Harmony Annual Letter
Dear Harmony Community,
It’s been a year. We’d like to reflect on our journey, express gratitude to this community and tell you what’s next and why we’re still deeply committed to Harmony’s mission:
To scale trust for billions of people & create a radically fair economy
Harmony is a fast and secure blockchain. We are a 12-person team in Silicon Valley with 7 engineers from Google/Apple/Amazon and 2 PhDs. Our extended team of 36 strongly aligns with the mission of scaling trust and open consensus for billions of people.
Every week since early 2017, we have organized a 4-hour gathering of entrepreneurs in the Bay Area — that’s how our team and community of partners has been growing organically.
We spoke at San Francisco Blockchain Week and won the Most Innovative Award at ETHDenver. Our investors like Qtum 帅初, UVA 李江 and Lemniscap helped organize many events for our tours in China, Korea and Vietnam.
Our 12 media partners including Deepchain and SNEK are positioning Harmony as a strong Ethereum 2.0 contender. Many mainstream press and our own documentary are broadcasting our broader social impact of secure data sharing and its economy.
Our 20 key partners include Animoca (with game assets like Garfield), Contentos (a content platform with 60M monthly users) and Timeless (a calendar-based service marketplace) are validating our value as a platform. At scale, Harmony helps businesses tokenize their assets and incentivize user engagement.
We’ve recently launched Harmony Lottery (to demonstrate our decentralized randomness) with hundreds of users on the first day. Our next app, Harmony Puzzle, will launch on Contentos aiming for 50k users in the first week, engaging our users daily for entertainment and skills.
Harmony also creates an open economy for data sharing. Businesses take years to form data consortiums such as ad exchanges and credit ratings. Harmony democratizes the value of consumers’ data while protecting their privacy.
Our token model is designed for sustainability and open governance. We allocate more tokens for protocol development and for ecosystem applications than for the team. Our node operators (about 100 in Q2 and 1000 in Q4) stake at 6% token inflation.
Harmony’s public network is operational and fully open source since Jan 2019. Our key innovations are state sharding and peer-to-peer networking. Our daily Github commits, 10 external contributors, 300 Discord members and $1M technical bounties showcase our deep belief in open development and open community.
In 2018 Q2, we raised a private round of $18.3M for 22.4% tokens at $82M valuation.
Founding Story & Core Team
Since 2017 many of Harmony’s founding team members would gather every week for hours in the tradition of Google TGIF to share world-changing ideas over drinks. We were all passionate about machine learning, then quickly blockchain, as they were technologies that could impact billions of people.
During these weekly gatherings, we discussed the huge potential of blockchain to create an open data economy, but that the ecosystem was held back by an inability to scale. With our depth of expertise from the big 5 tech firms, we felt compelled to build a blockchain that could support mass adoption and unlock the full promise of decentralization. That was Harmony.
We debated how to find product-market fit and build sustainable platforms on blockchain. We researched many technical approaches for scaling and security of smart contracts. We toured in Shenzhen and Beijing to understand the crypto communities and the entrepreneurial spirit in China.
The founding team has been full-time and on-site since 2018 June:
- Stephen: Google engineer, startup founder (acquired by Apple), UPenn CS PhD
- Nicolas: VR startup founder with $10M VC investment and 40 people, Math BS
- Alok: Apple Siri NLP engineer, Carnegie Mellon AI MS
- Rongjian: Google Search engineer, Maryland PhD candidate
- Minh: Google Voice AI engineer, Olympiad champion, UC PhD candidate
- Nick: Zeroth AI specialist, Stanford EE BS & MSc
- Sahil: Edtech startup founder, Draper Dragon, Harvard MBA, CS BS
- Eugene: Amazon/Blizzard/NTT networking engineer, CS BS
- Leo: Amazon AWS & Kindle engineer & manager of 8, CS BS & MSc
- Chao: Amazon NLP & fraud engineer, Math PhD
- Li: logistics startup founder, Global Education Summit organizer, GSV Capital
- Helen: DxChain PR Head, Bloomberg Senior Journalist, 第一财经周刊
Marketing & Community
We organically grew a global community to over 25,000 members, including:
- 5 community leads: Mary Dansker (Draper University mentor), Garlam Won (ICONIZ global partnership), 于忆 (Wuhan state-owned media journalist), Kevin Cheng (Cosmos designer), Robin Schmidt (filmmaker).
- 7 content strategists: Michael Spencer, Rohit Chatterjee, Ashvarya Kharoo, Misha Yurchenko, Michal Maler, Andrej Kovacevic
- 2 reward organizers: Sonny O. Azeez, Ahmed Dewanto
After a year of product building and mostly-offline community engagement, our marketing plan for the rest of 2019 includes:
- Flood content (project updates, partnerships, news articles, podcasts) across all channels to reach critical awareness threshold for Harmony’s brand in the market
- Leverage 20+ influencers and a reward program to drive viral engagement of our content
- Use our 11 global ambassadors to build regional Harmony communities worldwide, hosting events and translating our newsletters and whitepaper into 10+ languages
Technical & Mainnet Progress
2019/01 Devnet, Open Source and Whitepaper 2.0, detailing our architecture:
- State sharding: secure staking & resharding with decentralized randomness
- Peer-to-peer networking: optimal cross-shard routing, fast block propagation
2019/02 Harmony Testnet 1.0:
- Faster consensus using BLS multi-signatures & gossiping broadcast
- Node staking on beacon chain using smart contracts
- Secure resharding with Cuckoo Rule
- Robust peer discovery via libp2p bootnodes & Kademlia routing
2019/03 Harmony Testnet 2.0:
- Instructions for nodes on home networks with NAT Port Mapping Protocol (NAT-PMP), Port Control Protocol (PCP), and Internet Gateway Device (IGD) Control Protocol
- Deployment of Solidity smart contracts, demo apps such as lottery
- Full persistence with archival node, on-chain transaction storage
- Beacon-shard syncing, proof-of-concept Verifiable Delay Function (VDF)
- Hybrid ECDSA (cold keys for staking) and BLS (hot keys for block validation)
2019/04 Harmony Testnet 3.0:
- A network with p2p overlay using 1 beacon shard + 3 consensus shards
- Cuckoo-rule resharding at 10% reshuffle rate and auto-restarting nodes
- Genesis shard state, new nodes to stake, state sync for beacon chain
- Researching into porting zkproof prototypes such as zkDAI and zkERC20 to Harmony
2019Q2: Lottery/game demos, cross-shard comm, game of stakes, throttled mainnet launch
2019Q3: Kademlia and erasure code, fast state sync, WASM, full mainnet launch
2019Q4: Porting zero-knowledge proof dApps, production services for partners