Harmony Becomes First to Combine Sharding and Proof of Stake

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  • Harmony has become the first blockchain project to successfully combine sharding with a proof of stake consensus mechanism
  • Developers celebrate overcoming “daunting technical complexity”
  • Sharding and proof of stake allows for scalability without compromising security

Harmony has become the first blockchain to combine sharding and proof of stake after successfully upgrading its mainnet on Tuesday. The announcement of the feat was quickly followed by further announcements from Huobi, BitMax, and Binance that they were supporting staking of Harmony’s ONE token on their platforms as another blockchain milestone was achieved.

Harmony ‘Cracks the Nut’ of Sharding and Proof of Stake

Harmony released the news via a press release and in-depth blog post, in which they spoke of the difficulty in combining sharding and proof of stake, stating that they had chosen to adopt the approach because of its “promise to increase transaction throughput and reduce cost, while preserving decentralization.” Despite the “daunting technical complexity” of such a task, to which Ethereum can attest due to their desire to implement such a methodology for Ethereum 2.0, Harmony has been the first to “crack the nut of sharding and proof of stake”, with many sure to follow.

What is Sharding?

Sharding is a method of allowing blockchains to scale while ensuring that privacy and security remain paramount. Sharding involves partitioning the workload across a peer-to-peer network so that each node only maintains information related to its partition, or shard, rather than each node being responsible for processing the entire network’s transactional load.

The data contained in a shard is still shared among other nodes, which ensures that the ledger is kept decentralized and secure – everyone can still see all the ledger entries, they just don’t process and store all the information.

Harmony’s proof of stake system is not in fact the same consensus mechanism that the blockchain world has known since Peercoin first operated it in 2013. Instead of rewards being based on token holdings, which they criticizes as being an example of ““rich get richer” economics”, Harmony operates a unique ‘effective proof of stake’ concept, which caps the rewards of large stakers and boosts the rewards of smaller ones.

Harmony Seeks Bigger Things in 2020

In the press release, Harmony CEO Stephen Tse said that, despite the breakthrough, the work was just beginning:

Now that we’re equipped with a battle-tested base layer, we will shift gears to pursue adoption with the same nonstop execution that enabled us to launch the first sharded PoS blockchain. Our scalability, speed and cost will enable use cases and user experiences that no other blockchain before us could.

As well as their unique staking method being integrated into top exchanges, Harmony can also boast staking partners who are top validators for networks such as Tezos, EOS, and TRON. 2020 looks to be a busy year for the project, with their roadmap targeting a reduction of the 8 second settlement time, a transition to community governance, digital collectibles, and more.