ICO Analysis: Harmony

As of today, there are no blockchains in existence that can scale to the needs of 5G technology and the internet of things. According to this Huawei article, to meet the requirements of 5G you need 100 billion connections, 1 ms latency and 10 Gbps throughput.

New startup, Harmony Protocol, aims to be the first to meet these requirements by redesigning the public chain with top performance and physical locations, which will scale blockchain to 10 million transactions/second and 100-millisecond latency, and at no more than a 0.1% fee.

Let’s pause here. A lot of people are about to skim over the rest of this analysis, thinking it’s just another ICO promising the world. And to be honest, few of us are technical enough to know if what Harmony promises is doable. What I can tell you after looking deep into this company is these guys are “THE REAL DEAL HOLYFIELD”, and this project has the “potential” to be a top 5 token for all of crypto.

Harmony will try to bring 1,000x speed and capacity to the next generation of the decentralized economy, enabling open marketplaces for 10 billion people and 100 billion devices. They plan to do this by proposing linear scaling over network nodes and machine cores using OmniLedger and Rust. These innovations together will bring a 1,000x breakthrough to the scaling transaction rate.

Omniledger Byzantine protocol is a secure, scale-out, decentralized ledger via sharding. It currently does 13,000 tx/sec and 1.5 sec latency with 1,800 hosts.  The protocol has the following principles and optimizations for scaling.

  • Atomic shard commit: Each shard uses O(log n) multicast tree-based BFT to unanimously accept cross-shard transactions with O(1)-size coordination.
  • Gradual transition Sybil resistant identities to maintain liveness when swapping. A sliding window from a fixed permutation to ensure ⅔ honest majority.
  • Pruning checkpoints State blocks for storage and bootstrapping against Byzantine DoS. Multi-hop, collectively signed back -pointers, 100x space savings.
  • Parallelizing blocks Acyclic graphs to capture transaction dependencies transitively. This divides each shard into groups to replace faulty nodes with a view-change.

A few of the most interesting features Harmony will offer are Location Oracles, Decentralized Maps and an AI data marketplace. These things will allow new innovations to move from imagination to reality, including:

  • Community content: Long-tail features, incentivized games, #pokemom, augmented reality and IoT w/ GPS data.
  • Smart cities: Autonomous vehicles-, ~1,000 self-organizing swarm robots with driven mission.
  • Privacy: Preserving Multiparty computation, #deletefacebook, homomorphic encryption.
  1.  Location Oracles: Nodes must be able to independently verify an oracle’s consistency so that it can effectively serve as authenticated data feeds. It is a challenge to integrate smart contracts with oracles that serve as authenticated data feeds. The team studied Crux: Locality-Preserving Distributed Systems for optimizing routing and for exposing network topology. This can take the GPS signals of mobile or IoT devices as proof of location in applications.
  2. Decentralized Maps:  Maps for geocoding and points of interest can be a showcase for decentralized applications in the real world. A good starting point for building decentralized maps on Harmony can be augmented reality games with incentives like Pokémon. The competitive advantage of decentralized maps is the long-tail, community-specific content. For example, a school can mobilize all of its staff to map out its buildings and playgrounds in a day; any student or organization can then build games and events on top of the location data without coordination.
  3. AI Data Marketplace: Harmony will also serve as a high-volume data marketplace and optimize its machine learning performance. It will follow blockchain-based machine learning marketplaces to build a new decentralized economy based on data.

Harmony also explores the design space and the scaling of smart contracts. It designed a new programming language called Min, and built a prototype compiler to demonstrate its ease and security, It compiles Min directly to machine code, eliminating the common dependencies of libraries or system tools. Currently, the compiler bootstraps itself in x86-64 instructions and supports development in Mac OS. In an unpublished repo Min also compiles to Java VM without any third-party tools.

The company has the following message:

“Computers automate tasks, Internet delivers information, smartphones bring mobility at almost no cost. Harmony will bring the next revolution of the decentralized economy to the masses, in which enforcing transactions and contracts is essentially free. Harmony will enable disintermediation of trust where anyone can create businesses without a central authority. For example, all 10B people can vote on a bill in 17 minutes; or, organization resources can be efficiently re-allocated every second.”

Token

The token model of Harmony aims to build a sustainable platform with help from decentralized developers and aligned investors, balancing the long-term commitment of development with the tiered incentives of investment.

The distribution is as follows:

  • 40% Community and Developer
  • 28% Foundation and Research
  • 20% Sales and Floating
  • 12% Founder and Team

For details on token lockup periods and incentives check out page 20 of the whitepaper.

The use of proceeds are outlined below:

  • 40% tech development of protocol platform
  • 20% Community Engagement and developer programs.
  • 15% Business Dev, Marketing
  • 10% Operations, Equipment, Cloud Servers
  • 10% Collaboration with Academic Research
  • 5% Legal, Finance

Team

The team is the reason we decided to run this analysis early before all the info was available. Readers need to know about this stacked group of elite techies.

Stephen Tse: is the project founder. His past experience includes: research at Microsoft Research, senior infrastructure engineer at Google, principal engineer on search ranking at Apple. He founded the mobile search Spotsetter with institutional venture capital; Apple later acquired the startup.

Alok Kothari has experience in deep learning models for natural language understanding at Apple Siri. His research paper won the best data set award at ICWSM 2013.

Rongjian Lan is an infrastructure engineer for Play Store at Google. He has published more than ten academic papers on spatio-temporal querying and map-based visualization. He is the co-chair of ABC Blockchain Foundation with 100+ engineers from Google, Facebook and LinkedIn as members.

Hakwan Lau is a Rhodes Scholar that specializes in neuroscience and machine learning. He was an associate professor at Columbia University and has published 90+ papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Trausti Kristjansson, whose previous experience includes stops at Microsoft Research, IBM Research and Google Research, founded full-stack startups and led PhD engineers at the top of their field as an Engineering Director.

Team member Bruce Huang served as engineer lead at Microsoft for seven years, a director at Alibaba Cloud and at Credit Ease. Later, he was the CEO of Madailicai, a top peer lending company in China.

Nicolas Burtey founded a VR video startup in 2012 that grew to 40 people and raised $10 million. Orah served the needs of thousands of professional content creators in 70 countries by selling GPU-driven live stitching software and 360° camera.

On top of that, Harmony has six extremely impressive advisers/collaborators. Check them out here. Below we highlight two project collaborators:

Verdict

I’ve watched more than a few conspiracy theory videos on YouTube. I know about Bilderbergers and The New World Order. This team has Illuminati written all over it. Hakwan Lau is a Rhodes Scholar for shit’s sake.

Hakwan’s latest science paper was called, “What is consciousness, and could machines have it?” At Harmony, he is exploring the connection between probabilistic consensus protocols and brain communication. He’s also studying “privacy-preserving modeling of mental patience’s data on blockchain.”

The whitepaper lists Harmony Protocols’ closest competitors; EOS valued at $14 billion, Zilliqa valued at $700 million, Hashgraph at $300 million, Thunder $100 million, Dfinity $100 million and Kadena at $12 million.

These valuations show just how important scalability is to the market. It’s everything right now.

Harmony has yet to announce its hard cap. Word on the streets is that it will be around $40 million. That’s massively less than the rest.

Risks

  • The token model is unsettling. Twenty-one billion tokens is a massive number. They do not give details on the utility uses of the token yet. It looks like there will definitely be staking nodes which means inflation. -1.2
  • A good question in their Q&A section was, “If OmniLedger is 13,000 tx/sec, how does Harmony make the leap to 10M tx/sec?” The answer: “Our further boosts to 10M tx/sec might come from: 100x more nodes (including light clients), 10x network (1Gb and 20ms world round trip with backbone relay), and 10x manycore graph processing.” So in order for Harmony to scale like they say they can, it will require community node participation. The more nodes go onto the chain, the faster it will transact. Growing their community to that scale will be very tough. -2
  • They aren’t doing a public ICO as of right now. So far they raised $18 million in a private seed sale. The whitepaper only mentions this in regards to further sales: “2018 Q4- Raising $?M as the final private token presale”. -1
  • No Telegram or community yet. Its still early, but still – they collected seed money already. -1

Growth Potential

  • Protocols that host DApps do really well. This one has innovative Location Oracles and Decentralized Maps. +4
  • They designed their blockchain with the 5G network in mind. The sky is the limit if they become a major player in 5G blockchain protocols.+2
  • A subproject of Harmony is a new programming language for writing smart contracts in an easier and safer way. Memory management requires enormous development effort or it dominates run-time cycles. According to the company, “Min’s innovative type inference automates ownership annotations in a region-based memory model, so code remains at a high-level abstraction without the complexity of a garbage collector.”+1
  • They plan on integrating the following aspects of a consensus protocol: scripts and contracts, fairness and efficiency (anti-pooling, proof of useful work, proof of stake), security and privacy (multi-signatures, attack models, verification) and off-chain and edge clients (Lightning, IoT)+1
  • This 2018 roadmap/chore list is strong. +2
  • Team is absolutely outstanding.+3

Disposition

This is a crypto investors wet dream. A team of ex-Apple and Googlers building a protocol for DApps that promises to scale the Decentralized 5G Economy to 10 billion People. Its a shame they won’t let the public buy into the sale easily. Guess we have to wait.  7.8/10

Investment Details

Featured image Courtesy of Shutterstock.

Author:
Joshua Larson is also known as the "Bullshit Man" for his ability to spot it a mile away. Avid ICO researcher and contributor. Former professional poker player/backer. Spent 10 years analyzing hand history, stats, and player data. Discovered blockchain in late 2016, and never looked back. He now uses his analysis skills to investigate ICOs full time. What a perfect match, because in today's crazy world of ICOs, information, passion, and diligence = dollar bills!