We did an AMA exchange with our collaborators at NKN.org on April 29 and 30th. In part 1, the Harmony team answers questions from the NKN Telegram community! The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Q: Can you give a short overview of the project?
A: Harmony is a fast and secure blockchain. We are a 12-person core team in Silicon Valley with 7 engineers from Google/Apple/Amazon and 2 PhDs. Our public network is operational and fully open source. Our key innovations are in state sharding (secure staking & resharding with decentralized randomness) and in peer-to-peer networking (optimal cross-shard routing, fast block propagation).
Q: How did NKN and Harmony meet each other?
A: We first met NKN at GSVlabs actually. It’s a startup co-working and innovation center!
Q: Harmony is launching its mainnet in June, what’s the roadmap for next 12–24 months?
A: In terms of our roadmap, our founder Stephen shared a lot in our recent Annual Letter which you can read below.
Harmony Annual Letter: To scale trust for billions of people & create a radically-fair economy
On the technology side, after mainnet, we will work on Kademlia routing and erasure coding to build a better networking layer. We will then look into cross-shard communication, WASM Integration. As Harmony cares a lot about privacy and data sharing, we will begin by on-boarding zero knowledge proof based smart contracts and apps. Meanwhile we will work and support our 20+ partners to build on Harmony.
Q: How are the TPS statistics with Testnet?
A: We are doing deep sharding, sharding on network, transaction, state and even block propagation. Our sharding mechanism is secured by unpredictable, unbiasedly, and verifiable randomness source. Our last test result is done with 40,000 nodes, 100 shards and reached about 114k TPS.
Q: What about enterprise utilization of your blockchain?
A: We’re working with quite a few (enterprise) partners who would like to deploy a fast and secure public blockchain to utilize the decentralized trust element. We’re seeing a lot of exciting use cases in the decentralized finance space, energy trading, healthcare and life science and of course gaming. We’re very open to these real world partnerships that help take blockchain’s potential to end-users and organizations.
Q: How is Harmony planning to reach consensus for 10B people?
A: Mainstream adoption of blockchain has been increasing. On Harmony’s side, we are increasingly talking about our technology and its uses and core value that we and our partners can deliver. Increased outreach, proper information/knowledge dissemination through blogs and good use cases is how we can reach many many people, and hopefully the world of 10B people. Here are some blog posts we have been writing about this.
1. We explain our networking story here:
Harmony’s Networking Story
2. Peer Discovery:
Peer Discovery in Harmony Network
3. Understanding Resharding:
Understanding Harmony’s Cuckoo Rule for Resharding
Q: What are the requirements to run a node (both tech specs and token number)? what kind of rewards are there for node operators?
A: You can read about our Foundational Node program (harmony.one/node) and the steps to run an external node on Harmony network (harmony.one/nodes). We’ve been modeling the staking rewards that validators can get and we’ve projected a 15% annualized return with very conservative estimates. Really excited about building the Validator community over the next few weeks — we have our first Validator community call on May 2. Join our Discord (harmony.one/discord) for all the details
Q: Is it possible to still apply or are all the 100 node operators exhausted already?
A: We’re about to close the program soon. You can signup on harmony.one/partners for the node program and we’ll reach out to you. Also join our Discord for more details .
Q: As I understand you are a general purpose blockchain, unlike NKN, which solves specific problem. Do you think there will be only one general platform like this that will rule blockchain space and the rest will be application specific blockchains or what’s your prediction about the future? Can Ethereum survive in your opinion long-term, 5–10 years from now? I’d love to know your opinion.
A: Yes, we are in the same space with Ethereum. But I don’t think there will be only one platform that rules them all. As even the general platforms have different characteristics. It’s all about trading in the security, scalability, and decentralization. Though Ethereum’s current technology is old, they will have their niche in the market in the future as they are still the longest tested blockchain, though it’s slow. Harmony will cover all the applications that require high-throughput, low-latency, low-fee category such as gaming, data marketplace, decentralized exchange etc. So I think there will be multiple general platform serving different needs.
Q: Are you in communications with any ethereum based projects regarding running on top of harmony?
A: Yes, we must! We want to demonstrate the speed/cost improvement of DAI and Stably.io stable coins on harmony. We’re hoping to port new prototypes such as zk-erc20 and zk-dai soon too. We’re heading to consensus NYC in 10 days, so will be chatting with many projects there
Q: Are you still running a token sale? Can you talk a bit about this?
A: We’re not running any public token sale. We just have a private strategic Node operator round where you can invest to run nodes for the harmony network.
Q: Also the nodes will provide the technical infrastructure to run the ecosystem, or they have a decision power like EOS node operators? Are you considering as the demand grows to run “voting” in regard to Node acquisition/operation?
A: Our plan is to have thousands of nodes powering the Harmony blockchain, the Foundational nodes are just there to bootstrap the network. We don’t follow the highly centralized system of EOS, in fact we’re quite the opposite. In the coming weeks, anyone can join as a node operator in the Harmony network. We’re just incentivizing the Foundational Node operators to help us bootstrap our network and do testing and tooling. Yes, on voting. the governance part comes naturally from our staking and mining participation. the mechanism of onchain/offchain voting is crucial to our commitment to open development, but not urgent at this point.
Q: Is any development being outsourced? If so which and by who?
A : We work with external collaborators, other open source developers. e.g We ran a gitcoin bounty program and are working with external collaborators to build tooling infrastructure for harmony. Check out our Technical bounties on harmony.one/gitcoin — we just added some new issues in the past week, with a some more coming up in the next two days
Q: Will all of Harmony’s code be open source ?
A: We believe in open development and company participation, have a look at our code:
Q : Can we think of Harmony opening a different centre’s for Blockchain education so that people learn more compared to online blog posts and online education. Do you think that this is possible with Harmony?
A : yes, we allocate the largest portion of tokens for our foundation, supporting long-term research and education.
Q: Will you run a token sale? It might be a cool idea to reserve some allocation to NKN community or token holders.
A: great idea! let’s explore that. we’ve been getting lots of help from bruce li and have high respect for NKN’s approach with Steve Wolfram. love to engage this community deeper!
Q: Could you be more specific on the partnership with NKN? what have you guys planned? how could you profit from NKN and vice versa?
A: Both projects are based in Silicon Valley so we interact and visit each other often. from NKN’s focus on telecomm to harmony’s on data sharing, there are much more biz getting into blockchain that an alliance between NKN/Harmony provide value of 1+1 > infinity.
Q: what do you see will be the actual business-side motivation of new partners to come onboard? What has been the motivation of current ones?
A: Many of the partners we have spoken to are excited about using fungible and non-fungible tokens, but on a higher performance infrastructure. They also want access to better data, and data sharing across an entire industry but lack mutual trust between companies. We are building a solution that allows access to use and build solutions from user data, but letting the user maintain sovereignty over their own data and preserve privacy using zero-knowledge proof.
Q: From a glance at the website, the team is technically strong, but I can’t see much regarding product management. Is there a ‘go to market’ strategy?
A: GTM is the hardest thing! we believe porting dai/zk-dai will give us a good start, while building revenue/biz with asset trading.
Q: We in NKN try to make NKN node to run on as many devices as possible so anyone could join the network and the network could become really decentralized. What are the hardware requirements for Harmony node? NKN you can run basically on anything, on linux it takes ~300 MB RAM most of the time and people run it on raspberry pis without issues or $5 and cheaper VPSs (some of mine run on servers just a bit more expensive than 1 dollar/mo).
A: That’s the most impressive thing of NKN making it so easy/cheap to deploy! and congrats on achieving the largest network size after btc/eth. For Harmony, we’re exploring light clients with fraud proofs and snark, but it’s still very early in the research phrase.We also try to lower barriers for entry, as we are PoS based and not PoW. So you don’t need specialized hardware to get in. We are exploring technologies to lower barrier even further.
Q: Have you thought carefully about proof of stake inflationary impact on price and node participants and finding that balance?
A: Our foundation is built with trust and culture of the community in silicon valley. Yes, we have a token model simulation based in python. we’ll announce soon the details soon.
Stephen (Harmony founder):
Bruce and Yulin, super grateful for you guys to help Harmony community learn about nkn, your founding story, network stacks and Wolfram! Can’t wait for the next chance of co-hosting more events together.
Bruce (NKN founder):
60min goes by quickly, that was a wrap. Thanks a lot for our community’s high quality questions, and thanks Harmony guests!