Harmony is a Blockchain platform designed to facilitate the creation and use of Decentralized applications (DApps). The network aims to innovate the way decentralized applications work by focusing on random state sharding, which allows the creation of blocks in seconds. Harmony aims to offer a fast and open blockchain for decentralized applications. Harmony has created an ecosystem for the end-to-end transfer of Cryptocurrency by integrating the existing networks that allow you to convert your fiat currency into crypto and vice versa. There are quite a few compelling reasons why you should deep dive into this altcoin project.
What is Harmony?
Harmony Launched as part of the initial exchange offering (IEO) on the Binance Launchpad in May 2019, Harmony (ONE) is a decentralized blockchain platform designed as a bridge between scalability and decentralization efforts. Its development went under the motto of “decentralization at scale” with the focus on data sharing and the creation of marketplaces of fungible tokens and non-fungible assets. Furthermore, Harmony comes with an additional promise of delivering high throughput accompanied by two “lows”: latency and fees. Combined, they are supposed to put the platform at the heart of the efforts to lay the foundation of the future decentralized trustless economies.
What Is Harmony Trying to Achieve?
Harmony’s development focused on the idea that no platform has achieved a satisfying degree of balance between decentralization and scalability, as explained in the project’s Whitepaper . Based on this, it promises to deliver the goods on the following goals:
Harmony wants to get rid of structural limitations preventing cryptocurrencies from becoming genuine digital money. This primarily refers to the scalability problem, such as that faced by Bitcoin whose increased popularity created performance and brought about increased costs of the use of its payment system. Instead of this, Harmony will implement deep sharding technology which covers not only the transaction validation and network communication but the blockchain state as well. Its bid for full scalability is based on getting rid of the modular approach and trying to solve consensus “the scale”. This includes optimizations that are being added across multiple layers of consensus algorithms, networking, and systems to improve performance without hurting decentralization.
Higher transaction throughput is what should set Harmony apart from the likes of Ethereum and other blockchain solutions which are forced to achieve performance gains by sacrificing other features. Harmony developers describe competing solutions as unable to resolve scalability issues or provide support for applications that require high throughput performance, such as with gaming or decentralized exchanges. Similarly, blockchains such as EOS or IOTA tried replacing consensus models and introducing new tech, such as directed acyclic graph (DAG). All of these came at the expense of security and/or decentralization which Harmony aims to preserve by creating shards (groups) of validators that would be able to process transactions simultaneously. Based on this, the total transaction throughput should increase in a linear manner and in parallel with the growth in the number of shards. In September 2018, Harmony’s managed to achieve 118,000 TPS with some 44,000 nodes, with the hope to close the gap to Visa’s 2,000 TPS on a daily basis.
Harmony’s consensus protocol goes for speed and energy efficiency. Much of Harmony’s scalability and throughput promises rest on the ability of its Fast Byzantine Fault Tolerant protocol (FBFT) to employ parallel transaction processing to scale with the size of the network and effectively tackle its connection latency. Its network topology is designed to enable faster consensus reaching and message exchange. At the same time, Harmony features a kernel designed to run its protocol in a manner that allows a wider range of devices to participate in the consensus-building, thus strengthening its decentralization. The deep sharding process itself relies on an adaptive proof-of-stake model based on distributed randomness generation (DRG) procedure which is described as secure, easily verifiable, and scalable.
Secure, Radom State Sharding. Harmony has transcended the blockchain trilemma by bringing the best research to production. Sharding is proven to scale blockchains without compromising security and decentralization. Harmony divides not only our network nodes but also the blockchain states into shards, scaling linearly in all three aspects of machines, transactions, and storage. To prevent single shard attacks, we must have a sufficiently large number of nodes per shard and cryptographic randomness to re-shard regularly. Each shard has 250 nodes for a strong security guarantee against Byzantine behaviors. We use the Verifiable Random Function (VDF) for unbiased and unpredictable shard membership.
Fast Consensus w/ Instant Finality. Harmony has innovated on the battle-tested Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT) for fast consensus of block transactions. Our Fast BFT (FBFT) leads to low transaction fees and 1-block-time finality in Harmony Mainnet. We use Boneh–Lynn–Shacham (BLS) constant-sized signatures to commit blocks in a single round of consensus messages. We achieve 8-second block time with view changes in production against adversarial or unavailable leaders. Harmony Mainnet was launched in June 2019. The network has produced 10M+ blocks with 20k+ transactions in publicly traded, native ONE tokens.
Effective PoS & Token Economics. Harmony has designed a novel Proof-of-Stake (PoS) mechanism for network security and economics. Our Effective Proof-of-Stake (EPoS) reduces centralization and distributes rewards fairly to thousands of validators. The staking mechanism supports delegation and reward compounding. To support 100% uptime but fully open participation, EPoS slashes validators who double-sign and it penalizes elected but unavailable nodes. Harmony Economics Model caps the annual issuance at 441 million tokens (about 3% rate in long term). Our model gives validators a simple and predictable return. All transaction fees are burnt to offset the insurance, naturally leading to zero inflation when our network usage becomes high.
Stephen Tse is the founder and CEO of Harmony. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in cryptographic protocols and type theory has been obsessed with protocols and compilers since high school. He reverse-engineered ICQ and X11 protocols, coded in OCaml for more than 15 years, and graduated with a doctoral degree in security protocols and compiler verification from the University of Pennsylvania.
Rongjian Lan was a search infrastructure engineer for Play Store at Google. He published over 10 academic papers on Spatio-temporal querying and map-based visualization. Rongjian started researching decentralized protocols and sharding in early 2017.
Sahil Dewan is a graduate of Harvard Business School, where he served as president of the blockchain and cryptocurrency club. He has worked at Draper Dragon Fund and advised several blockchain projects.
Nick White (now in the external team) holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University. As a graduate teaching assistant at Stanford, he researched artificial intelligence and applied mathematics with Prof. Bernard Widrow.
Prior to the IEO, Harmony started out as a startup in 2018. Its fundraising project managed to raise USD 18 million in April 2019, drawing attention from multiple investors such as Silicon Valley’s Consensus Capital, Hong Kong’s Lemniscap VC, and others. More than 2.8 billion of its ONE tokens were purchased by investors, with 12.6 billion of them set aside for pre-mining. To investors, Harmony promises access to an ecosystem that will support its adoption across various markets, with a focus on data sharing, decentralized marketplaces, Supply chain tracking, ad exchanges, credit rating systems, and gaming.
Harmony (ONE) has a maximum supply of 12,600,000,000 tokens. As of February 2021, the circulating supply on the market is about 9,486,327,268 ONE. Out of the total supply of ONE token, 22.4% were dedicated to the initial seed sale. Another 12.5% were set aside for an additional Launchpad sale. The Harmony founding team and developers received 16.9% of the total supply. About 26.4% of ONE token were dedicated to protocol development, while another 21.8% were directed towards ecosystem development.
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