"Ethereum has always shown too much restraint when it comes to Scaling
when I am king, D-Apps will be free to scale however they want
because a user's satisfaction is never full"
(someone whispers) "...But Ethereum is far too powerful to challenge"
"Ethereum is yesterday's message
a clapped-out distracted regime
whose failings undoubtedly presage
the need for a different dream.
Yes, transactions amounts are a-changing
which means that B-protocols must too.
My vision is clear and wide-ranging
and even encompasses YOU!
So prepare for the consensus of the century,
prepare for the shard-i-est tech.
Meticulous planning, tenacity spanning,
solid security is simply why i'll be king
UNDISPUTED! RESPECTED!! SALUTED!!!
And seen for the wonder I am.
Yes, my chains of transactions are strong,
The sharding king 2019 - Harmony (Be Prepared) tweaked from The Lion King 2019 - Be Prepared
It is of course no news to any one that are in the jet age. The exact reason why it has been named so may be aviation related but we are sure it also hints to the speed at which things run or are done today; sending mails, transporting goods and services, playing games, financial transaction, consume data and even food. Haha! Financial transactions could be said to be the least fast in all of the aforementioned. Not for long, we know. Digital asset and cash also popularly known as cryptocurrencies powered by blockchain technology has come to fasten things up even across borders.
The distributed Ledger technology (DLT) also known as the blockchain technology applies way to more than just digital currencies and assets. It has been applied in a whole lot of areas that the internet has been and might even surpass it. it has been applied in medicine for decentralized recording of patients data in projects like Medibloc, in gaming to make in-game transactions provably fair and inject real-world value as in projects like XAYA now known as Chimera, in finance as a whole lot of cryptocurrencies have been payment options for both wholesalers and retailers.
Talk about education, blockchain backed certificates are already being rolled out. Talk about artificial intelligence, talk about social media, the list is literally endless when it comes to the areas it has been applied and the areas it will be applied.
Not only is it certain that new users - millions of them - will come on board, it is also certain that when these users do, the existing blockchain ships will sink out of existence like the great titanic and not even Rose will survive this time around.
I echo out to these already existing blockchains
or is it too late already?
Versatile blockchains like Ethereum were not built with scalability primarily in mind, rather it is further developed and updated, mended you could add, to cater for the growing needs of the cryptosphere. This might be a solution for now, but not on the long-run, and say it is mended, it only leads to a few percent improvements. This can be reasoned as sustaining an old-lady running on an endless marathon by making her drink glucose.
There's only so much that herself and the glucose can do. I might not be as harsh as Scar, the lion king character, to call Mufasa; yesterday's message and a clapped-out distracted regime (and this just perfectly describes Ethereum) but I can be as bold as Scar is, to say that transactions amounts are changing and Blockchain protocols should too. Blockchains which are built from scratch with scalability in mind are like a child trained for the same endless marathon from the day he steps into the world.
Of course, there is a project which shares these train of thoughts as well and has created a "consensus for the century". An open blockchain which is provably secure and scalable, so scalable that even tens of billions of users cannot daunt its operation. This blockchain network is named Harmony
What is Harmony?
Harmony is a Triple-S blockchain system. A blockchain network with speed, security and scalability. It would be a Quadruple-S blockchain system if we considered its energy 'S'aver aspect. Harmony harmonizes the key innovations made on the blockchain technology and presents the world with a robust and fast blockchain network without sacrificing other critical aspects pertinent in the technology such as security and decentralization.
The network is built from the strength and weaknesses of other blockchains. The strengths are adopted and improved while the weaknesses are eliminated. Without mincing words, it can be said that is a blockchain like no other with leading edge protocols and consensus. This, the reader will acknowledge as we delve into its features.
Harmony is a fast and secure blockchain with key innovations in state sharding and peer-to-peer networking. its sharding uses secure proof-of-stake and decentralized randomness, and its networking achieves optimal cross-shard routing and fast block propagation.
Source: Harmony OnePager
The Glory of Harmony
The meticulous planning put into the development of Harmony, makes the audacity and tenacity of its operational capabilities span beyond the burden of 10 billion users. Even with the on-boarding of such a great number, Harmony is certain to show no sign of performance quality dilution. Below are some of the features which gives the network its ruggedness, strength and energy efficiency;
Blockchain State and Network Sharding
Sharding can be seen as division of labor. Computational tasks are divided into smaller portions called shards and shared among actors on the network to ease up and speed up the completion of the task. Sharding is a leading scalability solution which speeds up blockchain transactions while still preserving security and decentralization of the blockchain. Zilliqa which is the first sharding-based public blockchain recorded transaction speed up to 2800 transactions per second, which is a feat of its own when compared with the crawling transaction speed of Ethereum and Bitcoin.
However, a limitation to the scalability of the zilliqa blockchain is the absence of Blockchain state sharding. It can only perform network or transactions sharding, where transactions are assigned to different shards and processed separately. But with the absence of state sharding each node has to hold the entire blockchain state in order to process transactions and this hampers scalability.
Harmony trumps this limitation by designing a PoS-based full sharding scheme which is linearly scalable and provably secure. The Harmony team pays attention to state of the art innovations in the blockchain community and draws inspiration from them to improve the Harmony Blockchain network. The blockchain in its current design state draws inspiration from the aforementioned zilliqa as well as Omniledger and RapidChain. The Improvements made already allows the Harmony network record transactions speed up to about 118,000 transactions per second in its testnet.
The division of this computational tasks must be unpredictable to prevent any corruption from from any malicious attacker, hence it should be randomly done. As regards this, Harmony combines the strength of the randomness generation strength provided by Algorand and Ethereum 2.0 to create a scalable Distributed Randomness Generation (DRG) process via the VRF-based (Verifiable Random Function) cryptographic sortition and VDF (Verifiable Delay Function) solution. This random sharding solution implemented by Harmony assures users a fully scalable and provably secure blockchain where even ASIC miners pose no threat.
Suffice it to say that the computational division of tasks known as sharding does not happen only once. As a matter of fact, the time interval (known as Epoch) for which a shard structure stays fixed on the harmony blockchain is a day, after which there is a resharding. This is done to mitigate the possible problem of malicious attackers corrupting the validators in a shard, if the structure were fixed.
Complexity-Free Consensus Mechanism
Fundamentally, in any blockchain, the consensus mechanism determines how participants (in the case of Harmony, blockchain validators) on the blockchain agree what the next block should be. For bitcoin, the name of its consensus mechanism is Proof-of-Work (PoW). For Ethereum, Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and for EOS and Steem, Delegated Proof-of-Stake. There are hundreds of consensus mechanisms out there all having their strengths and weaknesses, for instance the proof of work consensus algorithm is energy intensive.
Harmony uses a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, but not like Ethereum's - a faster and less complex one. After selecting its validators with the proof of stake, the interaction between these validators uses an improved protocol called FBFT (Fast Byzantine Fault Tolerance) system, a modification of the popularly known PBFT (Practical Byantine Fault Tolerance). This protocol eliminates any dormant step in the communication between validators and simplifies the broadcasting, counting and verification of votes on the blockchain. Harmony's protocol is designed even better than the protocol it sips inspiration from - ByzCoin's BFT- by implementing the BLS (Boneh-Lynn-Shacham) multi-signature.
This FBFT PoS setup makes Harmony's consensus stand out from other sharding-based blockchain, most of which utilizes PoW. It is safe to say that Harmony has a faster and more efficient consensus than all others. The "Consensus of the Century!".
The staking aspect of this consensus mechanism is again another blockchain community breakthrough; it one which effectively combats the centralization commonly experienced by PoS based blockchains. In fact, the consensus mechanism has been nicknamed EPoS (Effective Proof of Stake) because of its degree of effectiveness in alleviating centralization challenges.
Combated Centralization Effective Proof of Stake
Whoever stakes the most have gets the chance to be a blockchain validator on the harmony blockchain (1600 seats (4 shards * 400 seats) available) - this is generally the Proof of Stake Protocol. Also, the general proof of stake protocol requires that the validator who stakes the most, gets rewarded the most. Unfortunately, there's a fundamental problem of centralization associated with this protocol whereby "the rich gets richer" and gets control.
Without neglecting important factors such as delegation and block rewards compounding, Harmony's Effect Proof of Stake (EPoS) protocol solves this fundamental issue of stake centralization as well as provide an alternate way of block rewards distribution.
Harmony introduces a formula which rewards validators in proportion to their effective stake which is basically the validator's actual stake limited by upper and lower boundaries determined by the median stake.
The protocol also reserves penalties for bad actors on its blockchain. The slashing mechanism is a whip on the back to deter bad behavior on Harmony's blockchain. See more details about Harmony's EPoS Here
Lowered Load Networking
Harmony's objective to be as buoyant as possible to accommodate whatever developers and users throw at it does not end with its undisputed consensus mechanism built for sped and efficiency. The wonder that harmony is can be better seen if we consider how lightweight harmony is. The blockhain reduces its own self-weight on the blockchain network making enough capacity for the dapps which will be built on it.
Using the Kadmeila-based routing inspired by RapidChain, Harmony evades the complexity of normal gossip broadcasting thereby significantly reducing overall network load in its sharded blockchain.
In addition to the above, to increase its network performance, Harmony also integrates erasure code (it encodes communicated data with it) into its broadcasting mechanism which significantly lowers network load on the broadcast sender, adopts RaptorQ fountain code to ensure low latency transmission of packet data, Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE) to enhance node reach and industry-standard Host Identity Protocol Version 2 (HIPv2) to minimize application-layer service interruption as nodes change IP addresses.
Attack Resistant Double Chain
Harmony raises the difficulty level of attacking its shards by implement two kinds of chain which inter-operate - The shard chain and the beacon chain.
The shard chain is independent; it processes and validates transactions relevant to itself. However, it communicates with other shards to extend its utility. Harmony utilizes the shard-driven cross-shard communication category to limit the communication cost on the network to a considerable level.
The beacon chain is also a shard but with special purposes. In addition to processing transactions like other shards do, it is saddled with the responsibility of generating the random number which is used to assign nodes into shards and the responsibility of accepting stakes from "stakers". The beacon chain is an important shield of protection for the shard chain as it strengthens the security of the chain via its communication with it.
All features stated above are neither far-fetched dreams nor fictitious notions because as at June 28th, 2019, the mainnet of the Harmony network was launched; with about 600 nodes split between 4 shards and more than 150 transaction validators, making the Harmony network one of the 15 most decentralized network in the world.
Taking no chances, the network is already being subjected to a stress test by an experiment on the network named Panagea. Panagea which could be interpreted to mean borderless environment is an experimental game on the Harmony network for EVERYONE to come onboard the Harmony network, interact with it and earn rewards while doing so. It is a 3-phase experiment with the following goals;
- Test network core protocol milestones and updates.
- Set-up, prep and onboard nodes ready for the mainnet.
- Recognition and reward of patriotic community members.
The Harmony network makes other PoS blockchains tuck their tails between their legs and quiver when they are compared with it. The improvements it brings to the blockchain industry and the world in general is by no means ordinary or by a few percent but rather in large orders of magnitude. Some of its comparisons with other blockchains is shown below. See full comparison here
Benefits of Building on ONE Foundation
- Borderless Capacity: The Increase of applications' activity on the network does not threaten the network. In other words, an app built on the network is scalable and has no borders.
- DApps Fort Knox: If fort knox is as protected as they say it is, then Harmony might just be that same security level fortress for DApps. The network is designed with ample amount of consideration given to security - even 1% attack possibilities were considered.
- Flash DApps: A network of speed is a network indeed and this is just what the Harmony network is, as it modifies its BFT, lowers its self-weight (network load), communication latency and allows for smooth and swift running of applications built on it.
- Dead Downtime: Given the very decentralized nature of the Harmony network and its network performance improvement features, Harmony DApps downtime is surely an occurrence that will never be recorded.
- Inexpensive Interactions: If there will ever be mass adoption of DApps, then there must be almost zero cost of interacting with it. This is an advantage Harmony provides with its blockchain, reducing its transactions cost to minimal levels relative to other PoS blockchains.
Potential Applications on Harmony
No one knows how long Cryptokitties (the crypto collectibles game) will live on Ethereum, considering how the massive users and activities it garnered clogged up the network, but one thing we know is, if it is to gather such high levels of interactions again, it will need a blockchain network. All other games like it as well. Animoca, the company behind Cryptokitties has realized this and has partnered with Harmony to develop a new citadel for Crypto Collectibles.
The above suggests that the Harmony network is competent enough to handle heavy-duty applications precisely games without any reduction in its performance or the game's. Harmony could be the new network for massive multiplayer online gaming which is provably fair, fast, secured and has real-world value.
Live broadcast is gaining mainstream adoption and its feature is being included in almost all social media applications such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and even on streaming websites such as Youtube. Content creators utilize this tool to further connect with their audience. Value is however missing from this interaction between authors and audience - injecting value, especially at real-time, is a feature which requires a high speed scalable blockchain network like Harmony.
Live tipping which will inject value into the interaction, will bring more engagement to both involved parties. It essentially brings to life on a virtual level singing in a park and getting tipped by passers-by. Harmony's setup allows it to handle all the multiple transactions happening within the short space of time without any glitches.
The decentralized finance ecosystem is the largest ecosystem alive on the ecosystem today. Even the network of the strongest blockchain technology companies trembles when a significant portion of the ecosystem's weight is placed on it. It has been reported that some cryptocurrency exchanges black out or crash during periods of high volatility when there's a high activity level on the network.
Most assuredly this will not be the case for the Harmony network. A report from the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world now confirms this; stating explicitly Harmony's ability to scale linearly as the activity levels on its network rise.
Cryptocurrency exchanges, digital assets lending and borrowing platforms, Betting Platforms etcetera will all find a home in Harmony to increase their probabilities of success as they eliminate the network-level problems such as high transaction fees, low transaction speed, insecurity and "inscalability".
Use Case: Rex the Guitarist
Rex would always be in the park singing so passionately as he played his guitar, so happy he looked as he did that many would think that he owned already a house and a car.
In an open spot with a good view he sat, dressed up like a cowboy - he was always in his jacket and his hat.
One or two pennies the passers-by did drop, but all put together did not amount to the funds he needed to shop;
He needed more audience and sincerely he was running out of time and patience.
His debts he needed to pay and his needs could not wait another day.
One evening of a fateful day, as he left the park in sweat and in dismay.
One of the audience suggested that he goes live on a virtual level, using an app called LiveShow. This app had been built on the harmony blockchain and had all the features of live broadcast with it as well as some tipping features. He had tried doing his stuff on a virtual level before but all he got were likes and "flying hearts". He wasn't sure how this would make any difference, he wasn't sure there was anyone who would actually tip him on this digital level or if it was possible at all.
He gets on the platform, sets up a good background to Live Broadcast and even in the first trial he could get the amount of audience he got and that amount of tip. He was sure he even met on this app some of his physical audience on the app who tipped him more. On this platform Rex built a solid audience and got the funds he needed in short time.
The speed of the Harmony network allowed for the live-broadcast and the real-time tipping. The App LiveShow allows anybody to start a live broadcast, it requires a dogged network which will not be slowed down by high levels of user activity. Users on the app can move to any category on the app to view any Live performance on that category - which could be of course more than one.
Every blockchain's lifeblood is its native coin and Harmony is no different from this. The ticker symbol for Harmony's currency is ONE and there is a total supply of 12,600,000,000 ONE. Out of this supply 24.3% is the initial circulating supply, 21.8% for ecosystem development, 16.9% is vested for 4 years for the team. The launchpad sale tokens was 12.5% of the total supply. $5 million dollars was raised during its launchpad on Binance at a price of $0.003175 in BNB.
ONE can be exchanged already for other cryptocurrencies in major exchanges such as Binance (and Binance DEX), Kucoin, Gate.io, Bitmax, Coinhako and other exchanges. It is currently a BEP2 token and will be migrated to the mainnet soon (less than a month).
The Harmony team is an exception collaboration of experts both in academic research and global-scale engineering who have a vision "to scale trust for billions and create a radically fair economy". Led by Stephen Tse, the 12-man team of engineers and academicians in Silicon Valley is grounded in several niches such as AI, machine learning, blockchain, VR, compilers etcetera.
Most of the team members have years of experience in these niches and have worked for top notch companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon hence it makes sense to think that they know what it means for a technology to be global-scale which is what they will deliver with Harmony.
The realization of the opportunity the network provides has led to the creation of partnerships by many blockchain based companies such as Matic, Taxa network, Everstake and a host of others.
Conclusion: The Consensus of the Century
The scalability issues of Ethereum is no longer news to everyone in the blockchain academia and its clogging up constantly screams "Be Prepared!" Not only for the Ethereum network halt but also the commencement of a new blockchain network era - the era of shard speed. This was suggested by the blockchain genius himself, Vitalik Buterin, as he is also concerned about the saturation of the Ethereum network as well. Harmony arrives just in the time of need - a friend indeed. Haha!
Scaling a trust network for billions of people with its leading edge design features of a fully sharded FBFT EPoS blockchain, Harmony will provides a network efficient enough to be linearly scalable as more persons onboard the network.
- Harmony Website
- Harmony OnePager
- Harmony WhitePaper
- Harmony Medium Blog
- Harmony Telegram Group
- Harmony Twitter
- Harmony LinkedIn
- Harmony Instagram
Thanks for Reading!