As ICON builds out blockchain interoperability connections through its groundbreaking Blockchain Transmission Protocol (BTP) technology, it is useful for Iconists to become familiar with compatible blockchains. This article is the third part of a ‘BTP series’ in which we take an introductory look at the other blockchain networks that will be joining the ICON community. Be sure to also check out the other articles in the series:

Although development of BTP has not yet been finalized, a “lite” version of the technology called ICON Bridge will soon be launched, finally opening the doors to interoperability between ICON and other BTP-compatible blockchains. The first couple of blockchain networks expected to be supported are the above-mentioned Binance Smart Chain and Moonbeam Network. A number of other blockchain networks will subsequently be added, including Harmony.

Let’s take a look at Harmony and get to know what it’s all about.

What is Harmony and Why is it Great for BTP Developers?

The Harmony blockchain network is a Proof of Stake (PoS) smart contract platform compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Harmony’s proprietary cryptocurrency token is called ONE, and while its trading price is still low, it’s a strong market performer compared to competing smart contract platforms. A key feature of Harmony’s technology is that it can scale well while remaining decentralized — something many other blockchains struggle to accomplish.

Harmony is a fairly new network — most of its ecosystem is still under development. To help bolster adoption and attract new projects, Harmony recently announced it will be spending a whopping US$300 million from its treasury on new development projects and initiatives. While this is significant, it’s important to emphasize that ICON has also set aside a grant pool worth 200 million ICX to bolster BTP development. It’s unclear whether BTP project teams will be able to tap into both grant programs if they play their cards right, but the fact remains that there is a lot of funding available for all developers looking to bridge Harmony with ICON.

Harmony’s speed and cost-efficiency make it a strong contender in the smart contract blockchain industry. Harmony combines a Fast Byzantine Fault Tolerant (FBFT) consensus protocol with random state sharding to achieve finality in just a single block, which takes about two seconds to complete and costs only around 0.000021 ONE in transaction fees — a sliver-sized fraction of one cent at current ONE token prices.

In fact, Harmony was the world’s first L1 blockchain to combine proof-of-stake with sharding on a mainnet. Their staking mechanism is called Effective Proof of Stake (EPoS), and it’s optimized to prevent any one node or group of nodes from being over-concentrated with tokens, which protects against single-shard attacks and promotes decentralization.

Harmony also excels at bridging to other blockchains, with existing trustless bridges already in place with Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain. Transactions are fast and — at least on the Harmony side of the bridge — hardly cost anything. The bridges have already brought a lot of traffic to Harmony from these other two blockchain communities, so the same might be expected for ICON once bridges are built.

A few of the most popular projects built on Harmony include (in no particular order):

  • SushiSwap: a popular Ethereum-based DEX, also launched on Harmony
  • ViperSwap: a DEX, AMM and DeFi protocol
  • MochiSwap: a DEX that supports both BSC and Harmony
  • OpenSwap: a multi-featured DeFi hub
  • Artemis: a multi-product DeFi platform
  • daVinci: an NFT marketplace
  • DeFi Kingdoms: an NFT game, DEX, liquidity pool, and marketplace
  • Crypto Royale: a browser-based play-to-earn crypto game with no up-front investment required

Who is Behind Harmony?

Harmony was founded in 2017 by Stephen Tse, a former engineer from Apple, Google and Microsoft. The company is headquartered in sunny California. While their core team is smallish, the blockchain is secured by well over 100 nodes around the world and they have nearly 400 thousand followers on Twitter. Given their generous funding initiative to attract new projects, it can be assumed that this community will only keep growing in the future.