6,700 STEEM (1,300 USD)~ Sponsored Writing Contest: Harmony
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Up to date information on Harmony.One:
What is Harmony?
Harmony is a fully scalable, provably secure and energy efficient blockchain based on sharding technology. Harmony is a PoS blockchain that is capable of linear scaling, enabling unprecedented transactions per second with the ability to easily scale as the network becomes heavily utilized.
Harmony scales decentralization to a completely new level. It is the most decentralized form of staking powered by optimized sharding technology.
On June 28th, Harmony launched their Mainnet, the first fully sharded POS blockchain. The Mainnet had 600 nodes, making it one of the top 15 decentralized networks.
The Phase 2 version of Harmony's mainnet aims to add 4 shards with 400 nodes each, for a total of 1600 nodes. Mainnet Phase 2 also includes a token swap to the native ONE token, the staking smart contract, and token transfers.
Harmony Press Release: Phase 2
The Harmony Dream Team
The success of a project is directly dependent on the team behind it. The Harmony team consists of experts in both business and engineering who are driven by their passion for a better world.
Each member of this well-rounded team has extensive experience in academia and industry.
Some of the greatest projects around today are built by individuals who fall into the category of “CryptoMafia”. These are top level executives that leave tech giants, academia and Wall street to bring revolutionary products to the market through their experience, drive, passion and expertise. The team at Harmony is full of just that - a group of talented engineers and business minds that have already proven their exceptional abilities on the market and have come together to build something greater!
Blockchain Technology Comparisons
A sharded PoS system is the best tradeoff between speed and fair consensus. Harmony is the best examples of such a system. Here is a comparison of some other projects utilizing sharding technology.
Comparison Table to other leading PoS blockchains:
Modern Scalability Issues: Saved By Harmony
Scalability is a very real issue faced by many existing projects. Those that aren’t already facing scalability issues, may very well face them in the near future as their projects continue to grow.
Cryptokitties is one such project that amassed massive attention and a large userbase only to clog up the entire Ethereum network.
The company behind Cryptokitties is Animoca. Animoca has chosen to partner with Harmony in order to collaborate on the development of a new ecosystem for crypto collectibles!
DeFi (Decentralized Finance)
As reported by Binance, DeFi has become one of the most common use-cases of the Ethereum network. DeFi consists largely of cryptocurrency lending and borrowing, which results in high transaction throughput requirements. Ethereum is running into scalability issues again as the network’s transaction speed simply cannot keep up with the demand. This is expected to only get worse as the industry continues to grow.
Harmony can support the growing needs of the DeFi industry in a way that is both resource efficient and secure. With Harmony’s sharding, they are able to scale linearly as the demand of a project grows, ensuring that they won’t be bottlenecked by their infrastructure.
Harmony: The Revolution
Harmony is a sharding based blockchain that has produced various, significant breakthroughs to current challenges in the distributed ledger industry.
Harmony approaches problem-solving by applying 10x innovations at the layer level rather than searching for 10% improvements. The achievements of Harmony's protocol are as follows:
1 - Full Scalability
- Harmony shards both the processing and the record keeping (state) of the network
- This means that the storage requirements are less restrictive
2 - Secure Sharding
- Harmony’s Beacon chain uses a DRG (distributed randomness generation) process
- Unbiasable, unpredictable, verifiable, scalable
3 - Fast and Efficient Consensus
- Harmony is PoS and more energy efficient than PoW alternatives
4 - Adaptive-Threshold PoS
- Staking requirements are adjusted based on total staking volumes so that:
- Malicious stakeholders cannot concentrate on single shards
- The threshold is low enough to allow participation for small stakeholders
5 - Scalable Networking Infrastructure
- Harmony can propagate blocks quickly within shards or across the network
- Cross shard transactions scale logarithmically with the number of shards
- Every new shard gets you 1, 10, 100... more transactions instead of 5, 10, 15...
6 - Consistent Cross-Shard Transactions
- Cross shard sharing happens via direct communication
- Atomic locking provides references to ensure cross shard consistency
Sharding is the process of dividing a database’s computational responsibilities into smaller segments (called shards) which individually carry out their tasks, making the total burden of computation smaller.
This means that instead of tackling large computational tasks, they are broken into smaller chunks which are easier to process.
Harmony has built its system on both industrial and academic developments. From the Zilliqa network, the industry learned to shard. From academic papers, state sharding was conceived, which remedied the storage bottleneck of the Zilliqa protocol and foresaw the attack vector of corrupting single shards over time.
Harmony has learned from both industry and academia in developing its own linearly scaling, and provably secure sharding scheme.
Within Harmony are two sorts of chains: a beacon chain and multiple shard chains. The beacon chain is an identity register derived from a randomness generator. The shards on the other hand store separate blockchain states and process transactions. This is all built on a PoS system where some minimum number of votes is the threshold for security against malicious actors. Votes are accrued based on the amount of Harmony ONE held.
Randomness In The Sharding Process
Randomness-based sharding is the style of sharding that Harmony, and other industry and academic leaders, have determined to be the most secure (other set-ups include location-based and centrally-controlled sharding schemes). In randomness-based sharding a random number is mutually agreed upon to determine the sharding responsibilities for each node. The agreed upon random number must be: unpredictable, unbiaseable, verifiable, and scalable.
Harmony combines a plethora of solutions from projects like Ethereum 2.0 and papers such as Omniledger and RapidChain to adapt a solution with the various strengths of its predecessors. These solutions focus on computing, proving, sharing, and securing the information related to the randomness of the numbers generated for the assignments of the nodes.
Epochs: Sharding Time Intervals
On the Harmony network, an epoch is a time interval in which the sharding conditions are fixed. When one epoch ends and a new one starts, the sharding conditions are changed. This acts to further secure the network.
Proof of Stake Sharding
Every voting share (which is underwritten by a Harmony One token) allows its respective staker to cast one vote. Security is maintained by keeping malicious stakers to less than 1/3 of the of the voting shares in any shard. Harmony has developed an adaptive threshold system to guarantee the security of the network. By Harmony’s calculations, this system is completely fault tolerant if less than ¼ of the entire network is malicious; which is quite conservative in preparing for a worst-case scenario.
As today, competitors like Cosmos the TOP 10 validators hold more than 50% of the total staked tokens, while EOS has only 21 committee seats- constituting them highly centralized.
Harmony will adopt EPoS, a mechanism that elects the highest ranked validators based on stake as the committee. Specifically, for every epoch (~ 1 day), the top 1600 stakers will obtain the 1600 seats (4 shards * 400 seats) and become the validators across the shards. Once the epoch changes, the new rank of stakes will determine the validators for the next epoch.
Personalities like Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum), Zaki Manian (Tendermint), Gawin Wood (Parity Technologies), Alex Skidanov (Near Protocol) have been among those that provided publicly feedback
You can find more information here: https://medium.com/harmony-one/introducing-harmonys-effective-proof-of-stake-epos-2d39b4b8d58
After an epoch is over, the validators that remove their stake are expelled from the network. Those who stay will receive new voting shares for the next epoch. These new shares are randomly assigned to other shards that have more voting shares than the median of the entire network; then some constant number of all shares will be redistributed to shards that have less than the median of all voting shares. This means that Harmony’s shards do not have to reset themselves from scratch every time an epoch has ended, and the computational requirements will be reduced by some factor related to the number of participants that choose to keep their stake in the network for the next round of consensus. This further synergizes with the concept that high stake holders will want to (1) ensure the system runs optimally and (2) maintain and increase their stakes as more epochs progress and the network develops.
The Beacon Chain
One of Harmony’s differentiating factors is the protocol’s beacon chain. It is one of two chain types, the other being the multiple transaction-processing shard chains of the network. The beacon chain itself processes transactions like the standard shard chains, but it also has two other key functions.
- Generating the random numbers that influence which validators are assigned to which shards
- Accepting the stakes of the stakers applying to becomes validators
The validators of the beacon chain are determined in a similar process to that which determines the validators of the other standard shard chains.
This mechanism forces malicious actors to corrupt both the shard chain they are targeting, and the beacon chain. Malicious actors are forced to do so that other nodes can be influenced to believe that the new fake block is one that has met the randomly determined requirements that the beacon chain is responsible for presetting. Using the central beacon chain as a relay method between shards also decreases the computational burden that would be present if each shard had to communicate to all other shards independently.
State Sharding On The Blockchain
In the Harmony network, each shard chain maintains its own account state. A user can have multiple balances contributed as voting shares to different shards; these balances can move across shards at the user’s behest via cross-shard transactions.
Smart contracts are handled differently, and can only be held within the shard in which it was created. For applications that require more throughput than a single shard can handle, Harmony has built a decentralized application developer which can create multiple instances of the same smart contract on different shards and appropriate a subset of traffic to each of them as is deemed fit. These instances do not share the same state, but can communicate with each other across shards.
Pangaea - A Blockchain Experimental Zone Turned To A Massive Success
Pangaea is an experimental zone for thousands of people to interact with the Harmony network, test the limitations of our technology and have lots of fun while earning rewards. Pangaea is created purely for experimental purposes. It will have its own currency for playing and bookkeeping.
It’s the first live experiment - showcasing great prospect for participation on the development of the Harmony network. Within the first 24 hours the initiative had the following:
- 138 Nodes up & running already
- 1283 Signups
- 77 Countries
- 356 Keys Downloaded
The goals of Pangaea:
Test Harmony’s upcoming core protocol milestones and updates such as staking smart contracts and resharding, on a network of all external nodes
Set-up and onboard a vast number of nodes, ready to jump into the mainnet, through collective knowledge building and competitions
Identify and award community members who help secure Harmony network and are willing to go the extra mile by taking on leadership roles in our validator community
More about Pangaea and how you can setup a node in our experimental zone: https://docs.harmony.one/pangaea/
- Harmony Website
- Harmony OnePager
- Harmony WhitePaper
- Harmony Medium Blog
- Harmony Telegram Group
- Harmony Twitter
- Harmony LinkedIn
- Harmony Instagram