Scaling trust for billions of people and creating a radically fair economy. Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Many blockchain enthusiasts hope that one day, the technology will make that possible. Among them are the creators of the Harmony Protocol. In today’s article, we’re taking a look at Harmony’s goals, governance and consensus.
So, what is the Harmony Protocol? Harmony Protocol focuses on creating a fast and secure blockchain for decentralized applications (DApps). The network aims to eventually build a fair economy for everyone, through blockchain technology. By creating an open network of nodes operated and governed by a large community, called Pangaea, Harmony hopes to achieve that goal.
Pangaea has volunteers and validators from over 100 countries that work together to run nodes. The goals of Pangaea are to test upcoming Harmony protocol updates and milestones such as smart contracts and resharding. It is also created to set-up and onboard nodes that are ready to jump into the mainnet and to identify and award community members who help to secure the Harmony network.
Before the open staking launch on the Harmony Mainnet. Pangaea went through phases 0,1, 2 and 3 on the Testnet. The third phase started on April 29th 2020, and lasted until May 10th. During this phase, delegators could join Pangaea and start earning while learning about Harmony’s staking model, wallets and staking dashboard. This campaign used Binance ID (KYC level-2) to distribute rewards. Validators could also sign up on this campaign separately.
Besides Pangaea being a wholly original and exciting concept created by Harmony, other aspects make this network so unique. The implementation of secure and random state sharding, for example, is proven to scale blockchains without compromising security and decentralization. Harmony divides both network nodes and blockchain states into shards, scaling linearly in machines, transactions and storage. Each shard has 250 nodes for a strong security guarantee.
Harmony has also implemented Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT) for fast consensus of block transactions. Moreover, Fast BFT leads to low transaction fees and 1-block-time finality in Harmony Mainnet. If you’re unfamiliar with PBFT, watch the video below for further explanation.
Harmony has introduced Effective Proof-of-Stake (EPoS) for network security and economics. EPoS reduces centralization and distributes rewards to thousands of validators. To support 100% uptime but fully open participation, EPoS slashes validators who double-sign and it penalizes elected but unavailable nodes.
Just as with traditional Proof-of-Stake, you can contribute to the network by being a validator or by delegating. Holders of Harmony ONE (native digital asset of Harmony) can delegate their assets to existing validators. Once tokens are delegated, a portion of the reward earned by the validator will be given to the delegator. Delegated assets are also vulnerable to slashing due to risks the validator takes.
Harmony is one of the first Mainnets to have a fully sharded PoS structure. Across the four shards in Harmony mainnet, blocks are produced every 8 seconds, and cross-shard transactions are finalized in 2 block times. There are 320 validator slots divided by 80 on each different shard. To validate new blocks and vote a ⅔ quorum of votes is needed to reach consensus. Validators can vote by bonding voting shares to them. EPoS allows staking from hundreds of validators; the unique, effective stake mechanism reduces the tendency of stake centralization.
- For more information on open staking in the EPoS ecosystem, click here.
So, what does Harmony’s sharding entail? Through sharding, developers in the blockchain ecosystem, try to increase the transaction speed of a platform. The developing team behind Harmony has taken it a step further and implemented deep sharding of the blockchain state.
The approach involves sharding on both the transaction as well as the consensus layers of a network. Because of the double sharding, the nodes can identify other nodes, which as part of the consensus-building process plays a role in the transaction possibilities. The parallel processing capacity and throughput performance of the platform improve as a result.
The native digital asset of Harmony is called Harmony ONE. The asset is used for participation in the network for staking, payments and various other activities. ONE asset holders can earn block rewards and are granted voting rights for the governance system.
The current market capacity of the asset is $52,213,294 at the date of writing. The total number of tokens available is 12,600,000,000, of which 54% is currently circulating. Furthermore, 32%, which equals a little over 4 billion ONE assets, are engaged at the moment of writing, according to Stakingrewards. Additionally, Harmony ONE has around 6000 users.
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DISCLAIMER: This is not financial advice. Staking, delegation, and cryptocurrencies involve a high degree of risk, and there is always the possibility of loss, including the loss of all staked digital assets. Additionally, delegators are at risk of slashing in case of security or liveness faults on some protocols. We advise you to do your due diligence before choosing a validator.