“April is the cruelest month”
T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland
The intention of Harmony has always been to become fully decentralized. A team from all over the planet collaborating on an open platform, borderless and censorship resistant. We never expected it to happen in April 2020. But so it has. The novel coronavirus has impacted business everywhere and we are no exception. We say goodbye to our office, we embrace distributed teams and we look forward to launching Open Staking on mainnet as a fully decentralized operation.
It’s fair to say progress has been slower than we would have liked as we complete the phases of our Pangaea open staking testnet program. This is partly due to engineering being forced to work remotely but also simply due to caution. April was marked by several high profile hacks with dForce alone relieved of $25 million dollars worth of assets exploiting well-known vulnerabilities. If ever there was a time to tread carefully and test to exhaustion, this is it. Building a secure, sharded blockchain presents many challenges for which there is no playbook and there are few best practices yet.
Nonetheless, the Eng team has delivered above and beyond all expectations this month. Number 1 project on coincodecap for several weeks, keeping company with the likes of Libra, Ethereum and Filecoin. Heavy-hitters with many multiples of our operating budget. RJ and his team have worked tirelessly, around the clock, fixing bugs, restarting the network, iterating constantly. Our extended community P-Ops deserve a special mention for providing support, feedback and assistance to new validators throughout this extended testing phase. We are incredibly grateful for your skill and tireless commitment to building the Harmony network.
One of the undoubted highlights of q1 2020 has been the emergence of Edgar Aroutiounian as a leading engineering voice. Both externally, via his forthright and passionate Twitter feed, and internally, shipping 6,500 lines of code in a single month, he has become an invaluable teammate and the embodiment of the team’s commitment to excellence. It’s hard to do justice to his work refining the codebase, trimming dead code, reducing overhead and shoring up vulnerabilities but we are incredibly proud to have him on the team.
Harmony’s unique consensus mechanism, Effective Proof-of-Stake lowers the barrier for smaller token holders to participate in the network and at the tail end of April we finally saw it in operation. The results were exactly as we’d anticipated. Delegators voted with their feet, moving to where the returns were the best, mitigating stake centralization and creating a dynamic, fair environment for everyone. Visit https://staking.harmony.one/ to go deeper or follow the discussion.
The team has been focused on shipping the phases of the Pangaea Open Staking Testnet. During April we moved from P1 to P3 and launched our Stake Heist hackathon on Gitcoin to expose vulnerabilities and battle test the network before mainnet launch. Watch my AMA with Gitcoin to gain more insight into our thinking for the months ahead.
The next big ENG milestone? Full implementation of Open Staking on mainnet.
Start testing Harmony staking as a validator. We are providing 1:1 setup service in this group https://t.me/PangaeaVolunteers. All you have to do is join, we’ll walk you through the rest!
Open Staking on Mainnet. This is the validation of our network and the proof that EPoS is a viable take on PoS. It’s also the starter’s gun for building meaningful adoption. While it might be tempting to look at other projects and be dazzled by “partnership announcements”, we have poured every resource into ensuring the technical foundations are tested and secure. Now we are ready to ramp up development of our ecosystem through developer grants, Defi Middleware such as stablecoins, oracles and portals and to attack the cross-fi opportunity we identified last year.
We’re often asked what problem we are solving with Harmony. Fundamentally, it’s trust. Trust in governments, media and institutions may never be restored. Decentralized public networks provide a genuine solution but we’ve only just begun scratching the surface of what that looks like in terms of finance, automation and algorithmically directed societies. Over the next few months we will be articulating the Harmony vision and mission in starker terms.
A post Corona world is one in which blockchain has a chance to cement its place as a legitimate mainstream technology. This is Day One for Harmony. The rest was merely the prologue.