When will we get an idea of how quickly SAFE coins will be created? Can any information be gathered on this before everything goes live?
That completely depends on how many people use SAFEnet. It also depends on how many people share resources to the network, when the price is very high, people will share a lot of diskspace. That causes the number of SAFEcoin per Chunk or per MB. to go down a lot. So nobody really has a clue. And when you PUT data to the network, SAFEcoin is “burned” or given back to the network. So while some people farm and get new coins, others delete them.
If the amount of emitted SAFEcoin decreases when more people are farming, then the emission rate over time should be fairly predictable, just like the BTC emission rate for mining. What’s the difference?
Is there a cap on the total number of coins or can the supply grow infinitely?
Your right that things should be more stable. The network adjusts to the resources that are available.
In Bitcoin, there are coins payed to miners every 10 min. If a lot of people mine, than the difficulty will go up, so that it will always be around 10 min. No matter if they have 100.000 users or 1 million. In SAFEnet it’s different. When 1 million people use SAFEnet, probably more coins are farmed than when 10.000 people use SAFEnet. If 100 milj. people start to use the network, even more coins will be farmed (but also more people PUT data so there are coins deleted as well). Although it also depends on which data people request. When a videoclip like “Gangnam Style” goes wild and millions take a look at it, the network will serve most of the people using cached Chunks (no farming). So there are a lot of variables to the number of coins that are created. Take a look at the brand new Wiki for some more info as well There’s a whole topic on SAFEcoin.
The number of SAFEcoin is capped at 4.3 billion.
What is the objective behind this design choice?
The network is build in a way that all people should be able to use it. Small users, big users etc. The SAFEcoins are like digital cash. You earn some by providing Chunks, and you pay some on the other hand when you PUT data to the network. If the same amount of coins would come out every 10 minutes, the price would be very volatile when more people PUT and GET data from the network. In this way, with a correction of the Farming-rate, things should be more stable. But that’s my guess. The Devs and especially David will know the exact details.
I don’t follow. Why would a steady and predictable stream of coins result in a volatile price?
If the demand is 10.000 coins and there are only 50 coins coming out every X minutes the price will go up very fast. If the demand is 50 coins and there are 10.000 coins coming out every X minutes the price will plummet because there are too many coins. What Maidsafe does with the SAFE network is making the distribution of coins event based instead of time based (the network can’t know at which hour or minute there’s a need for coins (incentive to provide resources to the network) but the network can see if it needs more resources so it will distribute more coins if that’s the case.
You might this paper worth reading