Base Layer Blockchain Harmony Adds Staking to Open Up Validator Set

By May 19, 2020Ethereum
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Harmony is bringing in outside participants to strengthen its chain. (Credit: Pexels)

Harmony announced Tuesday that its mainnet has now incorporated staking, allowing users to earn ONE tokens for locking in their current holdings. Harmony is built to be a very fast base layer blockchain for transactions and smart contracts.

"Staking is the mechanism that will allow us to trust participants in our network without knowing them. Now that staking is complete, we can take a huge step towards decentralization by opening the protocol to the public," Nick White, a Harmony co-founder, told CoinDesk in an email. The blockchain is currently run by Harmony and trusted partners, but staking opens it up to broader participation.

Currently, roughly 5 billion ONE tokens exist. The protocol emits 441 million ONE per year, all of which will go to stakers. More details on Harmony's token-economics can be found on its blog.

Harmony announced raising $18 million to build its high-throughput sharded blockchain in April 2019. Like many teams, it raised money with a token that originated on Ethereum, but that transitioned to a standalone blockchain. The market cap of the blockchain currently sits at $15 million, according to CoinMarketCap.

There are 16 staking partners who have committed to work with Harmony on running its validations including Staked, Stake.fish, Blockdaemon, Everstake, InfStones and others.

Harmony believes that deploying staking is notable because it is doing so on a sharded blockchain.

"Staking itself is a frontier technology within the blockchain industry. Projects like Cosmos took years to design and build a secure staking protocol for a non-sharded chain. When sharding is added into the mix with staking, the complexity increases dramatically," White wrote. "Ensuring that such a system runs securely requires enormous theoretical rigor and practical engineering."

The easiest way to participate would be to join one of Harmony’s staking partners, however, the team encourages standalone staking. "We designed the protocol to require very little computing power and token stake to make staking accessible for more people and to encourage decentralization," White wrote.

  • A computer with two cores, 2 GB of memory and 30GB of storage and
  • 10,000 ONE tokens (roughly $30) to run a validator

However, because validators will initially be limited to a slate of 320 (actually 80 validators for each of their four shards), White expects the pragmatic minimum to run a validator will be something like $22,000 worth of ONE.

Stakers can be slashed if they appear to be trying to create a malicious fork of the chain. They are not slashed for missing votes but they can lose their role as a validator. Eventually there will be slots for 1000 validators on Harmony.

Staked ONE takes about 10 days to become liquid again, once the holder initiates unstaking.

"The launch of staking on Harmony is about the transition from permissioned to permissionless and from centralized to decentralized," White said.

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