Are We Decentralized Yet? One of the most asked question at present. We recently interviewed Sahil Dewan, Co-Founder of Harmony to get more information on the aspect of decentralization and Harmony’s journey into transcending the blockchain trilemma.
Harmony is a fast and secure blockchain. It tries to understand what privacy means in terms of human rights, product design, and the digital economy. The project vision of Harmony is Open Consensus for 10 Billion. The mission of Harmony is to scale trust for billions of people and to create a radically fair economy.
In 2018, Harmony started out as a startup. Its fundraising project managed to raise USD 18 million (seed) in April 2019, drawing attention from multiple investors such as Silicon Valley’s Consensus Capital, Hong Kong’s Lemniscap VC, and others. Later on, the Silicon Valley-based team raised some $5.5M from Binance Labs and HashKey Capital. Harmony is focusing on leveraging India’s rich startup ecosystem and increase blockchain adoption through Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and Cross border Finance (CrossFi).
The Harmony team comprises more than 30 members, with their expertise varying from engineering, academic work, and entrepreneurship. The key personnel includes Stephen Tse (of Google and Microsoft Research), Nicolas Burtey, Alok Kothari, Sahil Dewan, Rongjian Lan, Minh Doan, Nick White, and others. Harmony has no consensus without participation. Harmony team spends significant effort on the node campaign called Pangaea from more than 100 countries and most of them have never run a node before.
Sahil Dewan, Co-Founder of Harmony is a graduate of Harvard Business School, where he served as president of the blockchain and cryptocurrency club. He has worked at Draper Dragon Fund and advised several blockchain projects. Sahil founded FuturEd, an ed-tech startup that pioneered a mobile platform for alumni engagement and fundraising for over 100 educational institutions in India. He was also elected country president for AIESEC India, a youth leadership organization present in more than 125 countries.
Let’s dive into the interview question and answers we had with Sahil Dewan, Co-Founder of Harmony.
How would you describe Harmony.one in one simple line?
Harmony is a next-generation sharding-based blockchain that is fully scalable, provably secure, and low cost, that is working towards scaling trust and creating a radically fair economy.
What can be built on top of Harmony and what skill sets are required for the same?
Harmony is equipped to build any decentralised applications across various industry verticals. We enable developers to BUIDL anything from games to decentralised exchanges, powering AI Data Marketplaces, and other use cases that need decentralisation and a high throughput blockchain. Presently, we’re focused on enabling the creation of solutions in Decentralised Finance (DeFi) and Cross-border Finance (CrossFi).
How is Harmony different from other Public Blockchains?
Harmony addresses the fundamental issues of scalability in existing blockchains by combining the best research results and engineering practice in an optimally tuned system. At Harmony, we are not just thinking about solving for throughput performance (transactions per second), but we also care about the number of nodes that participate in the decentralised blockchain network. We are taking a full-stack approach to apply 10x innovations in networking, systems, and algorithms. Harmony is also an EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible blockchain that enables developers to deploy their Solidity smart contracts on Harmony.
As a layman, we have heard of Consensus Algorithms but what exactly is a Consensus Platform?
A Consensus Algorithm, simply put, ensures that a blockchain functions in a decentralised, democratic manner. A consensus mechanism ensures that all nodes are in-sync with each other and unanimously agree on the transaction that will appear on the blockchain.
“Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) is the property of a system that is able to resist the class of failures derived from the Byzantine Generals’ Problem.”Binance Academy
Harmony uses a version of the BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance) Consensus Protocols across a sharded network of nodes. This allows us to effectively sustain connection latency and enables our throughput to scale with the size of our network. Presently, we have 1,000 node-strong networks on the Harmony Protocol.
Harmony claims to be the first to enable decentralized coordination at Scale, where does the team stand right now in achieving this goal?
We have 1000 nodes on our network, spread across 70+ geographies. Our current community is more than 15000+ and is actively engaging in various community driven and governed protocol initiatives. The core-developer team of Harmony is spread across 8+ countries.
With thousands of seats, Harmony network allows far more market dynamics and participation than any staking blockchain. Instead of quadratic voting, or taking the square root of stakes, as in Ethereum’s experiment on radical markets, Harmony uses capping after taking the median of the stakers.
We see a lot of projects introducing Sharding and pipelining for scalability. So do you think these are the two perfect concepts to take Harmony.one to stand out from the rest, in terms of scalability?
Yes, Sharding is very difficult to implement and we are the first production ready mainnet network to implement a state-sharded network, which can scale to millions of transaction throughput.
What are the future plans of your organization? What part of the globe do you plan to expand your operations in the near future?
We believe in an open-platform (like Linux) approach, so our development should be decentralized, managed and governed by a distributed community and stakeholders. We’re excited to find adoption/use cases in Asian markets. We’re particularly excited about India, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Philippines.
With expansion in mind, do you focus more on the Investors community or on the Developers community?
In addition to expanding our developer community in India, we are focused on building relationships with the startup community in India. India has a booming startup ecosystem with over 50,000 startups that are solving everyday problems, and we believe that the Harmony Protocol will empower this community to create decentralised solutions.
The last question will be, what do you think about the future of Blockchain Technology and where do you see Harmony.one in it?
Blockchain Technology has the potential to change the world by adding democratic capabilities to technology infrastructures. It brings in decentralisation, accountability, transparency, and immutability into today’s data-centric societies. It has the scope to provide alternative solutions to existing legacy systems, leading today’s world towards a decentralised future that puts the power in the hands of the people who use its products. This is the progression of revolution in technology.
At Harmony, we’re all encouraged to sustain this revolution with blockchain that circumvents existing problems with the technology.
DECODING MINDS – a brand new series of interviews by Digital Notice to give you an insight into the projects straight from the Founders and the Team. Each article explores the real-world experiences and expertise of our guests to discuss their unique perspective on the project use cases, its challenges, its changes, and its prospects in the fiercely competitive world of Crypto and Blockchain.