Trent Lapinski

@trentlapinski

WTF is Holochain

The Revolution Will Be Distributed

A little over a year ago, I found myself at a hackathon in a 3-story hacker-house across the street from Ocean Beach in San Francisco. There I discovered the technical solution that has the potential to free us all from the confines of today’s monolithic and centralized platforms and services.

In each room of the house different groups of software engineers, visionaries, and technologists were hacking away at creating a next generation holographic data storage architecture, and an ecosystem of decentralized applications to prove the concept.

Their mission was to create an agent centric peer-to-peer scalable post-blockchain platform to enable decentralized application developers to solve problems such as value creation, privacy, peer-to-peer connectivity, and decentralization.

Fast forward to 2018 and Holochain now has an active community of developers from around the world, and just launched an initial community offering last week.

So WTF is Holochain?

Existing distributed ledger technologies powered by blockchain, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, suffer from scalability issues and also consume massive amounts of energy. Holochain is an energy efficient post-blockchain ledger system and decentralized application platform that uses peer-to-peer networking for processing agent centric agreement and consensus systems between users. The key advantage of Holochain is that every device on the network gets its own secure ledger, or Holochain, and can function independently while also interacting with all the other devices on the network for a truly decentralized edge computing solution.

Holochain will enable developers to build decentralized applications for governance, collaboration, organizational tools, social networks, social media, vendor relationship management, platform cooperatives, sharing economy apps, supply chain solutions, community resource management, as well as tokenless mutual-credit cryptocurrencies and reputation systems.

Traditional computer systems are designed around a stack like architecture of layering system upon system on top of each other to create monolithic systems similar to skyscrapers. This model for data storage and transfer is as old as computing itself, and is severely outdated for the modern world. By creating an agent centric computing architecture that can scale vertically and horizontally across a network, Holochain introduces a new model for data storage and transfer that can enable any edge device. This allows smart phones to function individually and as a part of a greater peer-to-peer network without having to connect to a centralized provider.

Holochain enables any device to have its own chain based ledger system. By using a holographic model for data storage and transfer developers can now create decentralized applications that can scale in multiple dimensions across a network ensuring they are truly distributed. This enables every device on a network to function independently, and only requires the synchronization of data when necessary, or agreed upon by users. This means every user is in control of their own data, and never has to risk their data being sold or exposed to 3rd parties like what just happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

The benefits of using Holochain are multifold. By leveraging Holochain developers will be able to build a new generation of decentralized applications and services that do not abuse users privacy, or destroy the environment. Holochain puts control of users data back into the hands of users instead of mega-corporations.

Proof of Service

Another fascinating component of Holochain is its capacity for supporting a wide variety of consensus or agreement systems between users. For example, Holochain can enable what is called a “Proof of Service” consensus system, where a user gets rewarded when a service is completed for another user then gets compensated in cryptocurrency.

This is the model that “Holo Fuel” is based on, which is the cryptocurrency attached to the Holochain initial community offering. However, Holo Fuel is not your typical cryptocurrency, the idea behind it is the amount of fuel is attached to the volume of community engagement. In other words, the amount of Holo fuel is associated to the services provided by developers, data hosters, and users. It isn’t a coin, or a traditional currency, it is a system of agreement between users not associated with a monetary value, but rather a proof of service value. It is a post-monetary system of community engagement, not a system of gambling or profit.

I know this probably sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. It is basically just digital bartering. If I do something for you, you do something for me of equal exchange or value. In the initial use cases, it will mostly be hosting or data transfer, but eventually could expand to a wide range of other use cases once more developers start building their own decentralized applications using Holochain. Those developers will also have the capability to develop their own unique agreement systems or smart contracts based on whatever consensus model they desire.

Blockchain Is The Past

While the mainstream media might have convinced you that Bitcoin and the blockchain are the future, they are wrong. Blockchain is the past, it is a 9–10 year old technology, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are based on mimicking our existing corrupt finance system. Bitcoin is a system of gambling and storing value, not a system of value creation or community engagement. Holochain enables humanity and our devices to participate in a post-monetary society that values merit, contribution, community, and service to others. It is a system designed for both data integrity and personal integrity.

The future of technology should not be about connecting us to billion dollar mega-corporations, and forcing us to rely on systems like Facebook that steal and monetize our data. The future of technology should be about allowing us to connect with others in a manner in which we agree to be connected, and not be subject to unnecessary and corrupt middlemen.

Holochain is the foundational technology to help us get there, it is real, and you can download it and start building right now. It has the potential to change everything.

I didn’t get paid to publish this, so if you like this article feel free to send some Bitcoin.

BTC

Or ETH: 0xB7A25b8541943e6852A28CF35d1cdf53c1f33f05

I can be reached personally at trent — at — mysticlabs — dot — com

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