Overview & History
Harmony is an open-source blockchain for building decentralized applications (dApps). It uses a technique called state sharding, which separates a chain into segments that process transactions and store data in parallel, to support fast transactions. Harmony currently supports a thousand nodes across four shards, which work to produce new blocks every eight seconds with finality (no threat of a competing fork). The project has plans to add more shards and support more nodes in the future. The protocol's Effective Proof-of-Stake (EPoS) staking mechanism allows token owners to delegate their holdings to network validators but aims to reduce the centralization of delegated assets. Harmony has a native token, ONE, that owners can use to stake on the network in exchange for block rewards and pay for transactions.
Harmony was founded in 2018 by Stephen Tse and co-founders Rongjian Lan, Nick White, and Sahil Dewan. All were infrastructure engineers who used to work at Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. Harmony launched its mainnet in June 2019 and open staking in May 2020. The team’s goals in 2020 include cross-border utility, decentralized development, and auditable privacy. The project designed a new version of Proof-of-Stake (PoS), which it calls Effective PoS (EPoS), on its consensus layer to provide Sybil resistance. EPoS allows participants to either stake directly or delegate their holdings to an active validator in exchange for block rewards. It also incentivizes users to delegate to smaller validators, thus aiming to reduce the tendency of stake centralization. Other EPoS components include reward compounding, double-sign slashing (to keep validators in check), and unavailability checking. Harmony raised an $18.3 million private round, a $5.5 million node round (led by Binance Labs and HashKey Capital), and a $5 million initial exchange offering (IEO) through Binance Launchpad. At present, Harmony consists of 1,000 nodes, with 640 managed by community members. The Harmony Foundation maintains the remaining nodes, but the organization does not collect any staking rewards. As the network progresses, the team intends to open up the remaining node slots to the community.
Mainnet Phase 1 (Mainnet Launch) Date June 2019 Type Network Launch The Harmony team launched the first mainnet version of its protocol in June 2019. This initial chain featured Harmony's Effective PoS system and staking rewards for a selected group of validators. Open Staking with permissionless validators was launched in May 2020 Mainnet Phase 2 (Open Node Operations) Date August 2019 Type Network Change Phase 2 of Harmony's mainnet roll out increased the node count from 600 to 1,000. It also expanded the number of nodes open to external (meaning non-Foundation owned) management from 151 to 320 validators. Pangaea Testnet Date August 2019 Type Testnet Launch Pangaea was Harmony's incentivized testnet, with 2,500 people signing up to run nodes. 56% of these participants were first-time node operators. Phase 1 launched in Aug. 2019, the final stage (Phase 3) concluded on May 8, 2020 Learn more: Harmony Keynote BEP2 to Native Token Swap Date January 2020 Type Token Swap This token swap allowed ONE holders to exchange their BEP2 or ERC-20 token for native Harmony ONE tokens. Open Staking Launch Date May 2020 Type Network Change The launch of Open Staking unlocked staking rewards for all participants.