#Holochats: dApps

At Holo we talk about taking back the internet. Originally the internet was designed for resilience — to be a distributed network. Over time, it has become more centralized. People can see how centralization causes issues for everyone. How do we move away from centralization and take back the internet? The decentralized web. And how does that function: decentralized and/or distributed applications called dApps.

First, let’s clarify centralized, decentralized, and distributed networks. A centralized network often looks like a “hub and spoke” with a center hub — in this case the central server feeding the nodes. Decentralized networks have many more connections, but they are not fully interconnected. They can and often have nodes with only one connection. Distributed networks have the redundancy of having any node with multiple connections, so breakage of any connection doesn’t isolate any node.


Blockchain offered to fulfill on the promise of, at least, a decentralized internet. But, what does that actually enable? Is it really just about tokenization, the one killer app for blockchain? Or maybe about code as contract, which Ethereum offers with smart contracts? Certainly the field is growing in popularity and interest. And Blockchain and Ethereum are steps towards a more decentralized web that we want. Yet we still don’t have rich ecosystems of applications and a path to bring the mainstream to a decentralized (and thus more resilient) internet.

To answer that, let’s clarify. What are these dApps? Blockchain Hub describes them:

“As opposed to traditional, centralized applications, where the backend code is running on centralized servers, dApps have their backend code running on a decentralized P2P network. dApps, have existed since the advent of P2P networks. They are a type of software program designed to exist on the Internet in a way that is not controlled by any single entity. Decentralized applications don’t necessarily need to run on top of a blockchain network. BitTorrent, Popcorn Time, BitMessage, Tor, are all traditional dApps that run on a P2P network, but not on a Blockchain (which is a specific kind of P2P network).” Blockchain Hub

This vastly increases the resilience of the code, making it hard to control or turn off. The trick is that dApps might not be as decentralized as the platform they run on, since the smart contracts, for example, can still leave some loopholes. So what are we striving for in looking at applications via structure of connections? What do they make possible? How do they solve real world problems (and not just crypto-kitty games). Let’s get really practical.

For Holochats this week, let’s explore:

  • Philosophically, how is being decentralized or distributed a security advantage? What does it mean for society to switch to systems where people own their own data? What will dApps mean for society? How will they change how we think?
  • For a business, what problem spaces can be solved easier with distributed applications? How will they change how services we interact with on a day-to-day basis function? How do you negotiate business when transaction fees can exceed transaction itself? If, inversely, we can track and reward micro-actions and account for microtransactions, what might that enable? What does a distributed/decentralized system make possible in terms of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-money-laundering (AML)?
  • Technically, blockchain has one real dApp — tokenization. With smart contracts, Ethereum has more opportunity for viable applications. What is needed in this space to make real decentralized or distributed applications worthwhile? What are dApps better at than cApps (hehehe)? At what are they worse? How does being agent-centric or data-centric relate to dApps as structural solutions?

Join our Holochats Live Discussion!

Friday, the 9th of February, from 10–11am PST, Mark Finnern will facilitate a #holochats dialogue between Michael P. Gusek and Jean M Russell discussing some of the above questions.

For Holo

What kinds of distributed applications are we talking about on Holochain? First, there already are some dApps in alpha. For example, the community is developing a distributed twitter-like dApp called Clutter. We are excited by ideas and specs and applications emerging in our hackathons and in our community. The following video explains how to download and install Holochain and Clutter in less than 5 minutes.

We invite you into our community, #Holochats, a distributed conversation! Each of our weekly topics include philosophical inquiry into the nature of the theme as well as business and technical applications around the theme.

Collectively, our wisdom together can emerge.

To participate, include #Holochats and #theme tags.

Holochats are distributed explorations of themes with several steps:

  1. A blog post stating the #theme for the week posing questions, creating shared context, and considerations up for debate. (This one!)
  2. An interview around the theme {and we encourage you to do so as well!}
  3. You join in with your own blog, video, and links (new or pre-existing) using the tags #holochats and #theme to be included in the distributed dialogue!
  4. Each week we can collect together the juicy evolution of responses to the theme and share back through the tags, re-post on our medium, and share our favorite insights.

We hope you join in! This is about distributed awareness and growing our collective intelligence together!

Post your own interviews, blog posts, and other content with the #Holochats #DApps tags so we can learn from and with you!

Everything is linked for this week by #Holochats #dApps.