An alternative economic system for the SAFE network

It isn’t an impossibility, it is, like a pyramid scheme sound until you run out of road. What you are saying is that it will run out of road.

You could say the same applies to life on the planet, that once the limits are reached it must stop, yet it survives and evolves, the biomass grows, and it recovers after massive extinction events to produce ever more variety and capture more of the energy available to fuel it.

You are making assumptions, but they are assumptions in one direction, while the network is based on a different set of assumptions. If you look at economic growth, it works in a similar manner: the world economy relies on growth, and there are different sources of this growth. Some are running low or reaching limits (resources, ecology etc) while others are accelerating (technology, automation).

So it is a debate, or rather an experiment. The Safe Network experiment is based on observation, analysis and design and we can debate whether that is valid, sound etc. but in the end we will only learn by experiment.

As always with people speaking with certainty about something, I recognise it is a belief you hold strongly but that this doesn’t make it true. IMO there’s much to be said for not being so certain about a particular opinion so I don’t find your certainty convincing. The points you make are valid, but not givens and the counter view is valid IMO.


Math disagrees with you. Perpetual cost equals about 5x to 7x current year one cost. (*redundancy needs on safe could increase this) So the economic question is whether or not people are happy to pay 7x up front. The safeness is worth the premium imo.


You should fork, and not include the impossible.

Pyramid schemes require the base to grow fast than the tip. We don’t need thar for safe. We just need a steady stream of new data. As costs go down, the stream can even slow and the network will still sustain itself.

Even if you charged for GETs and rented space, if people didn’t use the network, it would be insufficient to support it. Farmers would jack up prices as high as the market could bear and then give up. The network would still die.

I think the strong underlining point is that of there is little/no new data, the network has become irrelevant and unsustainable. The same happens with rent/pay4get too.

Given the economics of hardware, we can rely on it getting relatively cheaper to host, which can cope with a shrinking market. People with spare space can also soak up some load with a very low cost of farming.

I’m relatively comfortable with the economics. We will see how it goes.


I suspect for much of the data, it’s a difference between choosing paying next to nothing or hardly anything at all. Unless you are pushing gigabytes up each day, the costs are going to be low regardless.

The price per gb is one thing, but real life costs are another. People pay silly money for takeaway coffee, they drink it by the cup, not by the gallon.


Assuming the network is growing and people are using it, then all the mail sent, the blog entries, the posts in forums, the safetweets, and the huge number of small things people are uploading to the web everyday will cost each individual person almost nothing, maybe a cent (we expect).

When we look at it though its not the individual cents the tokens represents, but the 100’s of millions of them that will see the network continue to thrive. Then the uploads of files is added to that.

And as you say if people are not uploading, posting, etc then why even does the network exist, its basically dead, or a specialised relatively tiny network with people willing to run nodes for effectively free.


Given that a price per put could be at a premium for lifetime storage vs temporary, farmers may be drawn in too. I suspect they will concentrate on the more now rather than worrying about several years down the line. After all, if the network does collapse, they will have still made more money in the short term.


I want to point out one thing that ties to a lingering doubt I have about the network: that the world economy relies on growth is totally a choice made by humans, and to a growing number of people it is clear that economic growth has to stop before money eats the entire world (it has already eaten way more than is healthy for communities and ecologies). Either by wise choice or under existential threat (perhaps a bit of both), a transition to a system that better matches the laws of nature (positive-interest-bearing money is quite an anomaly there) seems inevitable to me.

And so, supposing we make it to a steady-state, circular-based economic system, how is SAFE to sustain itself? (Mainly: if data keeps piling up but costs of storage do not decrease)

Yes it might well be the long view but worth mentioning I think. And sorry if that’s been covered already and I missed it.

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Yet my post was not principally about economic growth, it’s an evolutionary principle of life itself to create in the face of challenges and ultimately the limitations imposed by the laws of physics. See:

Even against the universal law of entropy, one of the most fundamentally principles governing everything, life uses energy to create order, increasing complexity, biomass and perhaps most significantly consciousness (in human experience anyway).

We understand that physics requires this will all end one day, but so far into the future that we need not concern ourselves with it.


Yes I appreciate that (and I agree BTW). I bounced off your mention to ask my question, because in my understanding SAFE network sustainability seems tied to perpetual growth that doesn’t look sustainable (those ever-decreasing storage costs).

EDIT: As far as I see, that growth could even become unsustainable in the relatively near term (near enough to warrant concern at least), if/when the global economy collapses. In which case I might want SAFE more than ever. Not wanting to enter debate about if/when/how collapse happens, just pointing out that it’s enough of a possibility for many.

I might be well be missing something though. Any thoughts or pointers on that question will be most welcome.

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I think in general people are blindsided by time. Unless there is an immediate balancing at the same time we are prone to focus on the imbalance.

That isn’t to say time solves all, but what appears imbalanced to begin with has less obvious balancing features over time.

For example, farming rewards should be higher when storing forever, but the farmers may only be interested in it being more rewarding in the short term. If every new farmer thinks the same, they will be attracted to the larger profits for as long as new data is added.

If data stops being added, it could be a sign that the network is no longer needed. It may have become obsolete. If it is too unpopular to attract new data, then time is up. Those farmers after fat profits will have long moved on. Those left may be using spare kit and do it because it feels right to keep it going. Maybe as hosting costs fall and the software is upgraded, it could become popular again and the cycle will continue. Or not.

Imo, worrying about a stale network being unsustainable is a bit like worrying about deckchairs on the titanic. It really isn’t the big problem. The problem is that the whole thing is going down. If we hit that problem and the ship can’t right itself, it is going down anyway.


Bitcoin was designed with deflation in mind, that is, it’s relative value should keep going up indefinitely. That goes against using it for buying and selling. It’s hard to argue that bitcoin is used almost exclusively for speculation (“HODL” and speculative trading) and almost not at all for anything in the real world. So, I would argue bitcoin is actually broken since it depends on new money flowing in to keep the HODLers happy, and the moment that stops, more and more will stop selling and the price will crash (especially since it’s not connected to the real world through commerce). One of these times the crash may not stop at 10% of the ATH (definitely not when the next fancy thing comes around) but of course it will still be called a “dip” at 1% or 0.1%.


bitcoin is deflationary only by virtue of having a static supply. meaning that it’s ‘value’ will remain constant while things around it get cheaper: creating the illusion of deflation.

In that sense, money need not flow into bitcoin at all. it will deflate by itself automatically because stuff around it gets cheaper (so you can buy more with btc tomorrow than today). This is actually a good kind of deflation, where the source of deflation isn’t a sudden demand shock but rather the speed of the economic growth outpacing speed of monetary supply growth.

Now all that is assuming that btc’s market cap reaches an appropriate level where price discovery is strong and it becomes more stable. Right now, its far too small to be stable and thats not a flaw. No asset gunning for what bitcoin is aiming for could ever be stable with such a relatively small market cap.

Gold has a market cap at 11T, bitcoin only at 590B. And gold isn’t even used significantly as a medium of exchange. Id say its fair to say: cut bitcoin some slack.


That’s just arguing over semantics. The volume used for buying and selling stuff is insignificant compared to speculation on Binance or just HODLing till the moon (and that’s where its being deflationary comes into play: the promise of continuous rise in value). Neither of these can bridge its value to the real world.

And where would that stability come when bitcoin is completely detached from reality since nobody is actually using it to do real-life stuff with?

What price discovery? When almost all of bitcoin’s volume is about speculation, it’s a ball tossed around by random forces in vacum in zero gravity: it will just go in the direction the last toss shoved it, there’s nothing to tie it to it’s supposed “real value.”

Gold is used in technology so it has a definite lower limit on its value. Bitcoin has nothing of the sort.

Bitcoin needs a fuckton of energy just to keep it in existence. Gold you can bury today and find in the same state after millennia.


If BTC were used to buy “real life stuff” in, say, Venezuela, Nigeria or El Salvador, how would we know about it?

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Why should I care? I wont be here after millenia. If world goes to shit so much Internet colapses, we will be fighting for food not gold.


I think the app they are pushing in El Salvador uses lightning network, so hypothetically should be very low fees.


Hard to argue with math. Put Bitcoin price on the log growth curve (or search for someone that has done it already) and you will see Bitcoin is well along the LGC that almost all technological innovations have and will follow. Diminishing volatility and returns which IS a process of price discovery. If you just look at a linear chart then you will miss this.

As for “nobody is actually using it” absolutism there is also hard data refuting. See the exponential growth in gift card services like Bitrefill (one possibly use case of Safe’s DBCs where even your corner store could effectively issue/process Gift cards to swap directly for their goods and services - going to hard to ban gift cards), or the huge demand for the various crypto to visa/MC debit cards, or overwhelming demand for Jack Mallers Strike by Zap lightning back payments service… just a small sample of many pointing to increasing real world usage growing at an incredible pace.

Sure speculation may be the lions share of transactions, but the LGC trajectory is telling us something important about price discovery and the future it promises by similar historic examples.

Only if all the Bitcoin network participants all give up on the system and infrastructure to swap to the new one. Betamax vs. VHS there is a hell of a lot more to toppling an incumbent than just being “better”. It should not need to be said but Bitcoin and Ethereum are valuable because of network effects and all the supporting infrastructure and real world value transfer methods that implies.

Edit: Save you a search, source.