A lot of good progress is being made now with the arrival and rapid iteration of the Fleming testnets.
This thread pulls together key facts for three groups: 1) new people who want to find out what Safe is and maybe participate in the test nets, 2) crypto-folks and 3) developers interested in creating apps for Safe.
The facts are deliberately short and simple, because I update them every now and again (although not nearly as often as I should of late… ). For a more in-depth take see the Safe Network Primer (also a little out of date now) and the safenetwork.tech website.
Last update: 08 May 2021
10 key facts for new users
Safe (Secure Access For Everyone) is a network like the Internet but created by connecting users’ devices together rather than relying on centralised servers [Watch this introductory video].
This makes Safe more private, more secure and more resistant to being censored or taken down by authorities, criminals or powerful corporations [Read why this matters].
Safe is being developed by Scottish company MaidSafe. It is currently in ‘Fleming’ Alpha mode [See the roadmap]. New developments are announced on the regular Thursday Dev Update and more recently in the Releases category on the forum.
The Fleming testnets run on users’ own machines. See the latest post under Releases to find out how to get started (The tests are a work in progress - so make sure a testnet is online before trying to join.). Ultimately it is hoped that the network will be able to run on small computers such as Raspberry Pis and smartphones. In part, that’s what the tests are about.
Currently you need to use the command line interface (CLI; Windows/Linux/Mac) to access the test network. Previous iterations featured a browser and a desktop app and these will be reintroduced at a later date. There is a strong focus on UX and the aim is to make Safe ‘granny friendly’.
You can upload and download data to the network during this testnet phase. Ultimately you will be able to quickly build websites and apps on the network with all data encrypted and easy to access.
You can also experiment with sending and receiving a test version of the network’s internal currency Safe Network Token.
On launch, the MaidSafeCoin cryptocurrency (MAID), available to buy since 2014, will be converted to Safe Network Token.
Users will pay a one-time fee to store data, but downloading data and browsing sites on the network will be free.
Published data will be permanently available as versioned information, a little like the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Private data will be shareable as the user sees fit and can be deleted.
10 key facts for crypto-heads
MaidSafeCoin is a token that was created in a crowdsale in 2014 to support the project. It can be traded but not farmed (mined).
When the Safe Network launches, MaidSafeCoin will be converted to the network’s cryptocurrency Safe Network Token on a 1:1 basis.
MaidSafeCoin is currently traded on P2PB2B, Bittrex and Changelly exchanges. Beware MAID coins on other exchanges - they may be scams. The Safecoin name is also being used by another project - this is nothing to do with MaidSafe.
When the SAFE Network goes live you will be able to ‘farm’ (mine) Safe Network Token by offering resources (CPU and storage) to the network. There is no blockchain and no proof-of-work.
Not being based on a blockchain avoids many of the scalability and sustainability issues facing Bitcoin.
There’s a detailed (but slightly dated) discussion on the differences between Bitcoin and Safecoin (previous name for Safe Network Token) here.
Safe Network Token will be used to buy storage and services on Safe Network, and paid to people providing resources to the network by farming.
App developers may also be paid for their work. (Not confirmed yet, see here and many other threads on this forum).
The team is currently exploring Digital Bearer Certificates (DBCs) for private online and offline exchange.
10 key facts for devs
Safe Network is open source with repos hosted on GitHub under the GPLv3 licence.
The API is not currently stable enough for app development, although that should change very soon. Watch this space…
Funding is available to support promising apps via the Bamboo Garden Fund. In addition, 15% of all Safe Network Tokens earned will be allocated to the developer pool. [More advantages of developing for Safe]
The core libraries are written in Rust and apps written in Rust can access them directly.
Safe also uses advanced technologies such as Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs) and AT2 to avoid the need for network-wide consensus (cf blockchains) and BLS encryption for multisig capabilities. [See here for an overview].
The Safe Network is designed to be compatible with Semantic Web technologies such as RDF and Linked Data, meaning that apps developed should be compatible with projects like Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid, and vice versa.
Proof-of-concept apps have been created using technologies such as WASI/WASM and Svelte to plug into Safe once the API is mature.