Holochain Glossary

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A cryptographic signature is usually created by creating a cryptographic hash of some data and encrypting that hash with your private key. This proves it was you who signed it (or at least someone who had your keys, and that the data being signed hasn't been altered because it resolves to the expected hash).


Succinct Non-interactive Argument of Knowledge - A form of Zero Knowledge Proof that can be used for showing validation of a particular process.


The agent or person that authored data or sent a message.

Source Chain

(a.k.a Authoring Chain) This is the local signed hash chain that data is committed to. Public entries are shared to the DHT after they are committed to the local chain. Private entries are not shared to the DHT but are available to the authoring agent in their local chain.

Source ID

The identity of the source of a particular message, or piece of data or metadata.



Holochain activities are recorded with the time and date something happened according to the time on their machine. Holochain networks have no guaranteed global time, but may refuse to synchronize transactions with nodes whose clocks are too far out of sync.

Trusted timestamp server

A centralised server that signs data with a timestamp. Can be used to prove that some data existed at or before some time and has not been tampered with since. The proof relies on trusting the timestamp server to protect their private key and not allow fake times. Some existing trusted timestamp servers are maintained by the same organisations that issue SSL certificates. Blockchain is a distributed trusted timestamping service that tracks time in blocks rather than seconds.



In the context of data attribution it refers to the Author or Agent who created the data. In the context of an Application or UI/UX, it refers to the person using the app (seeing the data).


Validating DHT

A DHT where every node executes consistent validation rules on data before propagating that data.


Confirming that data is valid according to the shared rules of a holochain network. Validation is done before data is committed to honest source chains, and again every time it is shared to an honest DHT participant. Invalid data is not committed locally but is stored if it is broadcast to the network.

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