Blockchain problems are blockchain based, that’s for sure.
Which decentralized network doesn’t need to be transparent? Your local coffee shop doesn’t need to be transparent (unless you care if they buy coffee from “sustainable” suppliers), your local bar doesn’t need to be transparent. But if you’re (for example) buying knock-off meds, you’d probably like to know what corners have been cut (or not) in making your knock-off pills.
I don’t see how in any network participants nodes aren’t end users. They’re participating for some reason, otherwise they wouldn’t be on the network. Hence, they’re all end users.
No approach except PoW blockchains has proven to achieve anything close to self-sustaining existence (Bitcoin hasn’t either, but it’s close IMO). Maybe the SAFE network can accomplish that, but until that happens it is premature to claim there’s a better way.
The consensus algo of Maidsafe (those “groups”) is a good place to attack the SAFE network. Not saying such attacks will work, but that’d be a nice place to give it a shot. I don’t know how to calculate the odds of success, but I’d like to know how many bot nodes would one need to accomplish the following Sybil attack, assuming a 5000 node strong SAFE network:
- Join the network
- Signal to the rest of the botnet you’re in group X
- If your group doesn’t contain enough (I don’t know how many is that) nodes to mess up the group, leave the network
- Keep repeating 1-3 until you happen to strike gold
Even if you need a 20,000 strong botnet, those are inexpensive. Let’s say it costs you $2,000/hour (I’m pretty sure it’s less than that) and if you need 48 hours for this attack to succeed, it’d cost you less than $100K in software and “services” to harm the network. This is just a bunch of assumptions, and I’m sure we’ll see comments like “we don’t know yet how it’s gonna work so it’s just wild guessing”, so before that happens, here’s the official opinion:
To circumvent this, the attacker would require the ability to surround speciﬁc Vaults in the SAFE Network. This cannot be achieved, as it would require being able to effectively generate different values which, when hashed with SHA-512, result in close hashes around one particular point.
Cannot be achieved, huh!
So if you need to surround every vault by 3 botnet vaults, how many botnet vaults do you need? If you keep rejoining as described above, you probably need considerably fewer. And the best time (lowest cost) to attack will be early on when the network has fewer nodes.
Given that the chance of success is a mathematical certainty, then it becomes just a matter of cost/benefit analysis. If it costs you $5,000,000 to destroy a $6,000,000 network, you likely win.
Of course the same is possible with Bitcoin, but it hasn’t been done and maybe that’s because by the time the opportunity became obvious, the network was worth 50-100 million bucks and outside of reach of common criminals. Now in all likelihood only high-end criminals (such as the US government) can afford to attack Bitcoin. So although the both networks are prone to Sybil attacks, I think SAFE is going to be at significant risk at the outset and maybe for many months, and after 5+ years of crypto craze low-end malicious actors are many.