As you may have seen, we’ve partnered with Harmony to launch our trust infrastructure on their blockchain: UTU and Harmony Partner to Launch Trust Infrastructure on the Harmony Blockchain
We invited Sahil Dewan, co-founder of Harmony to discuss what the Harmony team is building and how we’ll work together. UTU CCO Mike Chan was the host.
Learn more about the Harmony protocol, how they are tackling the scalability issue in public blockchains and the exciting partnership that’s happening with UTU.
Q1: Please begin by introducing yourself, your background, and how you got into crypto.
A1: [Sahil] Sure thing. I am one of the co-founders at Harmony. I am originally from India and was previously running my own startup in the Ed-tech space. I moved to the US for an MBA in 2016. Since then I’ve been following the blockchain and crypto space. 🙂 I am a Computer Science Engineer by training, so it was always cool to understand this new cutting edge technology before it became popular!
I was leading the Blockchain Club at Harvard and decided that I wanted to stay in crypto for the foreseeable future, because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness a new revolutionary technology, much like the .com era, but possibly bigger. Yeah, so I met Stephen, the founder of Harmony over a casual happy hour, he told me that he wanted to solve the scalability issue of public blockchains and had already onboarded great PhDs and engineers to build the infrastructure, and I just couldn’t say no! Ha, so that’s how it all started at Harmony.
Quickly about Harmony — It’s really the ETH2.0 architecture to scale public blockchains, but already on mainnet for close to 2 years. Harmony is fully EVM and ETH tooling compatible and ready to welcome all sorts of dApps. I’ll pause here 🙂
R1: [Mike] Super cool origin story! Thanks for that!
Q2: So let’s build on this intro to Harmony. Can you tell us more about why it’s great as a scaling solution, and some metrics around its performance?
A2: [Sahil] Sure thing. So Harmony is a layer-1 blockchain, which means it has its own set of decentralized and distributed validators to confirm transactions on the blockchain. We have been able to create a sharded blockchain network which has 1000 nodes across 4 shards. Transactions get finalized in <2 seconds. So imagine, any application — payments, games, etc can all give a rich user experience where millions of users can participate without waiting for too long or paying high gas costs. We are also one of the first Proof of Stake networks in production. Right now we have close to $500 Million staked in the network, which is a good amount of economic security for the network.
We’ve also had great growth in our wallets and transactions on the network recently, clocking more than 2M transactions and 50k wallets
R1: [Mike] Wow, those are amazing numbers and growth, congrats on that!
Q3: What are you focusing on now and what’s on your roadmap for the next few months?
A3: [Sahil] Now any developer who is familiar with Ethereum tooling, or any user who is using Metamask to interact with Ethereum dapps can start playing with applications on Harmony. Our big focus is to turbo start adoption via DeFi applications, NFT marketplaces and bring in the next 1M users into crypto via Harmony’s applications.
We invite developers to deploy their applications on Harmony without worrying about transaction fee or latency. Basically we want to help Ethereum applications scale.
In addition, we’re super excited about the multi-chain world. We are building cross-chain bridges, already live with Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain.
And of course, not to miss, we’re keen to integrate super cool and smart solutions like UTU’s APIs to enable more DeFi applications on Harmony.
R3: [Mike] The scaling issue is such a massive problem, and our community has definitely felt the pain, with Uniswap being our most active exchange.
[Sahil] Exactly, one you try out any of the Dexes on Harmony, using the same metamask wallet, you’ll see the 10x difference in User experience — instant transactions and almost negligible transaction fee.
Q4: Can you dig into what kind of DeFI and NFT apps are being built on Harmony now? What’s getting traction?
A4: [Sahil] sure, our latest project update gives a good summary: Binance Bridge, Community DEXs, Fiat Gateway, March Update
We’re seeing great traction on the Horizon Bridge with more than $10 million assets moved from Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain, Some early Decentralized exchanges like Viper and Mochiswap are getting great traction. Also our community recently launched daVinci NFT marketplace which had more than 500 artists minting digital art NFTs.
R4: [Mike] Cross-chain is such an important initiative as well, great to see how much progress you’ve made there.
[Sahil] Yes Mike, we at Harmony are big believers of a multi-chain world. As infrastructure engineers, we feel the need to bridge these chains so abstract away the complexity for the end users.
Q5: Can you talk about the partnership with UTU and how we’ll work together?
A5: [Sahil] Absolutely! So far, the first phase of DeFi applications reduced the systemic risk by overcollateralization of assets — Maker, Compound or any kind of lending/borrowing uses this. The root of this is that we lack data sources to ‘trust’ users credit-worthiness.
With UTU’s novel approaches to solving this issue, we envision a world where users don’t face the burden of overcollateralization before participating in any borrowing/lending activity. With the UTU Trust API and Oracle infrastructure, DeFi applications can really create a more effective and scalable suite of products and services for end users.
So, If I need to borrow money ($ONE) from Mike, as long as Mike has info on my creditworthiness through the UTU Trust APIs, he can lend me money ($ONE) without asking me to fully collateralize my loan. 🙂
R5: [Mike] We agree! 😉 We love what DeFi has done to democratize finance, but there are still so many hurdles to overcome. Harmony is solving the scaling and tx fee issue, and we’re solving the trust issue!
I think you may have a little more $ONE than I have, haha
[Sahil] Well said Mike! Haha
At this point Mike opens the AMA for the entire group chat to ask their questions on the UTU Telegram.
Q6: How will the partnership be carried out forward between UTU and Harmony? What will we see during this time?
A6: [Sahil] We will see developers of DeFI lending applications on Harmony start to use UTU’s Trust APIs and oracles to better assess the creditworthiness of the end users.
Q7: Is $ONE the first to use sharding? Because $ZIL also uses it. What’s the main difference if any? Also Harmony and UTU, are you guys working on the NanoX compatibility?
A7: [Sahil] Yes, ZIL is a great project too. Harmony does State Sharding and was PoS from the beginning. I believe ZIL was PoW initially and now has transitioned to a combination of PoW and PoS. Harmony is also fully EVM compatible, where ZIL has its own Virtual Machine and contract language.
Ledger Nano S already works for storing/sending Harmony assets. NanoX compatibility will be out soon.
Q8: Can you tell us how Harmony might help UTU go cross-chain? Is that something you provide for other protocols that you integrate with?
A8: [Sahil] Absolutely. Harmony plans to be the hub, connecting users and assets across multiple chains. Developers that use UTU on Harmony will get access to users and assets from multiple chains like Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain since we have bridges with all these blockchains.
Q9: Have you guys thought about other chains as well like Dot to aggregate with them in the future?
A9: [Sahil] Yes, we already have a bridge with Polkadot on Tesnet: Harp bridge is live on testnet and needs you
Next up, we’re going to bridge with ATOM, BTC.
Q10: Why is this technology being so undervalued right now? Having a team of geniuses? Its intrinsic value I feel is far away.
A10: [Sahil] We have a lot of building to do and hopefully our products and platform will enable the next million users to jump into crypto. We are confident about our roadmap and let the market decide for itself!
Q11: This partnership between Harmony and UTU, do you guys feel there is going to be a bull run soon in both coins? I also read in the partnership announcement that you were working on cross-border finance projects. What’s that about?
A11: [Sahil] Yes, we think cross-border payments is a huge problem that can be solved by scalable public blockchains. We’ve already done loads of research in this area. For 2021, here’s our cross-chain finance roadmap: Harmony’s 2021 on Cross-Chain Finance | by Stephen Tse | Harmony
Q12: Can you tell us a little bit about the advantages integrating UTU will give to developers building dApps using Harmony?
A12: [Sahil] Developers can actually build new novel and innovative ways to design lending/borrowing algorithms. Right now, everything works based on overcollateralized pools. But if developers can trust UTU APIs to determine a user’s creditworthiness, then loans can be priced more efficiently.
That’s the end of the AMA. We hope you enjoyed the read. Stay tuned for the next one!