In their mail list:
...what's the deal? Is it a scam? "David Irvine began work on MaidSafe in 2006. He raised $5 million for the project" april 2014 "It raised over $7 million in Mastercoins and Bitcoins." They've been working on it for almost 10 years and still...nothing?
So far I think maidsafe is not the right approach. The mix between central and decentral is not inherent to the problem that's being solved.
MaidSafe (MS) is an inadvertent (apparently due to a lack of historical information) attempt to realize the experiment Jim McCoy, Bram Cohen, Zooko O'Hearn and I set out to perform with Mojo Nation. They are doing this with the advantage of the experience of bitcoin. MN was sort of Freenet + digital currency. Unlike the file sharing systems that came before Freenet is ublication-based. Both file sharing (FS) and publication content distribution approaches have their pros and cons. FS is simpler but offers little or no plausible deniability about the sharing activities. Publication offers much better deniabilty but more complex and requires more resource commitments on the part of its users. Both suffer from limitations based on popularity. MN tried to find a sweet spot by adding a resource-based currency to solve the persistence problem by paying user clients to offer storage and communication bandwidth. Unfortunately, MN never really got off the ground, due to a lack of funding, but it got far enough to encourage Bram to create BitTorrent and Zooko to create Tahoe LAFS. I tried to get Bram (and some others through client add-ons) to include some sort of digital currency to BT but it never happened. McCoy patented MN's content distribution systems with resource-based currency around 2001/2. Not sure if the patent is still in force, if Jim is even aware of MS or if he's even care if MS appears to be using MN's approach.
btw apparently maidsafe also patented some things. Not a fan of patents really (bit of an understatement - IMO they should be banned). Maidsafe took some flak for it and tried to claim they were defensive patents. I think the misunderstanding is that when startups fail, patents get sold to the highest bidder. Ie the entrepreneur who thinks its a useful thing to do creates 30 years of headache for an ecosystem from his 2 year time-horizon thinking. We've even seen it before in ecash specifically with the digicash patents that were sold at bankruptcy to infospace and so there was a period where no one could use basic blind sigs and various work arounds were tried (blinding agnostic server, Wagner's blind MAC/ZKP/Lucre, server-privacy/systemix/ricardian server). That sucked. I am not sure about Maidsafe. But there are a lot of scams in alt-coin space. Its very easy to take investors money and then fail to deliver. The investors are non-qualified investors, so the legality is also questionable. But even on an ethical basis, the investors are not having legal or professional review of the prospectus, and the "investment contract" is typically ridiculous such that a professional would ROFL about the proposal. You own nothing. Its a pattern repeated a few times in alt-coin space. The other fallacy in my view is that this is somehow plausible that a service (aka app-coin) with value could defend a floating valued alt-coin. Lets say maidsafe as an example - so far I guess its vaporware, or under research & development vs zooko's LAFS for example which has been running and incrementally improving for years. But lets say they manage to develop something useful with usable functionality and reliability etc which is no small talk, lets say they get workably close to matching LAFS functionality after spending the $10m or whatever they raised. Now why would people use it over LAFS which is free? If maidsafe offered better functionality than LAFS (seems doubtful but hypothetically) its FOSS software. Why would someone not fork it and remove the maidsafe token. The resources that provide the service are after all not provided by maidsafe nor the holders of the maidsafe coins - so why would users and peers in the network choose to support the enrichment of maidsafe the company nor the naive people who put money into the "investment". You often hear people talking about these schemes as "donations" and thats probably closer to the truth - if you think the tech is interesting and you donate some money to it to see it get built, without expectations of getting your money back, you're going to get less of an unpleasant surprise when it fails to materialise or it simply gets forked if it even works. I can see that Zooko for example might look at this and go huh? WTF? He implemented LAFS with various modest funding models and has a working system - and yet some folks with hand wavy ideas that may or may not be mathematically possible even jump into the tech space paint an exciting hypothetical system picture and grab $10m+ of non-qualified investor money with an "investment contract" that says the investor owns nothing (other than sort of undefined value service tokens, that are not backed by control or ownership of the resources that might operate the to-be-implemented service). If nothing else these token sale contracts are fraught with moral hazard. Investment contracts are structured the way they are by mutual negotiation between investor and startup for reasons of interest alignment and incentive. Those structures were arrived at via 100+ years of experience of what works and what doesnt, and prior generations investment scams and bubbles. It seems like a bit of a rerun of some early last century investment scams that motivated the regulations we currently have to protect investors from scammers.