Holo is a computer platform for distributed social applications

Holo is a computer platform for distributed social applications that uses the highly modular Holochain framework as a design space.

This is the first article in a two-part series about Holochain, a unique social dApp. In the second article, we will introduce Ceptr, the underlying architecture of Holo, review some illustrative examples of Holochain applications, and discuss the rich expression they offer, as well as looking at Holochain in the context of distributed applications such as Ethereum and IOTA.

The medium is the message. / Marshall McLuhan

As distributed systems find their way from the edge into the mainstream, which is made popular by blockchain ledgers after Bitcoin, a number of different architectures and models for structuring distributed applications are emerging. One of the biggest winners recently is Holo (HOT), the first Holochain-based application that hosted an ICO (Initial Community Offering) earlier this year. Holochain is a post-blockchain approach and framework for distributed applications that eliminates global consensus (which by definition is not scalable) at the system processing level and instead uses distributed hash tables as public space (similar to BitTorrent). .

Holochain originally comes from the MetaCurrency project and is the basis of Ceptr – a distributed operating system with which a semantic, mashable and completely decentralized Internet can be booted. Ceptr (from Receptor) and Holochain share a number of conceptual similarities with IOTA, as both aim to design a framework for the development of complex adaptive systems in a networked global nervous system. Architecturally, however, the two differ fundamentally.

While IOTA is essentially data-driven, Holochain uses an agent-centric approach in a lightweight, biomimic-based framework that is inspired by the shape and organization of living systems in nature. The user autonomy in Holochain is integrated directly into the architecture, with each Holochain application representing its own social space.

Holochain combines hashchains for immutable data integrity and timestamps from the point of view of the node. This social-style validation and alignment mechanism was also taken up by DAOstack in their holographic consensus to organize and scale the governance in the blockchain itself. A holochain application itself consists of a number of participating agents that manage their own unique source chains (or ledgers) of transactions, paired with the shared area of ​​the validating, sharded distributed hash table, in which each node applies the validation rules of the specified Application in its enforces specific context.

Distributed hash tables instead of a monolithic blockchain

A distributed hash table (DHT) is a type of distributed coordination mechanism that revolves around the search for key / value pairs in hash table assignments that are stored by participating nodes (similar to a distributed NoSQL). This enables DHTs to scale to an extremely large number of nodes and efficiently handle continuous node arrivals, departures, and failures. A distributed data structure very similar to DHT is hash graphs – a type of DHT that is used as a mechanism for building a global consensus on the order of events based on latency or the order of gossip between nodes (i.e., gossip about gossip while blockchains only select one answer discards the other).

A distributed hash table. Source: Wikipedia

DHTs, however, when they do not require global consensus, can be applied to form the design and infrastructure for a generalized computer system that enable the expression and assembly of more complex services and social applications, and run decentralized applications cooperatively without the consensus bottlenecks of the more rigid blockchain engines. What is important is that such a setting naturally also eliminates the speculative aspect of tokens as gambling chips, as this is how applications are driven by their usability and actual use.

Rather than viewing Holochain as a “better” blockchain or alternative, it should be understood more as a system of custom git-like repositories where any user can publish, share, sync and merge their (or parts of) their (it) into a BitTorrent-like DHT in which each participant only monitors, verifies and validates that which concerns them directly.

Source: Holochain Twitter

Some available proof-of-concept examples that run as holochain applications include a fully distributed Twitter clone (called a clutter) and a distributed, multi-room P2P slack (holochat).

Holo: First community offer and fuel for the power supply of DApps

As a base platform, Holochain doesn’t have a native currency that powers it, and Holo is the economic component that the Holochain framework leverages for the mainstream. Holo is neither a coin nor a token (although HOT is currently a temporary ERC-20 coupon), but an asset-backed currency that represents the computing power of devices on the network. Instead of burning computational resources in proof-of-work mining, users can earn Holo-Fuel to use additional storage space and computing power to host apps for others (with specially adapted HoloPort also provided).

HoloPorts are specially adapted plug-and-play devices with a Holochain facility.

The first HoloPort sale was funded through IndieGoGo via crowdfunding and ended in the spring

2018, the new Holo Store will be online soon in October / November.

Similar to the concept of fog computing (e.g. IOTA), Holo takes the hosting of sophisticated social applications out of centralized data silos and to the edges of the internet and the devices themselves (“the crowd becomes the cloud”). Holo Fuel works within the cryptographic structure of standardized double-entry bookkeeping, in which both parties sign and countersign their transactions and record them in their respective chains. Each transaction is validated by the participating peers on a shared DHT.

As the first Holochain application, Holo aims to provide the tools that enable rapid application development and testing (in commonly used, familiar languages ​​such as Python and JavaScript) and the ability to prototype their ideas for anyone, including less technical and non-professional developers with ease and delivery of distributed applications that have the potential to evolve and form networks of users and communities around them. It also enables bridges to be created between other applications (e.g. different but overlapping chains for each DApp where a node or agent running two different apps can translate between them).

Holo-fuel is valued in units of arithmetic: processing time, bandwidth and memory. As the number of hosts increases, the bulk of their computing power stabilizes the rating. Hosts set their own prices for the computing power and capacity they provide, which, on average, result in stability across a large ecosystem of servers spread around the world. Since fuel also incentivizes participation, it brings the infrastructure and resources necessary to sustain itself.


Blockchain is about building consensus on what has been said. Ceptr is about spreading a consensus on how to “speak”. / Arthur Brock, Holo founder and acting CEO

Holochain’s agent-centric ontology is a one-of-a-kind offering that has been tacitly in the works for more than a decade (before Bitcoin and Ethereum). The Holo ICO aroused great interest, especially among DApp developers and the Ethereum community. Mozilla has expressed interest in creating a browser for Holochain that provides easy access to composable Holochain applications (the ability to combine multiple applications into a single user interface).

In the next article, we’ll give some vivid examples of Holochain applications, its basic structure, and the ecosystem biology-inspired approach to how applications are organized to easily create bridges and semiotic chains between them and the rich expressive capacities that it offers . We’ll also talk about some of the strategic partnerships that were formed during the year and how Holochain compares to Ethereum and IOTA in the context of distributed applications.

This is the first article in a two-part series about Holochain, a unique social dApp. In the second article, we will introduce Ceptr, the underlying architecture of Holo, review some illustrative examples of Holochain applications, and discuss the rich expression they offer, as well as looking at Holochain in the context of distributed applications such as Ethereum and IOTA.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is provided without taking your personal circumstances into account and should therefore not be construed as financial advice, investment advice, or an offer or solicitation to submit transactions in cryptocurrencies.

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