I’ve been closely following Holochain with great interest for a few years. I had also been hearing about Dfinity here and there for a while (in fact one of the Holochain team members, who appears in the video linked below, has spoken highly of Dfinity in the past), but I never looked into it that deeply. Obviously in the past couple days there has been a lot of talk about it, so I’m suddenly curious to learn more and to especially to compare/contrast with Holochain, about which I know more.
For those who need an intro, here is a basic ~10ish minute introduction to Holochain for developers.
To me, Dfinity and Holochain seem to be very different approaches, and I have a feeling, but not a clear understanding, that they must have somewhat different use-cases.
However, Dfinity claims, essentially, that you build pretty much anything you can currently build on the Internet on it. Holochain also claims this, and has usually claimed it “in contrast to blockchain.”
In other words, generally when I think of blockchain, I think of consensus systems for tracking coins/tokens, and then other iterations of that same type of thing, like defi, NFTs, etc. But I don’t normally think of a scalable social network on blockchain, or a chat app, or reputation systems, or scalable IoT, etc… I’ve often thought of blockchain as being “data-centric,” essentially modeling digital “objects,” whereas Holochain is “agent-centric”, where applications are simply rules for how agents can interact with each other, which is more flexible and general purpose.
I gather that Dfinity is more than just a tokenization engine, however, and is much more flexible than Ethereum and its ilk.
One of the major differences I see is that, with Holochain, the application runs on the devices of the users themselves, vs. with Dfinity the application would run on decentralized data centers. The consequence of this is that users of a Holochain application can take their own data to either bridge or migrate to other applications whenever they wish. They have more complete ownership/control of their data. Aside from that, I’m not sure how else to compare the two.
I think what would help me compare and contrast would be to present some of the Holochain applications I know of which are in development, and ask, what would this look like on ICP? Would it be possible, and if so, what would be lost or gained either way?
- RedGrid: Mostly an IoT project, automating energy use either in homes or on industrial scale, resolving part of the difficulty with adopting renewables, which have higher fluctuations of energy availability.
- Junto: a peer-to-peer social network.
- Dada.art: a platform for artists to have “visual conversations,” where they can take turns adding frames to an expanding sequence/array of images.
- Holo-REA: Resource-Event-Agent accounting system, implementation of Valueflows protocol. Has modular building blocks for supply chain systems, project management software, logistics management and enterprise resource planning (as well as gift economies)
Very curious to hear any thoughts/reflections on this comparison between Holochain and ICP. Thanks!