Mainnet AMA Series: John Whitton Harmony’s Ecosystem Architect

Nikolaos Kostopoulos
Oct 25 · 9 min read

Welcome to the sixth post in our series of Mainnet Community-run AMAs.

The ongoing AMA series on Telegram is a four-months long event that features various guests from the Harmony community and leadership team. The goal of the series, which will run until December 2019, is twofold: to give our community an opportunity to interact directly with team members, and to give team members — especially those who operate largely behind the scenes — a chance to share their insights and offer the community a window into their work.

The most recent AMA took place with John Whitton, Harmony’s Ecosystem Architect. Over the course of the AMA, John fielded both pre-submitted and live questions from our community members concerning a variety of topics related to Harmony’s Layer 1 Infrastructure and our Technical Ecosystem Development.

Highlights can be found below as transcribed by our community managers:

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Hi Everyone I’m John Whitton — Harmony Ecosystem Architect — here to answer any questions you might have about what we’ve been working on of late.

Sonny | CM

Thanks for joining us John. Now, let’s see where those swap and SDK folks are…

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Let me start by giving you an overview of what I do

I head up Harmony’s technical partnerships and Ecosystem Design. This means I help people build on our platform and build out the tools and the supporting applications for Harmony’s Ecosystem.

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Also here are a couple of links to some of the stuff we’ve been working on (some of which you’ve probably already seen.

Harmony’s story

https://harmony.one/story

My Linked In Profile

https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnwhitton/

Some of our technical docs

https://docs.harmony.one/home/

https://apitest.harmony.one/?version=latest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x4MkqIJdpU&t=

Tools for Validators and Nodes

https://explorer.harmony.one/#/

https://nodes.harmony.one/foundational-node-playbook/non-validating-nodes

https://nodes.harmony.one/harmony-status/release

EPoS

https://medium.com/@gupadhyaya/epos-for-improving-decentralization-cd88e0bcf743

DEX being build on Harmony

https://medium.com/harmony-one/harmony-partners-up-with-vite-labs-to-launch-harmony-markets-a-dex-supporting-tokens-issued-on-a33857c034

Harmony’s Social DAO

https://medium.com/harmony-one/introducing-harmony-dao-maker-2bdc88b13f9b

Devcon5 Deep Dive

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1BE98GUYez18QqUuuMizt3PYXmUXezaO2xkwv76xr5cE/edit?usp=sharing

Token Swap

https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnwhitton/https://twitter.com/RongjianLan/status/1181057555717443586

C10NU7 | Community Member

Recently there have been so many new partnerships announced. What should we be expecting in the future? and to be honest I know swap will bring more utility however, the community need to know more about this.

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

@C10NU7 Having just arrived from Devcon5 where we presented in Tokyo and Osaka, we met with over 20 partners who we’re looking at engaging to build out the ecosystem.

C10NU7 | Community Member

What Dapps could be built with the harmony ecosystem in the future?

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

So right now the Teams have been focused on enabling wallets and integrating with exchanges (yes token swap). Coming up next is Effective Proof of Stake which will allow Delegators to stake their ONE tokens to validators.

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Also, we’re partnering with Carbon.money to provide Fiat Onramps and a stablecoin on the platform.

Jacek | Community Member

John, do you have some building blocks already, or should we start from scratch, from a new developer point of view? I’m thinking for example about onboarding for new dapps.

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

This is one of the key building blocks for other defi applications around payments and lending.

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Also had some good conversations around Gaming in Osaka and we’re working with the Animoca team (really great talented team) in building some prototypes around gaming and Non-fungible tokens.

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

So for developers, we’re EVM compatible which means that you can use the tools you're familiar with straight away.

The best place to start is here https://docs.harmony.one/home/developers-1/which-one-are-you/h2o

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

You’ll see we’ve got a sample repo to deploy an ERC20 contract on Testnet which can be done in under a minute. We’re using Truffle for the development and I have some ongoing conversations with the team about enhancing their tooling for more Harmony specific use cases.

Jacek | Community Member

Do you expect some established project to join Harmony ecosystem, or you mostly focus on new ones to be built having a scalability requirement as the most?

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

@Hnefatafl a little of both we’ve signed up a couple of partners who are building new apps upon us and I am working on some building blocks around Stable Coins (like Maker Dao), trading protocols (Like Uniswap and 0x) and then reaching out to some defi protocols around whether they are a good fit to build on Harmony

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Regarding the scalability question, obviously it helps that harmony is “faster and cheaper” and that will help adoption for any of the existing Ethereum use cases. What’s going to be exciting is as we look at how faster settlement time and higher transactions per second can enable new use cases and we’re exploring this now with partners

CryptoNL | Community member

And word on these ‘partners’ and when they will start utilising the Harmony Blockchain?

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Hey CryptoNL we started with wallet providers https://docs.harmony.one/home/api/math-wallet (Like SafePal and Math Wallet) and they are up and running

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

My guess now (which may change) is that Carbon.money will probably be the first Application on Mainnet (stable coin and fiat on-ramps) they have already built and deployed on testnet and we’re actively working with them

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

The other partners are probably earlier in the discovery/design stages with the partnerships having been announced but still some heavy lifting to do on the build-out

CryptoNL | Community Member

Thanks for the update. Does it seem that the crypto community is either ‘missing’ something or is it simply too early? If you are able to welcome these developers on the mainnet, what is keeping Harmony from going all out in marketing and partnership?

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

e.g. the is announcement from viteLabs https://medium.com/harmony-one/harmony-partners-up-with-vite-labs-to-launch-harmony-markets-a-dex-supporting-tokens-issued-on-a33857c034

CryptoNL | Community Member

We can have the best product in the world. But without use cases… #adoptioniseverything

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

CryptoNL — I agree on #adoptioniseverything

I think we’re just at the turning point now when we can bring on developers and use cases.

Up until now, we’ve been working hard on ensuring the security and performance of our network.

Now that we’ve had mainnet up for 100 days with 1000 nodes and 4 million blocks we’ve reached confidence in our technology.

The Effective Proof of Stake is another huge enabler for a solid validator community this month ensuring that we remain secure and decentralized.

I’m currently working on the tooling for our developer community and the other building blocks like smart contract standards (think OpenZepplin), protocols (think makerdao, unisawp, 0x) and then onboarding applications (think lympo, animoca, dydx, compound and the like)

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Also we’re doing a lot of work on privacy which I think, combined with our speed and scalability, will open up some really interesting use cases where users can own their data and selectively share this with others as they choose.

CryptoNL | Community Member

The popularity of POS is not unanimous. Projects like $NXT / $ARDR / $IGNIS have had POS running since 2013 and this project seems to be dying from lack of interest. What’s your opinion on that?

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

So I think POS is and specifically, EPos https://medium.com/@gupadhyaya/epos-for-improving-decentralization-cd88e0bcf743 is a good design for blockchain protocols in general and harmony specifically

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

That being said I don’t think that just having POS equates to adoption. The heavy lifting around security, privacy and scalability still needs to be done as well as building out a robust ecosystem with the key building blocks for developers and users which is what I’m working on now.

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

And when I say I — I mean the Harmony team as a whole are driving these areas (once again our focus has been on ensuring our protocol is robust, stable, secure and scalable) and we now ready to bring on the apps 🙂

Edmund

Big if true. So quick question why can’t mainnet launch before these dapps are integrated

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Hey @ddantes71 Mainnet is launched https://explorer.harmony.one/#/ we’ve been up for a little over 100 days and have produced a little over 4 million blocks

Edmund | Community Member

The fact that the token swap hasn’t occurred implies a full mainnet has not been launched

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

@ddantes71 — I’d agree with the “throttled” mainnet — in that the focus is building a robust network (1000 nodes) and we’re in the top 15 decentralized blockchains. Whilst the number of blocks (over 4 million in 100 days) is high we’re still ramping up the transaction volume in those blocks and tuning our gas models.

Edmund | Community Member

If it’s a full mainnet, my question is why can’t I see my tokens on it? Why are they still bep2

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Hey @ddantes71 it’s a good question I think R.J has given this update on the Swap https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnwhitton/https://twitter.com/RongjianLan/status/1181057555717443586 as you’re aware we launched on Binance before the protocol was built and deployed and we’re working on integrating the Binance Platform and migrating the tokens onto our native platform. This is ongoing with Binance.

CryptoNL | Community Member

so what do you see as the first ‘marketable’ product where an underlying blockchain adds value for the ‘consumer’ of that product?

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

CryptoNL good question on what we solve for who. I look at Harmony as a fundamental building block which can be used by many verticals. The work now is onboarding these verticals. We’ve made good progress in gaming (Animoa, Quidd), health incentives (Lympo) and Defi (Carbon.money and vitelabs). I think payments including cross border payments will be another use case we’ll focus on. Also as I mentioned earlier as we focus more on privacy I think there’ll be more use cases around opening up financial systems to the unbanked.

Etienne | Community Member

That’s the killing feature for serious DeFi use cases to be implemented

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect @EtienneR yeah it really is. Without speed and scalability it’s impossible to support mainstream adoption and high volume use cases.

CryptoNL | Community Member

So there has been this talk about Harmony solving Ethereums problems. How do you see the relationship between the ‘tiny’ Harmony and the ‘huge’ Ethereum community?

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

CryptoNL Good question. First off Harmony’s newer and doesn’t have the “baggage” of building on older technology and moving a huge ship like ethereum which enables us to iterate and build out new functionality quicker. Having said that on the flip side Ethereum has a huge ecosystem with a lot of value stored on the platform. For the ecosystem specifically the developer community we can are EVM compatible so we can leverage a lot of the developer tooling and standards already built out. For the value storage I think we’ll do a combination of building out new applications and models on our platforms and building bridges to existing stores of value including ethereum and fiat systems.

Etienne | Community Member

Could you go a little bit more into details about privacy features and what use cases they would support in the near future ? (and a roadmap?)

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

@EtienneR we’ve been doing a lot of work on zero knowledge proofs, the tooling this enables and the use cases that they support. We like the work done by both Findora and Sendwyre. We’re heading off to CESC next week which has a focus on zero knowledge and will be sharing our research with leaders in the community https://cesc.io/

CryptoNL | Community member

Enjin’s founder, Witek Radomski for instance developed ERC-1155 on Ethereum to make the smart contracts even smarter. Enjin is working on a layer called efinity to solve the scaling and speed problem of Ethereum. However, it does seem like there is something broken in the design and in need of patching up, how will you be able to facility projects like that to run on Harmony?

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Here are some links which are also relevant to the use cases which we are evaluating for partnerships and protocols

https://blog.0xproject.com/compliant-peer-to-peer-trading-4dab8e5c3162

https://github.com/harborhq/r-token

https://github.com/TPL-protocol/tpl-contracts/

Metal bull | Community Member

What’s the news on blockchain partnerships to provide reliable oracles for DApps developers and smart contracts, is Chainlink still helping provide that infrastructure for harmony? Will this expand after mainnet launch.

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Hey @Metalbullz good question on oracles. We’ll be partnering and building them out as needed for the use cases (e.g. financial feeds for exchanges or fiat payments will probably be the first building blocks). Nothing is finalized as yet, but we had some good conversations at devcon5 and I enjoyed spending time with the band protocol folks and we have followed up calls this week. https://developer.bandprotocol.com/datasets/financial-mainnet.html

John | Harmony Ecosystem Architect

Great chatting with everyone — I need to run to a standup and ensure we keep on building. Look forward to speaking with you all again soon.

Harmony

To scale trust for billions of people and create a radically fair economy

Nikolaos Kostopoulos

Written by

Advising governments & interest groups on cryptocurrency & FinTech regulation in the European Union.

Harmony

Harmony

To scale trust for billions of people and create a radically fair economy

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