A Tale of Two Approaches to Decentralized Data Integrity

Holochain is quite different from blockchain, but because they are designed to solve some of the same problems — and because people try to understand Holochain in terms of blockchain all the time — we figured it would be a good idea to frame at least one key aspect of Holochain in comparison to blockchain.

A complete primer on Holochain and blockchain would need a good deal of detail about what blockchain really is and how it works, and we’d probably be addressing a lot of common technical misconceptions about blockchain in the process. This is not that article.


This has been a good year so far for Cardano. It successfully forked to become a multi-asset blockchain, enabling users to create tokens that run on Cardano natively, similar to how tokens operate on Ethereum. (Full smart-contract functionality remains on their roadmap.) Its token, ADA, became tradeable on Coinbase in mid-March. And investors lined up: the price of ADA rose 560% over Q1, the most among the CoinDesk 20, a core group of cryptocurrencies tracked by the news site. …

HoloSign, Anyone?

Recently, DocuSign CEO Daniel Springer said it would never work to create a blockchain version of DocuSign because it would be extremely expensive and inefficient, even though the management of electronic signatures and agreements would seem to be just the kind of use case blockchain promises to address.

He’s totally right. Storing all those PDFs on a blockchain would be ridiculously expensive, because everyone running a blockchain node would need to store a complete record of every document that’s ever been signed. Yikes.

But a decentralized version of DocuSign would be easy to create and simple to run on Holochain…

Part 1 in a Series on Currency Design

In collaboration with Arthur Brock

At one point in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, a crowd of worshippers has gathered outside the home of Brian, who they have mistaken for a prophet, to plead for a transmission of his wisdom.

Brian attempts to send them away. “You’ve got it all wrong! You’ve got to think for yourselves! You’re all individuals!”

The crowd robotically refrains together: “Yes, we are all individuals!”

“You’re all different!” Brian exclaims.

“Yes, we’re all different!” says the crowd in unison.

It’s a satirical take on allegiance to social structures — in this case a blind…

Assessing Risk and Opportunity in Light of the Deplatforming of Parler and Other Recent Events

In collaboration with Arthur Brock, Holochain architect

Lately we’ve seen the deplatforming of communication apps that have been used unchecked for the planning of violence or the spreading of disinformation that resulted in violence, especially the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Extremist groups had already been pushed toward the most fringe, most permissive communication apps such as Parler and Gab after more mainstream apps like Facebook and WhatsApp increasingly moderated activity throughout 2020. …

The Nextnet Series: Part 3 of 3

In collaboration with Arthur Brock

[This article also appears on Holochain’s Medium page.]

The first and second articles in this series explored the nature of unenclosable carriers and their potential to underpin an unprecedented explosion of human creativity and social flourishing. We suggest starting there if you haven’t already.

This final installment delves into the unenclosable carrier Holochain specifically, including how it fulfills on the essential properties of unenclosability and how it can be used.

We’ll also look at how you can get started building new social organisms now — and start to leverage Holochain to solve problems associated with…

The NextNet Series: Part 2 of 3

In collaboration with Arthur Brock

[A version of this article also appears on Holochain’s Medium page.]

The first article in this three-part series explored unenclosability as an essential property of non-corruptible communication channels. We suggest heading there, if you haven’t already, before reading this article.

This piece explores what becomes possible in a universe of unenclosable carriers. It’s the “why this matters” entry in the series.

To approach what might be possible, we look at how things currently work in four example domains where we’re currently limited, in part at least, by the dynamics created by carrier enclosure.

In each…

About a month ago, a group of volunteers came together to advance the common goal of making COVID testing widely available in Boulder County, Colorado. This article briefly chronicles what’s happened since and where things stand now, in order to be of service to anyone who might find the information useful.


By the middle of March, I had become aware of a good deal of of literature suggesting widespread community testing as a means of ending COVID-19 lockdowns around the world. And there was at least one initiative in my own state of Colorado already attempting this path: San Miguel…

I’m amazed by the diversity of opinions around this question.

I have many intelligent peers, including what seems like a majority of the most diligent and well-regarded sense-makers I know, who believe some or all of the following:

🔸On containment and flattening the curve: Forget about containment; even flattening, while very important, won’t come close to avoiding mass overwhelm of hospitals and other massive systems breakdowns. Buckle up.

🔸On markets: A total collapse of our financial system, not just a recession or even depression, is likely.

🔸On geo-politics: Whether the inception of COVID-19 was itself an act of warfare or not, the follow-on effects are already amounting to the economic…

Reprinted with permission from his 3.19.20 Facebook post

[ The original post and comment thread is here. ]

A two step process to stop the pandemic:

  1. Everyone stay home starting now.
  2. Get tests to everyone. People who aren’t infected can come off quarantine.

Thats it. Really.

Yes, that is oversimplifying, but that is the critical Pareto response. That would prevent the spike and avert the follow on catastrophes, with the least amount of disruption possible. There is more to it, but in a time of great uncertainty and complexity, clarity and simplicity can be helpful.

I’ll expand those points a little more:

1. Everyone has to physically isolate immediately and adequately. That includes appropriate hygiene…

Josh Zemel

Holochain, Decentralization, & Crypto; Communication, Culture, & Leadership

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