Harmony vs competitors — How Harmony.one can provide better features

6 min readMay 15, 2019

Harmony provides an open consensus protocol for the decentralized economy.

A. Introduction

Harmony aims to provide a scalable, secure, and decentralized blockchain system that supports all kinds of applications, including data marketplaces, gaming, and financial transactions for billions of people around the world.

B. What is Harmony? Technology

Harmony is a high throughput blockchain project that aims to transform the world into an open marketplace, and it supports the coming decentralized economy by operating at an extremely high scale. The Harmony team aims to provide a consensus protocol over the open internet that can facilitate 10 million transactions per second (tps) with a 100-millisecond latency and a maximum fee of 0.1%.

The team aims to build a platform that operates significantly faster and cheaper than both Bitcoin and Ethereum, while also being able to operate at a scale similar to Google. As a result, they are set to rebuild the decentralized economy by focusing on and innovating a number of key existing components, including:

Transport network — Google’s UDP, Bloom tables, 5G mobile.
Consensus protocol — Byzantine committees, acyclic graphs, monopolist fees.
System tooling — Unikernels, multi-core in Rust, zero-copy streaming.

Google’s UDP currently powers 35% of its traffic (or 7% of the Internet) with 50% latency improvement, while the OmniLedger Byzantine protocol benchmarks to 13,000 tps and 1.5-second latency with 1,800 hosts. In addition, unikernels in Rust archives 10 million concurrent connections on a standard 96-core machine on Amazon Cloud, as a result the Harmony team feels that by employing technical innovations to structures that are already proven in research, and implementation they will be able to create a high speed and low-cost blockchain infrastructure that is able to support real-world industries.

Harmony has also outlined a number of crucial benchmarks which include a maximum transaction fee of 0.1%, to support new marketplaces of metered content or fractional work. Furthermore, as the proposed infrastructure for the world’s data firehose, their bandwidth must scale to 10 million tps to be able to process data from supply chain IoT devices, financial institutions, or energy grids. Most importantly, the platform must settle agreements within 100 milliseconds to be able to support instant reactions for autonomous robots or on-chain quotes in exchanges.

Their open infrastructure is a revolutionary high-throughput, low-latency, and low-fee consensus platform designed to power decentralized economies of the future. Their consensus protocol uses design principles such as sharding and pipelining to parallelize transaction processing. This allows to effectively handle connection latency and enables their throughput to scale with the size of their network.

Harmony addresses the problems of existing blockchains by combining the best research results and engineering practice in an optimally tuned system. Specifically, Harmony makes breakthroughs in the following aspects:

● Fully Scalable: Harmony shards not only the network communication and transaction validation like Zilliqa, but also shards the blockchain state. This makes Harmony a fully scalable blockchain.

● Secure Sharding: Harmony’s sharding process is provably secure thanks to the distributed randomness generation (DRG) process which is unpredictable, unbeatable, verifiable and scalable. Harmony also reshards the network in a non-interruptive manner to prevent against slowly adaptive byzantine adversaries.

● Efficient and Fast Consensus: Unlike other sharding-based blockchains that require PoW to select validators, Harmony is based on PoS and thus energy efficient. The consensus is reached with a linearly scalable BFT algorithm that’s 100 times faster than PBFT.

● Adaptive-Thresholded PoS: The threshold of stakes required for a node to join the network is adjusted based on the volume of total staking in a way that malicious stakers cannot concentrate their power in a single shard. Moreover, the threshold is low enough so that small stakers can still participate in the network and earn rewards.

Scalable Networking Infrastructure: With RaptorQ fountain code, Harmony can propagate blocks quickly within shards or across a network by using the Adaptive Information Dispersal Algorithm. Harmony also adopts Kademlia routing to achieve cross-shard transactions that scale logarithmically with the number of shards.

● Consistent Cross-Shard Transactions: Harmony supports cross-shard transactions with shards directly communicating with each other. The anatomic locking mechanism is used to ensure the consistency of cross-shard transactions

C. Competitors

Harmony is attempting to provide a blockchain infrastructure with a high potential for scaling and processing transactions at a high speed for a low cost. As a result, the project faces competition from platforms that seek to do similar things such as EOS, Cardano, Hashgraph, and Zilliqa. There are also projects such as High-Performance Blockchain, Dfinity, and Seele that are addressing similar issues, and Harmony is entering a rather crowded sector that will only continue to attract further participants. The team is adamant that their ability to execute efficiently and improve current systems such as OmniLedger will see them gain a competitive advantage over their rivals. They generally seek to master innovations already proven in practice and focus on the key components of transport networks, consensus protocols, and systems tooling.

Competitors’ valuations:

1. EOS, valued $5B.
2. Zilliqa, valued $172M.
3. Hashgraph, raising $120M
4. Thunder, valued $100M
5. Dfinity, raised $195M
6. Kadena, raised $15M
7. Algorand, raised $62M

D. Potential

Scalability was always a big issue in the blockchain industry. Many successful projects are providing different kinds of solutions (Zilliqa- 172M USD market cap, EOS- 5B USD Market cap, Hedera Hashgraph, Algorand, etc.). Harmony is purposing an innovative solution which combine a cutting edge technologies which were already tested in other products (Google’s UDP, Omni Ledger and Unikernels) which according to their statements could process up to 10 M TX’s per second which will allows them to be fast enough in order to process IoT devices, financial institutions, and energy grids. The project is being launched on the Binance launchpad. Binance is the leading institute in the blockchain industry, and so far all of the launchpad’s projects yielded great results.

E. Conclusion

The vision of Harmony is to build a next-generation public blockchain at high TPS with low latency by employing state-of-art technologies. However, given that on-chain DApps do not require 1 million-level TPS so far, the blind pursuit of the improvement of TPS is not recommended. Technologies involved in this project has not been implemented in the blockchain industry so far, which means it is Harmony’s team who will have to realize them one by one and build the overall architecture to integrate them together. This can be of great difficulty. In terms of team background, Harmony has organized a very strong team. Besides, according to information disclosed on Medium, Harmony has finished a seed round and will keep recruiting developers and operational staff, which largely increased its probability of successful implementation. However, as a whole, the public blockchain industry is witnessing a fierce competition with numerous peer projects, which makes first-mover advantage a decisive factor for this kind of project.


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