An alternative economic system for the SAFE network

Well put @mav. We shouldn’t be shy of pointing out why we like the Safe Network compared to other supposedly liberating projects which don’t deserve that label.


Gets right to the point - this gem is worth repeating elsewhere.


The network would only decide to keep or lose it based on if there is money being spent on keeping the file alive. It wouldn’t be able to decide based on any other reason.

In this sense it is akin to regular property. You pay taxes and whatnot for the government to protect your property. As soon and everyone quits paying taxes (keep fees), there is no longer a government protecting your property (death of data), so it is now only upto you to protect it by yourself (hosting the data yourself).

It works out exactly how property is protected now.

This is what we are trying to avoid :grinning:

We are aiming to create an alternative to the status quo, where you do actually have meaningful ownership of data on the internet, unsupported by a central authority such as a government. That really is a core aspect of the Safe Network. You are free to disagree with that of course, but that’s what we are building.


Its becoming clear to me that SAFE isn’t about protecting data ownership rights, but about improving access to potentially censored data privately. That’s its primary goal.

Irreversible perpetual data provides worse data ownership rights. Data ownership is the right to choose how, when, where and by whom your data is stored and processed. That includes the ability to update incorrect data, transfer your data somewhere else and, of course, delete it.

In the case of publicly viewable data, there is the idea of copyright, in which a person claims ownership rights over the data they upload. The idea of perpetual data is obviously antithetical to this right, because once uploaded the user no longer has the ability to define how the data is stored and processed. I’m not arguing for copyright here, I’m simply stating that perpetual data is not compatible with this.

In the case of private data, the idea of perpetual data flies in the face of data ownership. It doesn’t matter if the data is encrypted and split into chunks, a user is still losing the ability to define the how, when, where and by whom of their data, as soon as they upload it. Data ownership includes the right to change your mind, of course.

Interestingly, you say that users and not farmers have the say, but its exactly the opposite! Once uploaded, your data is in the hands of the farmers who collectively enforce irreversible perpetual data.

If private data could be deleted then, of course, then this would change the data ownership story into something more positive.


This is in fact already the case - only published (public) data is perpetual, private data can be deleted although I think it would be useful for people to be able to choose to make certain private data non-delete (for example, to protect against ransomware).


You really must read the fundamentals in detail. This a wrong assumption. Also, private censored data makes no sense? You cannot see private data unless you own it. It’s private and can’t be censored.

The primary goal is Secure Access For Everyone to the world’s data. We all get smarter then.


The is conflating of private and public data in order to come up with this.

Private data is owned by the account holder and protected by the fact no one can delete the owner’s data, the owner is in control and decide themselves to keep or delete it. And the owner decides who to share their data with. Not Google or FaceBook or cloud provider or whomever

In fact a copyright owner could keep their work private and give those who pay the ability to see the copyrighted work(s). And revoke that right too if they wish.

Public data is exactly that public and of course no one owns it. Once its public anyone can copy it and store it on the Safe Network too.

Actually the network is not any farmer. Any farmer that removes chunks will be removed themselves eventually. And those chunks will be copied to another node.

A chunk is only good if there is a data map to understand the collection of chunks making up the file. One way a private file can be deleted is the datamap is deleted from the owners blob. No one will ever see that private file again. But the network will/has a feature that the owner can delete the private file and its chunks. Chunks for a private file are unique and are not part of deduplication since the chunks are salted with the owners ID.

I have seen a number of people in this topic tell you this is a part of the Network. It can be done.


My mistake, I’ve misunderstand previous comments to mean that this feature was under debate.


As others have pointed out already, this is not the case, I can define all those things with private data on the Safe Network, in ways that is just unimaginable on the web.

But I’d also like to perhaps clarify some things about perpetual data. All data on the Network will has the potential to be perpetual, in fact it’s the default, but it’s the owner that decides if it is deleted. So If I upload something, unless I specifically decide to remove it from the Network, it’s there and secure, and for me only. This is great because I don’t need to worry about it dropping off the network, or not being able to afford it’s upkeep, or forgetting to update my credit card details or whatever, and losing it. This will be a huge advantage in many ways over alternatives.

The exception is data you’ve made public. No-one can delete that, because you’ve put it in the public domain: its owner is now, effectively, everyone.

Now, I can understand some of the reservations and reactions to perpetual public data—data that can’t be deleted—it’s something I think about a lot. Are we creating a panopticon here? Will the very notion of perpetual public data change the way people behave, and use the Network?

Undoubtedly it will. Perhaps people will be more guarded, and limit what they share publicly on the Safe Network, that they would otherwise share on the current web. And perhaps this is more honest and transparent form of Internet… because what you publish currently on the web immediately leaves you control, and is ostensible there for ever, accept this fact is clocked in the illusion of control, and not really understood or grasped by many, if not most, people. With the Safe Network we make that plain.

(Although it is also worth pointing out that we also allow control over identities and anonymity when publishing, to put into this mix)

It does feel antithetical to privacy in some ways, that making something public, takes away control from me. And maybe there is a middle way, where I could have both mutable and immutable public data, but that anyone could change a mutable file, to immutable; thus giving a little wiggle room for error correction.

Yet this is not without its complications and drawbacks either. Not least of which is that any author of mutable public data becomes exposed coercive censorship by third parties.

So yeah, this are complex problems, and there is no doubt about that. A degree of self censorship (via a panopticon) on the one hand vs censorship via 3rd parties / the state, on the other.

But as it stands, the existing web seems to give us the worst of all these worlds.


I’ve worded that incorrectly. I was referring to the ability of people to access data anonymously. Data that would otherwise be censored by gov, corporations etc…


Thanks for your response Jim. So, to be clear all data uploads are treated identically cost wise, while in the case of private data the user can choose to delete the data at any point.


Yes, that is correct!


Usually forks are motivated by the desire to improve the economic rewards of a particular group that is also powerful enough to pull off a successful fork. So that big vs small block kerfuffle on Bitcoin favored block rewards accruing to the larger miners for example. It is not clear that forking to a SN that allows deletion of public data would benefit current and future farmers too much. More data may equate to more chances to earn SNT for a bigger group of farmers vs a smaller group of farmer nodes with possibly shrinking deletable data. Larger number of farmer nodes also means a much more secure network and more confidence your data will not be lost.

It has been pointed out that it will be almost impossible to fork the SN with data which makes sense. However creating a forked SN without data but a new economic incentive model and/or easier on-ramps that lures people away or at least allows new people to sign on at a relatively faster rate is certainly possible, so it is always worth exploring the incentive landscape.

I always imagined the problem of socially undesirable yet undeletable public data will be solved at the application layer. People will be free to subscribe to their filters of choice that effectively remove undesirable public data from their field of view. Censorship light with accountability, because if any of these filter maintainer groups start to overstep then people can just migrate to new filter set that is better aligned with their sensibilities.


I don’t have answers but I do have questions!

One thing that comes to mind is ‘data’ is not ‘property’. You know the whole ‘information wants to be free’ and ‘you wouldn’t download a car’… Is it reasonable to use existing property concepts for information? I doubt it. It goes against the fundamental nature of data. I can see the conflict between ‘own your data’ and ‘data is not property’, but it’s another angle to approach from. Maybe there’s a subtle difference between ‘perpetual’ and ‘undeletable’ and ‘ownership’ and ‘property’ that’s tripping us up? How does zero marginal cost affect the economic model of the network?

Is it the uploading that determines ownership status of the data, or the encryption key? Too murky to say with confidence, but I’d guess if I upload encrypted data, I still have a choice to ‘delete’ that data by destroying the encryption key. A bit of a zen approach: if an encryption key is destroyed but the encrypted data is not, does the decrypted data still exist?


Yes, I concur. But actually I was talking about something different here.

I meant will people hesitate and think more carefully before posting a forum comment, or firing out that ‘tweet’, knowing that public data is perpetual? Changing their behaviour?

I’m sure they will because we are transparent and honest about the immutability of pubilc data and because it is in their control. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Whereas the web gives the illusion of control and people can get themselves into sticky situations because of it.


True there is precedence for this and especially younger generations in certain jurisdictions have grown up and only ever known that they must be careful about what they say in all public forums due to heavy surveillance.
The rise in popularity of ephemeral private group messaging apps appears to be in response to this while public forums like twitter are for posting general consumption fortune cookie-like posts.


It also is more obvious as to why it doesn’t matter if some want to fork it, and it doesn’t negate those who value the original (or the fork).

At some point the anti-crypto crowd that pretends to be pro-crypto realized that it doesn’t really matter if they can trick many into believing a brand is, or should be, a thing… those who know better can’t be forced to come along.

With freedom comes wealth, and with wealth comes everyone else. Those who understand the keystone can’t be swayed by pretenses without foundation.

Ultimately all data is public currently. Your photos are backed in a cloud with tags that link directly to your identity, deleted posts on facebook are stored in their servers for data mining. Whatsapp says it maintains p2p encryption and privacy but they don’t let anyone see the code they use so how can we know? Let’s not get started on Chinese telecoms, apps and phone companies.

The Safe Network is great to solve some of these issues but even such a massive step towards regaining privacy and property over your data doesn’t go far enough in addressing the lack of privacy encoded in most smartphones, IoT devices and everything else.


That’s backward. Just as you can’t design physics so that planes can fly (instead, you design planes by using how physics work), you can’t just redefine economics and expect reality to happily comply.

I used to be a huge fan of the Safe Network and I still respect its goals – I just don’t think they are realistic. It’s for the same reasons @GeekOverdose brought up: paid once, serve forever, hoping new payments (that add to the storage burden forever) would cover the cost of all previous ones is an economic impossibility.

It’s like a pyramid scheme: you gotta have new stuff because if you miss even a little bit, you no longer have the funds to pay for the old. It’s an extremely fragile situation, one in which any small hick-up can lead to large-scale collapse where people (since the incentives for staying are gone or negative) leave the network en masse and much of the data gets lost forever.

By the way, the argument that storage becomes cheaper and cheaper doesn’t hold. We still manage to fill up all space year in and year out since our expectations match (no: generate!) that growth of storage space.

Who knows, maybe it’ll work, it’s worth a try. I just can’t see how it would, founded on such dysfunctional economics that is skewed towards collapse.