Holo: The evolution of cloud computing

Matthew Schutte
Published in
9 min readApr 24, 2018

This is an attempt to communicate Holo in simple, clear language (with a bit of playfulness to keep it entertaining).

We will cover Five areas:

1. Holo Value Proposition

2. Why you should Participate

3. Holo Currency Pricing

4. How is HOT related to Holo fuel

5. Matt’s Snarky Takeaway

Holo Value Proposition

Holo is launching a peer-to-peer app hosting marketplace.

Today, application developers usually pay Amazon or some other big corporation to serve their app or website to visitors.

Holo enables anyone to compete with Amazon for this business by offering the spare computing capacity on their own laptop, desktop or other computer. When their computer hosts an application, the developer pays them instead of Amazon.

Holo does to spare computing capacity what Airbnb did for spare bedrooms

Just like Airbnb enables people to rent spare bedrooms to help pay their mortgage, Holo enables people to rent their computer’s spare storage and processing power to help pay for their internet access, or even their computer itself.

And there is actually a LOT of spare capacity out there. In fact, globally, the idle storage and processing power sitting unused in our laptops and desktops dwarfs even the infrastructure of the largest cloud computing company.

Holo will do to that enormous spare computing capacity what Airbnb did to spare bedrooms.

Except, with Holo, you won’t find yourself cleaning sheets all the time. Here, your computer does the work and you reap the reward.

Application hosting is the cash cow of the third most valuable company on earth

And this isn’t a small market. For instance, Amazon is the third most valuable company on the planet, and though their app hosting division, AWS, accounts for just 10% of their revenues, it generates more profit than the entire rest of the company… combined. In other words, AWS is the cash cow of Amazon. And they are just one of several gigantic companies in the space. So… yes, hosting is a big business — and getting bigger.

Why you should Participate

If you are trying to decide whether you want to participate in this ecosystem, we can make it even more blunt:

Holo might do to the cash cow of the third largest company on the planet, what Uber did to Taxis.

Except, unlike Uber, with Holo, 99% of the money goes straight to the people whose machines are doing the work. That’s right. In exchange for orchestrating all of this, we take just a 1% cut.

Sound familiar? It might. People have dreamed of this for years. It was even the plot of an HBO show last season. But two new innovations from Holo are enabling us to, as Forbes recently put it, “turn internet fiction into reality.” Those two innovations are Holochain and Holo Fuel.

Folks around the globe have been building apps on Holochain Alpha (“the adventurer” release) since October. Holochain Beta is coming soon.


First, Holochain is a new way of running truly peer-to-peer applications that makes it so that my computer doesn’t necessarily have to “store” all of the content in an application in order to be able to serve that content. Instead, my machine can quickly retrieve anything I need right when I need it. It’s “just in time” content delivery. And when my computer then serves that content to a visitor, I get paid.

Holochain is live now and apps are actively being built and run on it. Holochain gives Holo a competitive advantage by giving it a collaborative advantage. And thanks to the care with which we designed Holochain, the World Economic Forum called Holochain one “of the most integral technology projects” in the blockchain space, pointing out that we “aren’t just putting lipstick on clones of existing projects” but have actually gone “back to the drawing board and created mission-driven roles for coders, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, regulators and policymakers.” We’ve taken some of the most widely used technologies of the last two decades and combined them in a novel way. Holochain combines the efficient peer-to-peer data storage model (DHT) that bitTorrent uses with the tamper resistant logs (Hash Chains) that blockchains use and the agent centric approach (each agent has their own perspective and signs their own actions) that Git uses. We think of Holochain as an evolution of blockchain, because it solves so many of the problems that have plagued blockchain over the past decade, including scale, speed, cost, adaptability and composability.

One thing to note is that unlike Holo, Holochain itself is not a platform. It is a pattern. Like HTML. We are giving it away to the world for free. It is open source. It does not require web servers. Or miners. Or cryptocurrency. Every user of a particular app, runs that app, showing up as both user and host. Holo is making use of this “holochain” pattern and is reaping the efficiency and resilience benefits that result.

Holo fuel. It isn’t actually fuel. It’s for fueling hosting.

Holo fuel

Second, Holo fuel is a new crypto-accounting system that enables us to process transactions in parallel, rather than in sequence. That means that Holo can handle millions or billions of simultaneous transactions. Moreover, because Holo fuel is so efficient, we can process transactions for even very small amounts such as a payment of a penny. And though this might look foreign if you are only familiar with blockchain “token” based types of cryptocurrencies, it isn’t exactly untested. We’re applying a centuries old double-entry accounting system called Mutual Credit. And now we’re getting to use Holochain and cryptography to distribute, secure and extend the capabilities of this tried and true accounting system.

Holo Currency Pricing

We’ve been compared by others to Ethereum, the blockchain based computing network that is worth hundreds of billions of dollars at present. So we did some benchmark testing. We built and tested several applications so we could see how costly it was to perform computation on Ethereum vs. Holo.

The result: depending on the app, Holo is somewhere between one-hundred-thousand and one-million times more efficient than Ethereum. For more details, check out our benchmarking walk through.

So when we decided to pre-sell Hosting services on Holo with an Initial Community Offering, we wanted to accomplish two things:

First, put our money where our mouth is. Second, create a margin gap to enable a two-sided marketplace to emerge.


We have drawn a line in the sand and are offering to host applications WITH OUR OWN COMPUTERS for 10,000 times cheaper than Ethereum.

This makes visceral just how much more elegant the design of Holo and Holochain are relative to Ethereum and Blockchain.

If computing services were cars, for the same amount of money that it would take to buy a Remote Control car on Ethereum, you could buy a real car on Holo. And that car would be a Lamborghini. That is what a 10,000 times price difference looks like ($40 vs $400,000).


Second, It also makes visible that we are UNDER-PROMISING what our network can deliver. We wanted to ensure that there was room for those who step up to participate in Holo as developers and hosts, to get rewarded for doing so. The gap between our “100,000 x” or “1,000,000 x” better benchmark performances and our “10,000 x” offer leaves room for Hosts to enter the market and underbid our price.

We expect that a competitive market will form, and because it will cost hosts five or fifteen or fifty times less than our price point to provide hosting, other hosts will be able to underbid us and win hosting contracts.

And when those hosts price their offerings competitively in order to attract more business, holders of Holo fuel will likely be able get two, or ten or twenty times as much computing power as even the price at which we were offering to provide it ourselves.

In other words, that same amount of Holo fuel that would have bought you an RC car on Ethereum, starts to deliver two, or five or ten Lamborghini’s worth of value (not that we’d spend our money stockpiling Lambo’s, but you get the point).

That creates a win-win-win. A win for hosts. A win for developers. A win for us.

Of course, it won’t exactly be a win for everybody.

Ethereum for instance. It probably won’t be a win for them. If a competitor enters the market and starts offering similar services for, let’s say 50,000 times cheaper than you are able to provide, what do you think will happen to demand for their services. And what would a drop in demand for ETH services do to their currency?

How HOT is related to Holo fuel

Because Holo isn’t live yet (our ICO is focused on funding the software development for it), we needed to raise funds through an existing, and established channel. Ethereum ERC20 tokens have been the standard way of running an ICO for the last year or two. The Holo Token or HOT is an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain and will be redeemable for Holo fuel once Holo goes live. This redemption will happen at a conversion rate of 1 HOT = 1 unit of Holo fuel (HOLO). Holders of HOT will need to redeem HOT for HOLO within 6 months of the launch of the network. You can think of it like a coupon that expires if you don’t redeem it in time.

Again, Holo fuel is the utility credit currency that application owners can use to pay for hosting services on the Holo network.

We estimate that the Holo network will go live sometime in Q3 of this year. In other words, we are aiming to launch Holo in July, August or September.

When a host provides hosting services for an app, that app’s owner pays for that hosting using Holo fuel. So if you have an application and want it hosted (served to non-peer visitors) via Holo, you need to buy Holo fuel from somebody so you can pay your hosts. The Initial Community Offering we are currently running is a pre-sale of the currency that will be used in our system. The purchase and redemption of ERC20 HoloTokens is how people are acquiring Holo fuel. After the close of the pre-sale, people will buy Holo fuel from others that have purchased it from us, earned it themselves through hosting etc. For more details, see our Green Paper. People with Holo will be able to use it themselves, or sell it to others who want hosting services, or, if they earned it through hosting, redeem it with the Holo organization in exchange for other currencies.

To be clear, Holochain applications do not need to use Holo when they are just interacting amongst peers (others who are also running the same application).

But not everyone is going to install Holochain on day one.

So how do you reach “the masses” when the masses have not yet installed the new empowering peer-to-peer apps of the future? You let them interact with those apps through a pattern they are familiar with: opening a browser and typing in a URL.

Holo hosts serve out websites to anyone with a browser, thus creating a bridge back to the “old” internet that everyone, even my grandparents are used to by now. (To be fair, Jerry, Jacqueline, George, and Algreta are fairly savvy when it comes to the internet, but I digress).

When a host creates this sort of bridge by hosting on behalf of an application, the app owner pays them, just like that app owner today might pay Amazon Web Services to host their app.

Some describe this hosting process as being similar to the mining that happens in Blockchain. However, whereas “mining” is an arms race to see who can waste the most electricity doing useless work in hopes of winning a lottery, hosting consists of serving applications or webpages on behalf of customers that are willing to pay for that hosting service. It is way more useful, way more cost effective and vastly more environmentally friendly. For instance, the HoloPorts that we have been making available through our top trending IndieGoGo campaign, use about as much electricity as a lightbulb.

Matt’s Snarky Takeaway

For those that don’t want to take the time to understand this evolution of cloud computing, no hard feelings. Seriously. We played with remote control cars when we were kids too. They were fun.

But you might want to ask yourself, “if these folks are on to something, and they do manage to cut the cost of distributed computing by 20,000 or 100,000 or 200,000 times…

do I really still want to be HODLing ETH?”

More info:

Holo Website

ICO Purchasing and Stats

Holochain Website

Holochain Code

More Technical Overview of Holo

Technical Walkthrough of Holochain