Harmony is a blockchain platform focused on the development of decentralized applications (DApps). Like other new blockchains, such as Polygon or Solana, Harmony offers higher scalability and a better consensus system than the Ethereum blockchain.
Through a sharding structure, the Harmony blockchain is more secure and faster in decentralized application development. Harmony’s goal has been from the beginning not to separate from the Crypto Trilemma.
Let’s see a little more of the Crypto Trilemma.
What Is The Crypto Trilemma?
While it is a topic that has been talked about quite a bit in the crypto community, it is good to see this concept again.
Trilemma can be graphed as an equilateral triangle, which has all equal sides. In each angle, we observe a concept and the sides are the tension between them.
The objective is to keep each angle and side equal in size. We achieve this if each concept, or angle, holds equal importance.
The blockchain ideal tells us that the trilemma should be:
The above analogy leads us to think that none of these concepts should be increased to the detriment of the other, so that the triangle maintains its shape, ergo the network respects the trilemma.
Now, let’s see how Harmony manages to maintain an equilateral triangle, giving equal importance to each of its sides.
Harmony Foundation Solutions
You have probably heard or read what are the proposals that, since the very gestation of the blockchain, the Ethereum Foundation foresaw to scale of Ethereum, in the project named “ETH 2.0”.
The modifications, if we mention those that are taking the greatest efforts by the development team and, will also be those that generate the greatest impact, are two:
- Moving from a Proof of Work network to a network with Proof of Stake consensus
- Use the Sharding technique, to divide the main chain of Ethereum into several sub chains, dedicated to specific topics
Harmony’s team, which debuted its network in 2019, has been working on these features since the beginning. However, they did not solely rely on the Ethereum Foundation’s research and instead enhanced and adapted these unique concepts to provide the best feasible solution.
Let’s delve into the workings behind the Harmony blockchain.
The Workings Behind Harmony
So far we know that Harmony is an EVM compatible blockchain, that organizes its structure through the Sharding technique and that it creates and validates its blocks through Proof of Stake consensus. All this, without losing sight of interoperability.
Now, let’s go in parts to understand how each of these solutions apply to the network.
Sharding In Harmony
When we talk about Sharding, we talk about a data management or handling technique. It is a way of distributing data storage. One could also say that it is a way of expanding decentralization.
Are blockchains, nevertheless, not decentralized? Sure, but consider the following scenario. Unique blockchains include Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Terra, to mention a few. Your entire profile is saved as a single string. When used in blockchain, sharding allows us to establish sub-networks called “shards” that contain special blockchain information.
What is Harmony’s approach to sharding?
We discover four separate shards. The “shard 0,” also known as the Beacon Chain, is responsible for connecting the data from the other three shards. The intriguing part is that each “shard” retains its own state, and when making “cross shards” transactions, the states are aligned, preventing “double-spending.”
How can sharding help to scale Harmony? Consider the following scenario. Each “shard” in Harmony has 1000 nodes that are distributed and assigned to it. This gives us a total of 250 nodes per shard, with 1,000 transactions per second being feasible in each of them.
Proof Of Stake In Harmony
The Proof of Stake consensus stipulates that the network’s blocks are created by individuals known as validators. These give their economic power through “stake” in exchange for participating from this location (blocking certain amounts of coins as a kind of guarantee).
Although in the network there is no sanction for “slash” or loss of stake, malicious actions are penalized with the loss of the validator position.
ONE: The Native Currency
Harmony has its own native currency, identified as ONE, which, as in any network whose consensus is Proof of Stake, fulfills the main objective of providing security.
We know two types of characters as a result of this. Those who delegate their ONE in exchange for a payment, and those who receive it and are responsible for validating and producing blocks in the blockchain.
The operation of this consensus is governed by 24-hour time periods. Validators who hit the 1,000 mark are randomly assigned to a new shard at the conclusion of each epoch.
Of course, the allocation to create a new block is also random and the Harmony algorithm ensures that even the validators with less economic power, and fewer number of staked ONEs, can participate in the network.
All of this results in a new block on this network taking just about two seconds to create.
Interoperability In Harmony
One of the cornerstones to the ecosystem’s continued growth is communication between decentralized chains. Harmony provides their users with a highly user-friendly bridge.
Today this bridge allows us to connect with the Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain networks. However, a strategic alliance with the Terra network allows us to use the latter’s bridges to connect both networks. In this way, UST, the stable coin of Terra, landed on the Harmony network with great adoption and wide utility.
Because an EVM-compatible network uses the same code as the Ethereum network, it is “easy” to launch apps that are already running on that network.
Developers of decentralized platforms, after making some adjustments, can deploy them on the Harmony network and benefit from the advantages of this network.
Without a doubt, the structure of Harmony increases the difficulty, compared to other compatible EVM networks that are literal copies of Ethereum, but the tools, such as SDKs for developers, facilitate this transition.
What does Harmony Have To Offer Us?
We now comprehend how the Harmony team was able to develop a blockchain that adheres to the crypto trilemma. But what does this network have to offer us as users?
Well, first of all, it is a blockchain that supports multi-purpose smart contracts. Therefore, it offers us from a growing DeFi ecosystem to NFT projects, even achieving combinations of both.
But all of this comes with a set of blockchain advantages, and these are:
- Transactions with a cost of $0.000001
- A new block every two seconds
- 1,000 validators
- 4 different shards
- Connections with other blockchains
- Established DeFi Platforms
- Security and decentralization
These are undoubtedly characteristics that any user, whether new or experienced, will appreciate.
Lastly, it is noteworthy that the team behind Harmony issued grants worth $300 million to those interested in building on the network.
Present And Future Of Harmony
Beyond the technological references, the fluid, cheap and fast operation of the Harmony network, it is important to observe who is keeping an eye on this network.
Giants of the DeFi industry begin to dump their platforms on the network. The arrival of Sushi Swap is a good example in this regard.
Connections with networks such as Terra make it easier for users to mobilize their capital efficiently and at low cost.
The future of Harmony will be tied to the strategic decisions made regarding alliances and attracting new users. Without a doubt, the future looks extremely promising for this blockchain.