Cypherspace - coining new term

Safe Network and Scuttlebutt are both creating unenclosable spaces. Spaces where the imperial, colonial & corporate tools & logic of violent enclosure, extraction & erasure do not map nor have air to breathe.

a.k.a #cypherspace

(borrowed from Dan Hassan)

Safe Network is a re-use of existing online infrastructure and replicates data infrequently and carefully.

Scuttlebutt is an offline-first, device to device protocol that replicates data opportunistically and often.

These two approaches could have nice synergies… It would be interesting to me to see a Scuttlebutt Safe App. Its purpose would be to store the ever-expanding ‘blobs’ folder of photo’s and video clients that Scuttlebutt creates.

I then only need to carry the files of my close friends around in my scuttlebutt client. #someoneshould

cc @frabrunelle @Luandro


Scuttlebutt is a neat project with some great engineers building stuff on it, but as you noted it can become unwieldy very quickly because it replicates so much to each device and has to keep updating this every time you go online. I stopped using it for this reason but I think there are both great ideas and useful apps there which can be adapted to enhance SAFEnetwork.

Non of that is a criticism of Scuttlebutt because it wasn’t built to scale. Also, the developers may well have idea or plans to improve these areas, I don’t know. Anyway, that is how it is currently - very neat and effective in small scale situations.

I’m not sure if it makes sense to use SAFE and Scuttlebutt together though. That was one of my first thoughts when I learned about Scuttlebutt, but once you have your data accessible from every device from one place on SAFEnetwork, I think it makes more sense to build ‘offline first’ apps for things that you also want to be able to use when offline.

It is feasible to combine them, but I think most of what Scuttlebutt does can be done by having your SAFE storage mounted on the device you are currently using. No need to sync, just a way to cache some things locally and to be able to work offline, all of which suggests using the offline first approach.

What do you think?


I spent a good part of last year developing for SAFE and understanding it better. This year I dedicated to SSB as I felt it’s more mature, simpler and scales perfectly for the apps I believe the future will be made off.

I find it strange that @happybeing thought that it isn’t scalable, maybe you haven’t had the chance to really try it out for real. I’ve been working on building mobiles apps for SSB, where scalability could be a big problem, yet we have been finding it ok to deal with. Of course there’s a long road ahead, but for the purpose it’s made for, it works perfectly.

We’ve had a discussion on SSB before about how the two could work together. And as I believe community mesh networks are the future of communication, this is how I fit them together:

I’m pretty sure we can already build a mobile app that could run both SAFE and SSB together, and I would love to try it out. I’m just waiting for SAFE to mature a bit, since I felt developing for it was too unstable (at least last time I tried).


Of course I’ve tried it out, as I said that’s why I gave up on it. After subscribing to a couple of social feeds it took literally hours to sync, or days for the Scuttlebutt feed.

I see that it can work for certain kinds of app at small scale, but it has limits and in discussing this with the devs who helped me try some features out, they acknowledged this was a problem that limits its usefulness.

So either I’m doing it wrong or we tried different things, or maybe your kit is better than mine. I recently upgraded my laptop, so as you obviously have something working well I’d be interested to try it again if you would be willing to describe what apps you use and how you use them (so if social, what you subscribe to), and how this performs for you.

If you’re willing to help show me the way I suggest starting a new topic so others can find it and follow, or we could do it on Scuttlebutt if you like - just give me a basic setup that you expect to work well for this and we can go from there, and again others can follow. I don’t have it on my new laptop yet so its a good opportunity to start from scratch (although I do have an id and can dig that out).

I would love to be wrong on this because I was initially very excited about Scuttlebutt and they have made some nice stuff.

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I see that it can work for certain kinds of app at small scale

Well, it really depends the design of the network you’re trying to work on. For local mesh networks, which scales a lot better then existing infrastructure, SSB scales way better, as discovery simply works. It would be the perfect fit for a huge array of the most common applications, as most applications would be “social”, as that is what communication should be for (not for profit).

There’s no reason to use a single protocol, which would be the equivalent of using a single medium to convey all information. SSB is designed to convey social information, and thus it’s amazing for it. For many other use cases there’s Dat, which is designed to convey data. SAFE does all that and much more, but with the cost of Safe Coins. That’s a big entry barrier for users. Thinking on the most scalable physical network solution, which are mesh networks, Dat’s and SSB’s barriers are close to none.

Of course SAFE, because of it’s complexity, has many other powers. Thus we should still use and advance it for more bureaucratic stuff such as money, laws, contracts, etc. But in a community level those things should be used the least possible. So scale depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

give me a basic setup that you expect to work well for this and we can go from there

I’m working on the best possible set of instructions to get started with SSB as part of a grant for the community and would love to help anyone out with this :slightly_smiling_face:

There’s this getting started guide which is what I used to get in, and worked alright for me. There are other clients with more experimental features, but Patchwork is the most mature. I’m helping out with the mobile app development which is still in alpha, but you can also try it out.

As part of a community network project in the village I live, I’m designing and developing an application ecosystem which uses SSB and Dat. You can try out the pre-alpha, but it’s meant to run on a mesh network, so I’m not even bothering with discovery for now.

Please start another thread here to help anyone else interesting in getting on-board, better bridging the communities. SAFE is already part of the discussion within SSB community. Just be aware that the SSB community is less about profit and more about cooperation, which may be a different fit for some of this community.

I tried Patchwork and other social clients and had the issues I described.

If you use them with a few friends and not much traffic it works fine I’m sure, as with ssb-git, but my experience was that it didn’t scale, so use in a global context is limited, and the same for more local apps with significant amounts of traffic.

My recent experience (on a slow 8yr old laptop) has been better than that.

Probably 20-30mins download initally then 30-seconds - min each new connection.

I’d encourage you to give it another go

Thanks, but as you point out, laptop speed doesn’t seem to be the issue.

I gave examples of what worked (low traffic such as ssb-git) , and what didn’t (large social feeds), and concluded that it doesn’t work at scale.

I haven’t yet found any use cases which both worked and which were useful to me, so I stopped using it.

Can you describe the ways in which you use it which work for you? Then I might go, “ah, I didn’t try that”.