Boundaries of Human Persistence

A story of how Harmony pushes through in building an Open Consensus Protocol for 10 Billion People

Jack Chan
Jack Chan
Sep 22, 2019 · 6 min read
Courtesy of “Ready Player One”

The Harmony team is a growing and exciting journey with major developments every day, week and month. Being a witness at the fringes, it has been an exciting journey. As I continue to be in awe on how the team continues to push forth with its vision to build a consensus protocol for the masses, their story is truly an inspiration to many.


Who’s behind Harmony?

In reality there has been a lot more involvements from a larger group of new engineering hires, product management, sales & marketing, interns and a growing community of followers, validators and soon-to-be-expert blockchain operators. There’s a write up with a larger list of contributors to Harmony below:


Harmony goes from Zero-to-One in One Year!

I recall receiving the first draft of Harmony’s vision in April 2018 and attending the launch party a couple weeks after, toasting to the days leading to when Harmony’s vision was first realized.

They’ve since went heads down and pushed through the vision, ideating, designing, building, hiring and hustling. It was amazing to watch their progress on a monthly and sometimes weekly basis. By May 2019, right around a year of its inception, the team launched the $ONE token via Binance’s Launchpad!

A total of 1.575 Billion $ONE tokens were distributed based on Binance’s Launchpad using a stake of BNB tokens holdings by the exchange’s account holders.

Courtesy of Binance

The Head of Marketing at Harmony, Garlam Won, wrote a demonstrably detailed piece on Harmony’s Airdrop on Binance DEX here, which furthered their vision on spreading the awareness of Harmony’s vision, decentralizing the ownership and increasing the future utility of the Harmony protocol.


What are Harmony’s Staking and Incentive Design?

Courtesy of “Ready Player One”

The following article written by Rongjian Lan describes in detail the Staking Mechanism and Token Incentives of Harmony. It’s under construction starting with testing the consensus protocol amongst the masses, followed by token transfers, etc. It’s an impressive vision and design to build a fault tolerant blockchain database. Check it out.

Highlights from RJ’s write-up:

  • The plan was to launch with 400 validators on the MainNet
  • Validators of the MainNet is currently limited to Foundational Nodes
  • All validators get a share of the 30 ONE tokens per block
  • An epoch is roughly one day, 16384 blocks are produced every epoch, one block is produced approximately every 5 seconds
  • New Validator Leader is picked every 40 blocks, leaders get up to 15% bonus (4.5 ONE tokens?)
  • Goal is to have thousands of small validator instances running at launch

Fun Facts

  • Harmony Protocol is a blockchain implementation with state sharding
  • Applies the Fast Byzantine Fault Tolerance (FBFT) consensus algorithm
  • There’s a Block Explorer at https://explorer.harmony.one/
  • The team has a lockup period until January 2020 where it vests monthly over a 3-year period (see the Token Release Schedule)

Who’s Supporting Harmony?

A slew of angel investors and private equity funds have invested in Harmony. One of the vehicles supporting Harmony is via the operation of Foundational Nodes which truly helps decentralize the ownership as well as operations of the Harmony One blockchain, including folks from Figment Networks and KysenPool.

TL;DR — In the end, due to the popularity of the program, the genesis block supported 150 Foundational Nodes instead of just the previously planned 100. The number of actual nodes was 600, with 450 nodes operated by Harmony in order to help seed a healthier blockchain while outsiders gain operational excellence. Over time, Harmony plans to reduce the dependence on the core team’s nodes to transition over to the community. To be fair, the nodes run by Harmony were also throttled to allow rewards to be mostly awarded to Foundational Node operators on a best effort basis. They later ran a Pangaea program (see below) much like Polkadot’s Kusama canary program by having quick iterative turnarounds for fixes and frequent network upgrades — to fail fast and recover quickly.


Where has Harmony been?

The question is more like where has Harmony NOT been? The team has been spreading the word to nearly all corners of the world, primarily focused on blockchain friendly nations and Asia. The community of supporters have been echoing their developments as well, with over 70K Twitter followers (at the time of this writing) and nearly 14K members in the Harmony Community Telegram channel.

With the recent launch of a Beta network called Pangaea, word has been spreading even quicker. That’s merely a symptom of their vision. The main goal is to really test the consensus protocol across a wider geographic reach of an operational network. The ramp up to 1,000 node operators became more real over the days and weeks after its initial phased launch. Foundational Node operators begun participating to help answer questions, almost like a superfan of support staff, on Telegram and Discord channels, to help push the node count to new levels. This phased approach allowed for experimentation on features, blockchain consensus performance scalability and byzantine fault tolerance.


What’s Next?

The jury is still out on what the result will look like and there’s one thing for sure — the Harmony team is still pushing super hard. They got a few things right, such as automatic upgrades and fast block confirmations. And they’re correcting the few things that are noteworthy of fixing. The journey isn’t easy and they’ve always bounce back from any issues, any outages, any data corruptions, and anything else that comes their way.

One thing for certain, they are pushing the boundaries of possibilities. The boundaries of human persistence. The boundaries of network performance. The boundaries of the blockchain consensus protocols. As the team always chants — ONE chain to rule them all!

GET READY, welcome to the world of Harmony ONE!

Courtesy of “Ready Player One”

DISCLAIMER: The author is the Head of Blockchain Research at KysenPool. This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

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Kysen Technologies

Proof of Stake blockchain Validator and MacroEconomic Insights supporting @cosmos @terra_money @Ripple_XRP1 @harmonyprotocol and @CardanoStiftung

Jack Chan

Written by

Jack Chan

Engineering away at Web Scalability and Blockchains

Kysen Technologies

Proof of Stake blockchain Validator and MacroEconomic Insights supporting @cosmos @terra_money @Ripple_XRP1 @harmonyprotocol and @CardanoStiftung

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