What is Holochain?

Holochain is an open source framework for building fully distributed, peer-to-peer applications.

Holochain is BitTorrent + Git + Cryptographic Signatures + Peer Validation + Gossip.

Holochain apps are versatile, resilient, scalable, and thousands of times more efficient than blockchain (no token or mining required). The purpose of Holochain is to enable humans to interact with each other by mutual-consent to a shared set of rules, without relying on any authority to dictate or unilaterally change those rules. Peer-to-peer interaction means you own and control your data, with no intermediary (e.g., Google, Facebook, Uber) collecting, selling, or losing it.

Data ownership also enables new frontiers of user agency, letting you do more with your data (imagine truly personal A.I., whose purpose is to serve you, rather than the corporation that created it). With the user at the center, composable and customizable applications become possible.

Blockchains turn everything into tokens, whereas currencies are optional in Holochain, working best where issuance takes place through the actions of peers (like ratings), or as double-entry accounting. Other ideal uses for Holochain include:

  • Social networks
  • Supply chains
  • Peer-to-peer platform co-ops (e.g., cooperatively owned versions of Uber or Airbnb)
  • Rating systems & reputational currencies
  • Collective intelligence (e.g., governance, workflow, feedback systems)
  • Collaboration (e.g., discussion boards, scheduling, wikis)

How does it work? Briefly, Holochain combines ideas from BitTorrent and Git, along with cryptographic signatures, peer validation, and gossip. For more details, check out How does Holochain manage consensus?, as well as the additional resources and videos below.

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