “Blockchain For Data.” This integration empowers developers with access to a wide range of off-chain data in a decentralized, scalable, low-latency, and cost-effective manner.

The blockchain industry has long grappled with limitations stemming from inadequate access to decentralized data from various sources, hindering the development of diverse dapps. Existing Oracle systems face challenges related to decentralization, cost-effectiveness, speed, scalability, and data type expansion. These issues become even more pressing as the industry evolves to encompass real-world asset tokenization and advanced applications like machine learning and AI.

Flare addresses these challenges by utilizing its decentralized infrastructure, represented by the validators, to feed the network with abundant and diverse data. This breakthrough eliminates the data bottleneck and enables the development of next-generation dapps, ranging from AI and real-world asset tokenization to social and gaming applications.

“As the blockchain for data, we are excited that Google Cloud is joining our existing decentralized network of infrastructure providers who contribute to Flare. Our work together will help deliver a more robust decentralized smart contract platform that places decentralized data at its core” remarked Hugo Philion, Co-founder of Flare.

Currently, Flare boasts 87 infrastructure providers, categorized into two main groups, each sharing the same role and responsibilities within the network. Google Cloud belongs to the first group, consisting of professional validators who now also contribute as data providers to the FTSO. These organizations, including Ankr, Into the Block, Sensei Nodes, Kiln, and Luganodes, are pivotal in maintaining the network’s integrity.

The second group comprises experienced FTSO data providers and long-standing community contributors. These entities offer validation services to the network while simultaneously providing decentralized data. Many of them have been actively involved in Flare’s ecosystem for over two years, deeply rooted in the community, and often offering additional services and dapps to users.

The partnership between Flare and Google Cloud as an infrastructure provider signifies an important step forward in blockchain technology. This collaboration highlights the importance of decentralized data provision, unlocking new possibilities for developers and expanding the horizons of blockchain applications. Both delegation to the Google Cloud data provider and staking with the Google Cloud validator is possible, making it accessible to a broader audience through various platforms like the Flare Portal, FlareStake staking tool, BiFrost Wallet, and the Solidifi mobile app.

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