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Decentralised social networks & Holochain mutual credit

It is easy to do mutual credit or any accounting inside one organisation running one software instance on one server. Accounting between organisations on different software on different servers is much harder though.

For a convention payment you have to ensure that one account is incremented AND one account decremented, because if only one of those events happen then 'money' has been created or destroyed. Movement of a virtual commodity from one ledger to another requires only consensus between those two ledgers. Thus all the attempts to join ledgers together, like atomic swaps and interledger protocol take as their starting point that only two ledgers are involved.

However mutual credit systems are fundamentally different. Every transaction belongs in the context of a membership group with rules. A transaction between two members may be illegitimate if it takes one of their balances outside of agreed limits (you could call this the business logic). So mutual credit systems have always been centralised around a single ledger, on a single machine, with a single settings file, so the business logic is consistent between all members and the sum of balances is provably zero.

Holochain is a breakthrough for mutual credit architecture because it allows a p2p transaction without a singleton ledger (All bitcoin transactions are on one singleton ledger which every full node keeps a copy of). Each account keeps its own transaction ledger, but with cryptographic proof that each transaction has a corresponding entry on another account. Not only that but also Holochain ensure that every app is running the same business logic so that the whole network can agree which transactions are valid and invalid.*

That makes Holochain a great candidate for the Credit Commons. Anyone who wants to make a Credit Commons group would need to issue a simple Holochain app, configure it, and have all their members create an account.

Recently I attempted a comparison between Holo and ActivityPub, and wondered what combining them would achieve. I realise now that the technologies need not be combined if they are playing different roles in the ecosystem I envisage.

This diagram shows how many mutual credit communities, each with their own business log, branding, and software features, could federate into a universal non-Facebook social network (using ActivityPub), while being able to make transactions and inter-group transactions using Holochain, and using a third web service to provide a global index of offers and wants.

The hope is that the some of the actors shown in the diagram as 'apps' would see the advantage in working together to build this ecosystem.

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