This week on Developer Reflections, we're proud to highlight Flare, a next-generation blockchain network that allows developers to build, fund and settle smart contracts using XRP.
At its core, the XRP Ledger was built as a settlement network for cheaper, faster payments, which is why XRP is so effective as a bridge currency to support use cases such as global remittance (see Ripple's On Demand Liquidity).
In order to serve as an efficient, reliable network for settling transactions, the XRP Ledger was intentionally designed with a minimal surface area, meaning that it’s not as effective at supporting complex computational programs, classically called smart contracts.
Last fall, Xpring invested in Flare, led by Co-founders Hugo Philion and Sean Rowan, as a way to extend the XRP Ledger to support more advanced applications that require smart contract functionality.
Flare combines the settlement functionality of XRP, the programmability of the Ethereum Virtual Machine, and a version of the metastable consensus mechanism called Avalanche, to form a Turing-complete Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) network for building advanced smart contract applications.
This week, Flare released a test network called Coston, which acts as a testbed for developers to begin building smart contracts on Flare using Node.js.
On Coston, developers can fund smart contracts using a one-way peg, whereby a user burns faux XRP on testnet in order to receive a representation of XRP on Coston. Flare plans to eventually support a trustless two-way peg that allows developers to both fund, and redeem XRP from Flare smart contracts natively.
Flare represents a new category of blockchain networks that assemble the best pieces of various existing networks to allow for greater flexibility and utility. We look forward to seeing what developers build on Flare, starting with Coston.
If you're a developer that uses the XRP Ledger, Interledger, Xpring SDK, XRP API, ripple-lib, XRP CLI or related open-source technologies in your products and apps, then fill out this form [link] with details about your product or app, and join the community.