Holochain is a Ferarri to blockchains tricycle

In Holochain’s own words: "Holochain provides a data structure that can be used to build decentralized apps. You have your own chain, which you can add data to, including financial transactions. The chains can merge, split, and interact in complex ways. The data is stored in a decentralized way (like Bittorrent). The data has a hash, which is a mathematical fingerprint that corresponds to the data. If someone tampers with the data, the mismatch between the data and the hash will be noticed, and the data rejected as invalid. Digital signatures guarantee the authorship of the data. It’s Bittorrent plus git plus digital signatures."

Blockchains store the database in a decentralised way but the data itself is not really distributed as it is repeated in full in every node. By comparison, Holochain fractionalises data. The network no longer keeps n-thousand copies in every node but only a user’s own data and sufficient copies of other data to ensure and confirm network veracity and consistency. Then every user acts as a node, and nodes can be small and lightweight enough to fit on a mobile phone:

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Lightweight User Nodes

Holochain runs on user nodes. It is lightweight with every user acting as node, miner and staker at the same time. It can easily run on a mobile phone. This is possible because the node only stores its own transactions and a copy of some other users’ transactions. Another system that uses this approach is BitTorrent. There are no network managers that need to be incentivised just to provide upkeep. The incentive for users is to use the system.

However, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The network still needs upkeep in the form of bandwidth and file storage. Those costs are accrued at the point of each user, the node. Since a node doesn’t have to maintain the complete ledger like blockchains do, the cost of maintenance is a mere fraction of that of blockchains.

This system is even more elegant on closer inspection, as nearly all phones and desktop computers have idle capacity. Users with flat-rate bandwidth who charge their mobile phone daily will hardly ever have to pay anything extra for maintaining their node and thus the network.

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