Holochain and Solid working together - topologies of patch-passing sync networks

Hello guys I have written an article on how I think Holochain and Solid can work together to achieve the same goals.

Holochain fills some gaps with Solid in particular “topologies of patch-passing sync networks”




Holochain might be a good fit for those who do not want to use self- or cloud hosting. Is it similar to the SAFE network? @happybeing is experimenting in that direction

1 Like

No nothing like it SAFE network uses a blockchain, it is an antiquated technology that requires proof or work, mining, etc.
Blockchain cannot scale, is volatile and has bad latency and requires time consuming global consensus.

Holochain replaces blockchain with unlimited TPS.

Safe Network doesn’t use Blockchain. BTW there are efforts to scale Blockchain, but while I don’t study them closely there are fundamentals that mean its applications are limited at least for now, and not easy to solve IMO.

Safe Network has never used Blockchain and is designed to scale, be energy efficient and truly decentralised. This means no servers, and that no third parties are involved in deciding if you can participate in the network or have access to any of its services (storage, communications, access, publishing, domains etc). And nobody has to self host or rent a server to participate. This dramatically lowers the bar for people wanting to earn by providing resources to the network, and for anyone wanting to use its services.

Safe is e2e encrypted, in fact data is only ever decrypted on the device that has permission to access it. So it will be surveillance and censorship proof.

Safe ensures a “perpetual web” of public data like the internet archive for every website, with domains that can’t be censored or taken away, and which never expire. So your Safe Web identity is also yours forever.

I’m not up to date with the Holochain, but I understand it is server based, more like a federated system with an app layer like Solid. But also with a currency based system - though I did think this was Blockchain based, perhaps that’s not the case?

I’m not sure how good Holochain’s synergy is with Solid, but any solution using servers faces difficulties with surveillance, privacy, names, centralisation, vulnerabilities, availability etc. I’m not saying they all apply to Holochain because I don’t know it in detail, but those are key areas of weakness for Solid and any federated system, and I think building on a platform without servers is the way to tackle them.


It does at the moment, Maidsafe is blockchain which will then switch to Safecoin on Safenetwork.

Safecoin has a lot of the characteristics of blockchain in its consensus mechanism also its Farmers to earn Safecoin.

While it isn’t a typical global blockchain POW or POS consensus method it still requires 32 nodes with a quorum of 28 to agree, that is VERY blockchain-esq.

The same with the tokenization of the actions within Safecoin, where the token is the central feature or figure in the ecosystem, that is blockchain all over.

It is still going to suffer from some latency issues with those 32 nodes providing consensus.

And also likely be banned in many countries because if there is no way to censor or remove illicit content and a vault will not know if it is hosting terrorism or silk road or money laundering type websites.

As per above, Safenetwork will be a haven for criminal activity.

Of course the majority of users won’t use it for illegal purposes but there will be a percentage who do and when not if, this happens it won’t be very good PR.

Holochain is serverless and does not suffer from consensus issues because it uses distributed hash tables, each application is it own DHT and consensus is achieved by cryptographic signatures p2p gossip and validation through randomly selected hosts which are constantly pinging each other in the background.

Holochain is like a torrent, the higher the workload the faster it becomes.

So you decided to comment about Holochain in this thread without first even taking a little bit of time to understand how it works? :smile:

Holochain is distributed hosting of decentralized applications with the ability to point them to HTTPS websites through Holo hosting.

It is also transfer protocol agnostic and can be used over mesh networks.

It doesn’t carry the same risks that Safecoin does as App creators that use Holo hosting will need to undergo KYC.

But regular hosts who want to host applications won’t they will just need to use the basics to sign up like email etc.

App creators can also choose not use Holo hosting and host themselves on Holochain which is open source and they too could potentially host illicit content like Safe-network but the difference is that Holo is designed for hosting not for creating a silo-ed web like SafeNetwork is trying to do.

And if someone is hosting illicit content on Holo hosted applications they will have gone through KYC, if they just use Holochain itself and self host then law enforcement would likely be able to track them down through their hosting provider or other means.

But as I said earlier if SafeNetwork is immutable and unstoppable and anonymous then the only thing law enforcement could go after would be the browsers themselves.

What safe-network is trying to do is basically the same as Dfinity, be able to run automated decentralized unstoppable web through its own little universe.

There is an entirely different approach to business with Holochain and SafeNetwork.

Safenetwork users need to pay to PUT things on the Network (this payment is made in SAFEcoins). These SAFEcoins are then later burned and the the farmers are paid in SAFEcoins for their Proof-of-Resources where new coins are minted.

This is entirety different to Holochain and Holo where the main focus is hosting distributed applications, there are hosts and clients for hosting of applications or websites and they are paying each other directly using the internal currency of Holofuel.

And with HoloFuel it can be purchased through Holo the company or on exchanges, there is a way to on and off ramp to cryptocurrencies or fiat.

From what I read about SafeNetwork there is a lot of discussion about exchanges and how people can cash in or cash out without having to KYC.

For the average Joe user there is no cost to join or use the Holochain ecosystem, they might not even be aware that Holo is hosting their application or website but with SafeNetwork you need a specialty browser to enter an enclosed carrier.

Isolating an ecosystem to a single browser is not a very good business plan IMO.

Neither is having a token based economy for average users, that is blockchain mentality to try and tokenize and automate everything so the early investors will reap the rewards as their utopian decentralized universe expands to dizzy heights.

There are also a lot of holes in how Safenetwork can or will update, if the entire thing requires nodes to agreed to an update you are at risk of a malicious update.

And finally after learning a lot more about Safenetwork and Solid I don’t even see how it could be used as Solid themselves are providing the infrastructure to create their decentralized web and even they have realized that the missing part is hosting, which is why Inrupt is their business model for hosting, something Holochain is designed for.

Sure you can create an interface that allows SafeNetwork users to log-in to Solid but as far as hosting the applications go, Safenetwork would be far from ideal due to its Blockchain type model and timely consensus method and tokenization.

But anyway will see what happens. :wink:

1 Like

Holo had a coin issue as did MaidSafe. That doesn’t make either system like a Blockchain, and it is misleading to suggest this about Safe Network. There will be pros and cons of each system which we can look at more directly if we wish without making such comparisons.

As noted, I’m not up to date with Holochain. When I looked at it it was a federated system of servers, but you say now it is torrent like. It runs apps, but where - like Safe and Solid in the browser, or on the federated infrastructure as originally designed? I’m interested to understand, and to hear where you think the synergies are between Solid and Holochain.

You make some valid criticisims of Safe along much that’s misleading, incorrect or debatable. But rather than turn this into a discussion of Safe, let’s keep this topic to Solid/Holochain. But if you’d like to understand how Solid and Safe compliment each other I made a blog Why Solid on Safe? and I can point you to demos and a presentation explaining how this works. Maybe we can raise awareness among all three communities and find ways to get things working together or learn from each other.


Holochain has an internal currency called Holofuel it is neither a coin nor a token.

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

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

There isn’t a “federated infrastructure” Holochain runs applications that scale as i said above via peer to peer but using a DHT distributed hash table.
Each app is its own chain and forms its own dht and consenus.
With Holochain there is no need to run a dedicated browser as it is http agnostic, it can even be run over mesh networks using bluetooth or ham radio, any medium where a node is able to speak to another node.

I did make some criticisms and if I made some erroneous claims then I did leave my contact details to change anything that was not right. But no one contacted me.

I think having to use a dedicated browser is a massive hurdle though and just like Elastos it won’t be possible to have adoption at scale with that system.

1 Like

Ah, that’s enlightening, thanks. I have to say you have your name working against you. Like many others I also thought that Holochain was yet-another-blockchain-thing. Every time I encountered something interesting-seeming related to Holochain, I comfortably skipped diving deeper, with the thought “Ah, yes, blockchain, no need to check further”. The ‘chain’ in the name triggered that as a consistent reminder with me, every time. Might consider renaming the root project, and maybe keep the name Holochain for a lower-level subproject (or get rid of it altogether).


Thanks for answering. That clarifies several things but one question I’m still curious about is where you see the synergy with Solid, in what areas are they the same and in what areas do they compliment each other? And how did you envisage they could work together? I’m still not clear where the apps run so am not able to work this out from what you’ve said.

Also, is anyone currently working on this aspect?

WRT Safe I think the main criticisim I agree with is that by using a dedicated browser this makes adoption harder, but there’s more to this than immediately apparent. Firstly the reason for this is to provide the level of security, anonymity and related features of Safe, and there’s really no way to do that will http. Once you allow http, the risks increase significantly and it becomes very much more difficult, nigh on impossible to navigate censorship (such as great firewalls etc).

So MaidSafe have said they won’t produce an insecure browser at least for the time being. In the past they did consider allowing http as an option, but they’ve now decided it would expose users to too much risk. But it’s open to anyone to fork the browser and enable this, and I’m sure people will. MaidSafe’s decision will certainly hinder adoption, but there are pressures towards adoption too, not just security etc, but also of the many other features of the network. I won’t go into these here so as not to distract from the possible synergies of Holochain and Solid. I’m happy to discuss elsewhere though, and am hoping to see a new public test network where people can try things out again before Christmas, if folks are interested.

1 Like

Yes that is the case unfortunately, I actually agree with you on that some could construe it as being blockchain.

But because with Holochain it is DLT technology, source “chains” are stored on a randomized set of peer nodes (DHT) and each user has their own tamper-resistant local storage (hash chain) per application.

So the word chain is somewhat relevant. :grinning:

I guess there are two ways to look at this, both Solid and Holochain are looking to help uses secure and own their data. To do this Holochain runs hApps or Holochain applications, I cannot see Solid just upping their idea and shifting to Holochain, that is not the purpose of this thread.

Where i can see Solid having a synergy with Holochain is for the hosting side.

From what I understand Solid is steering people to their other company Inrupt for hosting and I guess this is how Tim has monetized the concept of Solid, by providing hosting.

If users want a truly peer to peer (no centralized servers or central points of failure or attack vectors) than Holochain would be ideal for hosting the Solid data and applications.

Holochain is the only true peer to peer serverless cloud that does not have anything to do with centralized servers, so this falls in line with what Solid is trying to achieve and also SafeNetwork TBH.

The Holo software runs in the background, allocating spare storage and processing power to serve hApps to the legacy web. Hosts​ ​choose what hApps to serve, set their own hosting prices, and manage their own priorities.

The apps run on Holo software from users hosting the application, the data is sharded and randomized across all hosts of a particular application. A Holo-hosted web app feels just like any traditional web app built on centralized infrastructure and as such is able to be accessed from wherever you like, be that HTTPS, SafeNetwork browser or other.

It is server-less computing and is the first of a kind in the world and it just completed successful proof of concept testing.

Now it will move onto further tests, hopefully for release by early next year.

No that I know of, but there isn’t much work to do because once Holo hosting is live then it is just a matter of signing up and hosting your Solid creations on Holochain.

If you guys are devs and want to learn more from that side suggest you take a look at the dev site.

Holochain Developers

Thanks for the replies. :v:

Hightlight mine:

Or many? Don’t underestimate this perception in others about your technology. The blockchain craze has done a lot of damage in trust with a lot of people. The well has been thoroughly poisoned. The above is an exciting story, but I wonder if e.g. it is even possible to get Holo trending on Hacker News, when the name is in the title. Also terminology like hApps instead of Dapps may be interpreteted as “aha, one of those masqueraded blockchain project”. Note that I had the same perception about SAFE (MaidSafe really) before @happybeing started explaining. I might have been part of that project, but now I am advocating Fediverse (ActivityPub has a p2p future too).

The main focus is commercial application, and free software movement is an afterthought for promoting the tech. Too bad.

Holochain, SAFE, Fediverse … I think none of us should say “my way is the way to go” [edit: We should try to stay as open as possible towards other initiatives. Fragmentation is a killer]. The decentralized web is strewn with the corpses of projects - once great in potential - that said the same. It is very good that you look for Solid / Holo alignment. We should look for the coop and interoperability of all our initiatives in a “stronger together” mindset. Only way to make any sort of fist against Big Tech in the long run.

Don’t get so hung-up on a name.

You are derailing the thread with that nonsense.

I think I will say what I want, not what you think should say. :wink:

If you don’t like Holochain that’s fine but if you don’t quite understand what it does or get hung up on names or the direction of a topic and try and steer it to where you are comfortable you’re just wasting time.

Sorry, just trying to give some helpful feedback. I like Holochain based on what you said, that’s all. Topic is about ‘working together’, and I am also here to look at that in relation to fedi. I don’t care about your name, just suggested maybe you should. Will leave it at that :slight_smile:

1 Like

No problem bro.

At the end of the day the technology that creators and users find works best for them will be what its all about.

Educating or sharing information about software or different architectures is not easy because everyone looks at things from their own level of knowledge and perspective and some things get lost in translation. :v: