Over the years, the way we expressed our emotions has changed. It started with cave paintings, but over time we learned the art of sound and began to express ourselves by speaking / singing, then writing, recording the podcast and now videos.
We are now living in a world where the history of currency will be re-written, started with goods exchange, to using gold or silver, then paper notes, plastic cards and now cryptocurrencies.
It has almost been a decade since the anonymous person by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto coined the idea of a P2P electronic cash system ‘Bitcoin’ and we witnessed in the year 2017 the virtual currency and its underlying technology started going mainstream.
It was also the year when we started seeing how it would change the world around us and saw many new currencies introduced. This brought more competition and high push to launch in the market as soon as possible before their competition, compromising on the core values of blockchain (perfect examples, Ripple, EOS, TRON).
Harmony tries to solve the challenges in blockchain (scalability) by keeping the core values of blockchain (de-centralization) intact & ensuring security.
So how Harmony is different. Before we understand underlying technology in Harmony, let's first understand the challenges in the blockchain.
(1) Energy Consumption:
The Bitcoin network uses the proof-of-work mechanism to validate transactions made on the blockchains. This mechanism requires the computation of complex mathematical problems to verify and process transactions and to secure the network. These calculations require large amounts of energy to power computers solving the problems. In addition to the energy used to run the computers, a sizable amount of energy is also required to cool down the computers.
(2) Blockchains can be slow and cumbersome:
Once again due to their complexity and their encrypted, distributed nature, blockchain transactions can take a while to process, certainly compared to “traditional” payment systems such as cash or debit cards. Bitcoin transactions can take a long time to finalize, which means there are inherent problems in the idea that you will be able to use them to pay for a cup of coffee in your lunch hour.
(3) Security issue:
It is the decentralization nature which gives security to the blockchain, however, due to complex computation power these days miners pool to share their processing power over a network.
Mining in pools began when the difficulty for mining increased to the point where it could take months for slower miners to generate a block. The solution to this problem was for miners to pool their resources so they could generate blocks more quickly and therefore receive a portion of the block reward on a consistent basis, rather than randomly once every few months.
This creates and encourages centralization and risking blockchain core value proposition 0 decentralization.
In 2013, top 6 mining pools control more than 70% of overall Bitcoin hashing power. Having greater hashing power will allow someone to alter a record, they could steal a limitless amount of money.
So, how Harmony blockchain approach helps to solve these problems.
First Scalability. Harmony solves this challenge by introducing sharding at the state level in its blockchain. Sharding vastly improves scalability due to the fact that each node only has to carry a portion of blockchain data in order to complete a transaction.
Harmony approach of sharding at the state and network level, along with the use of Kademlia approach for cross-shard communication makes it the most advanced technique for scaling. This approach will get Harmony blockchain to reach up to 10 Million+ transactions per second. The test net already proves the concept viability and showed on trial run speed of 10,000+ TPS.
Secondly, Decentralization, as explained in the challenge section, due to low return time of weak miners, they are tilted towards joining mining pools which encourages centralization, hurting the core principles of the blockchain.
Harmony protects this by introducing PoS. With this, miners (or validators) don’t have to race for block award, instead, they stake tokens and depending on the number of tokens staked, they receive voting shares. Using PoS as validator registration is also energy efficient compared to PoW mining.
Also, the addition of beacon chain in Harmony enables miners (or validators) with minimum hardware specifications to easily download the node(state of the shard they join). Instead of downloading the whole blockchain history as with other blockchain projects, miners (validators) in Harmony only have to download block header information which is magnitude much less compared to downloading whole blockchain history.
Thirdly on the security. Sharding based blockchain projects (like Zilliqa, Quarkchain) which use PoW as voter validation process are prone to 1% attack as an attacker can concentrate its hash power on one shard and take control. The use of Proof Of Stake allows Harmony to easily & effectively (by using random-sampling) take away the attacker’s ability to concentrate hash power on the shard of their choosing, thus eliminating the 1% Attack vulnerability making it a secure blockchain project.
For more details, on Harmony
- Website: https://harmony.one/
- Telegram: https://t.me/harmony_one
- Whitepaper: https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/harmony.one-website/Harmony+Whitepaper.pdf (Highly recommended read)