What is Harmony?
Harmony is a blockchain platform that developers can leverage to build decentralized applications. Harmony blockchain claims to solve issues with bottlenecks faced by Ethereum through the introduction of a new sharding-based blockchain that operates using a unique consensus algorithm. The system is designed to open doors for ultra-fast transactions and interoperability. Using Harmony’s block platform, developers can build and scale intuitive decentralized applications or dApps that can accelerate cross-chain token swaps.
Sharding makes Harmony Protocol a powerful blockchain platform; sharding allows the decentralized platform to scale while also maintaining security. The Harmony blockchain platform is like a mix of Ethereum, blended with the unique solution of the Harmony platform. These attributes make Harmony a platform that developers can select for its growth and scalability. The application of the Harmony bridge can cater to both decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFT).
Developers will find familiarity in the Harmony blockchain platform, both Ethereum and Harmony use the Solidity programming language and Ether.js – for developers, coding on Harmony will feel just like they are building DApp on the Ethereum blockchain. On the user end, they can expect two-second transaction confirmation, and they have the ability to seamlessly swap between Harmony and Ethereum blockchain.
What is Harmony all About?
The background of Harmony starts with its founder, Dr. Stephen Tse. Dr. Tse is a skilled cryptographer who was also a core developer of Google Maps. Driven by his passion for blockchain technology, Tse developed his own programming language ‘Min’ to build blockchains. After developing Min, Dr. Tse founded Harmony in 2018 and raised over $20 million to develop the Harmony protocol. Harmony’s native token, ONE was launched through Binance’s initial offerings (IEO) in May 2019.
What is the Problem Harmony is Addressing?
Ethereum was the first blockchain platform to use smart contracts. As with any pioneering technology, there were a couple of underlying problems with Ethereum-based smart contracts. Ethereum’s scalability and its 15 TPS (transactions per second) failed to support high-throughput applications, including gaming and decentralized exchanges. There have been several proposed solutions for the limitation of Ethereum, but they did not improve overall efficiency. If a project solved one problem, another problem became a hindrance.
A concept known as Sharding was proposed because it had all the features that could solve the scalability problem, the most prevalent problem with Ethereum blockchain. The first public blockchain to use this concept and solve the scalability problem was Ziliqa. However, the solution provided by them falls short in two ways. First, it did not divide the storage of blockchain data. It can limit the participation of machines with limited resources in the network. Second, Ziliqa relies on Proof-of-Work (PoW) as its randomness generation mechanism, which can lead to a single-shard takeover attack.
Addressing these issues, Harmony has brought the next-generation sharding-based blockchain, which is fully scalable. It is secure and energy-efficient. The team has been innovating on both protocol and network layers to support the emerging decentralized economy. Key takeaways from the vision of Harmony are to scale the trust of billions of people globally and create a radically fair economy.
What are the Breakthroughs That Harmony has Achieved?
The optimally tuned system of Harmony makes breakthroughs to solve the following aspects:
- Scalability: Usage of shards-type blockchain that enables sharding of both network communication and blockchain state. It makes Harmony blockchain fully scalable.
- Faster and efficient Consensus: The Harmony blockchain is based on Proof of Stake rather than Proof-of-Work used in other sharding-based blockchains which make it around 100x faster.
- Consistent Cross-Shard Transactions: Cross-shard transactions are supported by Harmony wherein the shards interact directly with each other. The atomic locking mechanism ensures consistency.
- Secure Sharding: Security is one of the primary focuses of any blockchain. Harmony uses a distributed randomness generation (DRG) process. It is unpredictable, unbiased, scalable, and verifiable.
What are the Concepts Fueling Harmony?
There are four major concepts behind this blockchain that makes it more efficient and secure. These are Harmony protocol, Sharding, cross-chain interoperability, and DRG.
Every blockchain is associated with a consensus protocol. It is responsible to determine how blockchain validators reach the next block quickly and securely. Bitcoin is powered by a PoW (Proof-of-Work) consensus. In this process, the first to solve the cryptographic puzzle gets to propose the next block and wins some token rewards.
Another type of consensus is PBFT or Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance. In this one node is elected as a leader and others are validators. Harmony uses an improved version of PBFT called Fast Byzantine Fault Tolerance (FBFT). The validators of Harmony consensus are elected based on effective Proof-of-Stake (PoS) making it much faster and secure. Further, it uses both Variable Random Function (VRF) and Verifiable Delay Function (VDF) to verify randomness with validators on the network.
The Harmony blockchain is based on the Sharding mechanism. It uses four types of shards, the beacon chain (shard 0), shard one, two, and three. Each shard supports 250 validators which imply that Harmony has an upper limit of 1000 network nodes.
The blockchain boasts an unmistakable 2,000 transactions per second (TPS), which is multi-fold to the current Ethereum blockchain. It is stated that each new shard brings additional 500 TPS. The team aims to achieve 2,000 shards to facilitate 1 million transactions per second across the Harmony network.
This property of Harmony architecture opens up new possibilities. The bridges can connect any PoW and PoS chains. The FlyClient architecture is highly gas efficient. A plethora of digital assets over tens of millions across Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain are secured using Harmony bridges.
Distributed Randomness Generation (DRG)
Among all the approaches proposed to assign nodes into shards, randomness-based sharding has been recognized as the most evitable solution. In this, a mutually agreed random number is used to determine the sharding assignment for each node. The number possesses properties like unpredictability, unbiasedness, verifiability, and scalability. Harmony uses VRF and VDF to issue scalable randomness generation.
Why Should you use Harmony Blockchain?
Harmony declared a rewarding scheme in July 2020. It is offering $7 million to various developers building in the Harmony blockchain. It focuses on seven areas of development. Cultivating decentralized applications (dApps), portals, ZKProof, and community are a part of the package.
Harmony released Horizon, a two-way bridge between Ethereum. The launch of Swoop was done, which is the native decentralized exchange on Horizon. These happenings did not make the headlines in the Crypto world but are surely significant in making blockchain technology available for mass adoption.
Using the Harmony Blockchain and two-way Ethereum bridge developed by the team is cheaper and faster. Digital asset swapping is now only two seconds away, along with over 1000 validators.
What is the Harmony “ONE” Token?
It is the ONE token that keeps the entire Harmony ecosystem up and running smoothly. A vision of “For One and For all” derives the name “ONE.” The goal for Harmony is to scale open consensus for over 10 billion people.
The Harmony One token is used to pay fees across the network and staking ONE to secure the Harmony blockchain. Participants get rewards in the form of tokens to use them further. It is expected that the token will be used for governance across the Harmony protocol.
As per CoinMarketCap, the maximum number of ONE token is 12.6 billion, whereas its circulating supply is 10.2 billion. Also, according to current stats, around 441 million tokens are minted every year. The token is available in both ERC-20 on the Ethereum chain and BEP-2 on the Binance chain.
How is the Staking of Harmony One Tokens Done?
New validators and delegators can enter the network of Harmony easily. The barriers to becoming validators and delegators are not that high. Harmony only requires validators to stake a minimum of 10,000 ONE tokens. These validators are nodes that confirm transactions and validate blocks on the network. If someone is wishing to participate without a full node operation, they are free to join as delegators. They delegate their ONE token stake to a chosen validator and earn a small percentage of block rewards. The entry stake for delegators is 1,000 ONE tokens. Time-stamp validation is done through Epochs. Simply put, epochs are a set of 32,768 blocks on the Beacon chain. They last around 18 hours.
What are the Rewards for Staking?
Rewards are variable to the percentage of ONE token holding that is staked. It ranges between 164% percent APY for 5 percent stake and around 9 percent APY for 95 percent staked tokens. The staked ONE tokens are subject to an unlocking period of approximately six days.
Harmony has built a secure network that scales out bad actors. Any bad actor seen double-signing transactions receive a double slashing of their stake. That means around two-thirds of the stake will be gone, and the validator will be removed from the network. Though, the validator gets a generous margin to uptime.
With each transaction done, some of the harmony Tokens are burned. Around 50 percent of tokens collected from penalties are also burned. The cycle repeats, and notedly, ONE is not deflationary. Tokens burned are taken from the 441 million generated through annual rewards.
What is the Next Move of Harmony?
2021 looks like a busy year for Harmony, with fast checks on each quarter. After getting the whitepaper done and 2-second finality working, Harmony is set to work in Ethereum Layer-2 Endpoints. Its focus is on decentralized voting power, Binance bridge, and $10 million bounties. Around the end of quarter three, Harmony will work on On-Chain Wallet, NFT, and Bitcoin Bridge.
What are the Open Developments Launched by Harmony One?
Currently, there are multiple open developments on the platform. They are interoperability with On-Chain bridges and wallets. The vision is to focus on adoption through on-chain wallets.
Harmony’s strategy and architecture include interoperability, partners, and decentralization. The interoperability front includes the Ethereum bridge, Bitcoin bridge, cross-shard composability, atomic swaps of assets, and cross-chain communication. Harmony achieves decentralization using resharding and fast sync. Though Harmony is not yet fully decentralized, one of its key goals is to become fully decentralized soon.
The third open development was launched on May 11, 2021. Now, anyone who wishes to get a personalized subdomain can do so with the Crazy.ONE project.
How to Buy Harmony (ONE)
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Gate.io – Best exchange for USA residents.
Harmony – The Go-To Blockchain Platform for Ultrafast Transactions
Harmony resonates with the idea of developing a layer-2 scaling solution for the Ethereum blockchain. It is being done using a sharding-based blockchain that uses the unique Harmony consensus. Transactions are ultrafast and are much more energy-efficient. With a 2-second transaction finality and 100 times lower fees, Harmony’s bridges enable ultra-fast, affordable digital asset swaps.
The Harmony ONE token powers the whole ecosystem. As per estimates, around 12.6 billion tokens are in supply, and 440 million are minted every year through rewards. Building and staking ONE token on the network is highly rewarding. The team will issue around $10 million worth of tokens as rewards in the coming quarter. Overall, Harmony Protocol is carving its own path and aims to empower developers to build fast and efficient decentralized applications.