10 key facts about Safe Network

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… :grimacing: ). For a more in-depth take see the Safe Network Primer (also a little out of date now) and the safenetwork.tech website.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.

For more information about how SAFE works see the website safenetwork.tech, the Safe Network Primer - or ask someone on this forum.

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.

MaidSafeCoin is based on the Omni protocol and can be stored online at Omniwallet.org or offline in a hardware or paper wallet.

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.

Apps can theoretically be written in any language, although JavaScript / Node.js and C# are best supported at this stage. Work is ongoing to support Java for mobile apps. Note: Formal work by MaidSafe to support languages other than Rust via a foreign function interface (FFI) is on hold during the testnet stage.

There is a developer-specific Safe Dev Forum where you can ask about the more technical stuff and the Primer gives an overview of the network’s architecture.

Other places where you can discuss Safe developments include Reddit, Twitter, Telegram, Medium and Mastodon.

152 Likes

As a super long time lurker who has been very interested in the SAFE Network and still getting my head around some of the workings of it this is very valuable. Thank you for taking the time to write this up and share with us.

17 Likes

Absolutely super resource @JPL I shall tweet/fb it immediately, and again during the week. Thanks.

13 Likes

Great work. Thanks for this as it will help some of my friends to understand maidsafe better.

6 Likes

This is brilliant mate, thank you so much!

3 Likes

This is a really great post, I think it should be pinned on top of the forum as an entry for newcomers !

Maybe this could be turned into : a combination of data center hosted machines , as these are not actually servers.
The way you describe it could make people think it still uses a form of client/server architecture for now, and that it will disappear in the future. In fact the data center machines run by MaidSafe are exactly the same as everyone’s machines, excepted for their location in a data centre.

11 Likes

Yep good point. I’ve change that now. Thanks

3 Likes

Dont share this, im still collecting :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Thanks for putting this together. Will definitely be citing your items/links to spread the world. Really appreciate it.

This.

2 Likes

Another point related to this is that uses are free to run nodes on ‘data center hosted machines’, not just from home. In fact, some people have to at this point if they want to participate in the testnets because their home internet connection is too slow.

3 Likes

indeed, including me !

2 Likes

Yes I do that too. I want people to easily understand this post at a basic level, though. I don’t want to over-complicate things with too much detail. People will learn about their options soon enough if they want to run a vault.

5 Likes

@JPL I thought you’d be interested… I just received the Good Share badge for this post, which means that in four days, my sharing of it has alone brought over 300 visitors! :wave:

I think I’ll mention that on Twitter :wink:

16 Likes

Perhaps pin to top|right of /r/safenetwork and /r/maidsafe too…

This is very useful too: as above for crypto-heads#7: https://safe-network-explained.github.io/safe-for-bitcoiners

5 Likes

Great stuff! Thanks for putting it out there. I’m really gratified by the reception this post has got. I’ll revisit it on Thursday after the next update when hopefully there will be some new developments to tell people about.
Cheers :slight_smile:

9 Likes

Updated to explain why the network is currently inaccessible to new accounts

2 Likes

Updated to include Testnet 16 and the invites

6 Likes

This right here folks ^

1 Like

Updated to account for the fact that the network is currently down for external users and to point devs in the direction of mock routing. Can anyone point me towards some good documentation for mock-routing?

2 Likes

Try @hunterlester blah

3 Likes