MaidSafe blog -- The Power of the Crowd series


Thanks. I’m quite in agreement with you. And evolution of circumstances, needs and tech will certainly always require adaptation. Like you, I’m pretty sure pods are not the answer. I think Nick and David have also indicated as much and are probing for a more broad community-based solution.

If you haven’t yet, I recommend listening to the podcast on Tezos and reading the Position Paper. There is some useful stuff there for SAFE, I’m fairly sure.


Hi Chris, first of all I’d just like to concur with @fergish that I’m glad we are having this conversation, because I think it is of great importance and I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and contributions. I know we all have different ideas/perspectives and that these often conflict, but there is some overlap too. I’m wary of getting into idealogical debate here as it’s probably not the most constructive thing to do.
Can we agree perhaps that the main goal is to facllitate people doing whatever they want to do, insofar as that is possible perhaps?
Anyway, it appears to me that we have 2 basic questions here:

  1. what governance model do we apply to the Network?
    (To provide for infra-structure)
  2. What governance model do we apply to the community?
    (Policing, welfare etc)
    As we are talking about complicated issues here, it may be helpful to separate these things in discussions.
    Your concerns appear to be around question 1.
    The way I see it, Maidsafe has just built all the roads and will initially have the contract for road maintenance. This, along with partnerships with various businesses planning to build along the roads is how they intend to sustain themselves.
    Your concern appears to be “Who decides where the roads go to and what would be useful additions?” - and you have proposed a solution.
    I don’t really see this solution as workable personally, because it doesn’t take into account the larger community of road users. A small group with an ill-conceived idea could cause detriment to others. Any Libertarian, individualistic approach can only be made if it concerns the individual only. Anything that affects the larger group/community must be a decision made including all the community. This is where representative Democracy comes in in my view - there is no feasible Liberterian alternative answer to this problem in my view.
    Now, as I say Maidsafe currently has the maintenance contract and will retain it as long as the larger community is happy with what they provide - if not they will lose the contract and essentially a fork will occur.
    Remember that this is for maintenance and I believe the decisions as to where the roads go and who is rewarded are only initially going to be made by Maidsafe.
    This is why we are looking at how to transition to a community directed governance scheme and how this might work. It is my opinion that this can only be feasible using democratic principle and requiring consensus - the power of the crowd.
    At the same time we should do our best to provide for people to build their Libertarian or whatever side roads and towns etc.
    The basic Democratic model facilitates other ideologies on top of it - this does not work the other way round. An analogy would be Secularism, which provides an environment for people to practise their religions without fear of discrimination etc - again this does not work the other way round in a theocratic state.
    Anyway, waffled on long enough, so will comment on question 2 later… :smile:


Ok, walked the dog now, so onto question 2…lol :smile:

We now know that whatever mechanism is adopted to sort out governance of question 1 is going to be funded by the 5% dev reward that is hard coded into the system, but what about question 2?
In the real world, the provision of welfare and funding for different special interest projects etc is paid for by the tax system and we also have various charities. At present with the Safenet model the Maidsafe Foundation is pretty much responsible for this kind of stuff.
I think you can loosely think of this charity as collecting all the tax and deciding where it should be spent. This model will I think lead to all the same complaints about where the tax is spent by Govt.
What if people such as David Irvine fancy doing their sea-steading idea, or someone wants to start a cooperative, or an African farmer wants to start a small enterprise etc? How would we fund these things, who would decide if it was a good idea or investment? How can we provide a chance for a basic living for the weak and vulnerable - should we even care, or just let the free market ride roughshod and trample them under?
These are questions we have to find answers to as a community when considering what kind of governance model to adopt.
It is now being realised in the real world that maybe a Universal basic income is the way to go, maybe welfare and charity aren’t the best approaches and have their own problems. I’d like to think that the way the Safenet farming mechanism works was intended to act as a form of UBI - it certainly could be in Third World areas, creating micro-economies.
So what about the foundation then, how do we change the governance of it to provide for these various projects? I’d suggest we work towards changing it into a DAO.
Perhaps the Maidsafe Foundation retain say 30% of the funds to direct as they see fit and the other 70% is pitched to the community for? :smile:


Good, thoughtful articles. As the intention is to use the ‘power of the crowd’, I offer my contribution to the discussion!

One of the statements that immediately struck me was that “We need to frame the debate about the future of the internet, before its fate is decided for us by politicians and business people, who do not share our vision.”

That statement struck me a bit (unintentionally) restrictive. For if we are talking about a global Internet, then everyones voices need to be included - politicians and business people, liberals, conservatives, traditionalists, futurists, socialists, libertarians and many more. If we narrow the contribution to those with similar philosophies as John Perry Barlow, then the Internet we present to the world will not serve the interests of the world, but only a group of people that subscribe to that particular philosophy. As it happens, I find Barlow’s declaration, allowing for some poetic exaggeration, pretty extreme, but, of course, he gets a shout just like everyone else.

So I think the answer, then, to what the Internet should look like should be based looking at how it has served the world’s varied interests for the last 20 years.

I think your questions are spot on.

As for solutions, I’m quite taken with Jaron Lanier’s answer of ‘how to fix it’. Which he presents in his book ‘Who Owns the Future?’ I’ll attempt to summarise it here.

Lanier expands the notion of individual ownership to include all the data that a person creates: health data, creative output, translations…everything. His hypothesis is that while computers can get very good at doing all sorts of things, they will always require data from us to work. Thats how Google’s, Microsoft’s and IBM’s ‘AI’ work, using machine learning on big (user) data.

What I find very attractive about this model is that it fundamentally respects individual privacy and data. A user can choose if they want to sell their data and for how much. People are rewarded for their useful contributions, rather then in the current ‘free services’ model, where they only gain ‘informal’ benefits for their data. I suspect it also means that people are more willing to pay for services, as they are also being formally paid.

Jaron’s model has many issues, of course, but I think, overall, its the correct way forward. You sumarised the sticky ones nicely:

Should we not have more of a say in how our data is used? Should we not have greater ownership of our data? Or should we accept that intellectual property, copyright and ownership are out-dated concepts?

The fundamental question is about ownership. (I don’t think its a coincidence that some Internet companies play fast and loose with both user data and copyrighted material, because at the end of the day, its all about whether ownership is respected or not.)


Totally agree, we’ve got to consider the mainstream and what is likely to appeal to the majority of people to make Safenet, a success. I’d say there are also pretty good reasons why we are not living in Anarcho-Capitalist societies for example… :smile:
To be honest, I think the ideas of sea-steading or planting a flag in some unclaimed swamp area and declaring it an independent state or living in trees etc is nothing more than surrender.
I ain’t fleeing to the woods, or the sea, or a swamp – I want to think a little bigger and take over the actual prime real estate!
You don’t invent the wheel only to make a tree swing or swim ring from the tyre do you!!! lol


I’m not offering any solutions, but I am pointing to a framework of self-management whereby an organisation can find their own solutions.

Look at the network…remember that it was heavily influenced by nature and the recognition that it’s simple repeatable patterns were the way to go. Remember how David had another bout of inspiration and came up with Data Chains and has resulted in another evolutionary leap.

Evolution is absolutely what self-management is all about and I’m suggesting harnessing that same inspiration to evolve how the code base is manipulated after launch.

The network is the code base and its all that matters once we’ve trusted what algorithms the guys have put in there.

So we have our code base and it was good, does god (David) now run it or maybe it’s the pantheon (maidsafe) that makes the decisions on what features are required, what are issues that need fixing and who has the solution that gets rewarded.

Maybe the debate ends here though, because Maidsafe come out and say…yes we are running the codebase now and forever and doing it for profit. This is the status quo (orange/green) hierarchical business model, the pursuit of growth, profit from product (the network).

Or alternatively they come out and say, no we want this to be as robust from the outside as the design is on the inside. I would suggest this cannot be achieved in the long term with a hierarchical business model.

Robustness cannot be achieved with the ‘Power of the Crowd’ either, as that represents a conglomerate of disconnected, independent thinkers. The evolution from that, is the ‘Power of the Whole’ a network of connected thinkers continuously working to improve the whole…ie in the best interest of everyone involved.

I’m suggesting that the outside robustness of the network (humans) is impossible to achieve with any hierarchical model one cares to conjure up. Power of the Crowd, is heading down the right path, but lacks the evolution that is inherent in wholeness.


Don’t think its a stake holder model. No pseudo groups like ‘business.’ The stake holder is the end user as we are all end users that use the net. Another stake holder might be people who don’t use the net. But there are no special groups to give concessions to, no supply side BS please. This manifests in things like total end user control over the end user interface- no exploitation interface.

There is no one with a prior claim as that leads to stuff like phone companies saying you must use their toll roads and they must be able to breach your privacy and sell what they hear and interupt you at random for profit and force feed you ads and try to make it a crime to skip the force feeding and say you can’t have any alternative and make it more difficult for you to talk to certain people, also charge arbitrary constantly changing premiums for things like time and distance and be able to reset your opt outs to default opt you back in and insist on default opt in- in short criminality.


I’d just like to add that any voting mechanism should be based on 1 person 1 vote - not weighted dependent on how much Safecoin you have. This leads to money = power, which leads to massive inequalities, concentration of wealth and the rich running things - this was illustrated with Steemit.
This may involve giving up anonymity in order to take part in decision making though - perhaps unavoidable. :smile:


john Ferguson Really you need to do a skycoin interview, there iCO round has just finished, I bought in to hedge my bets, because I am frustration seeing safe network never finished…

They have different model of a community developer group that has been working year like maidsafe with no or little funding, now they have a better version of bitcoin wallet with no minning or POS rewards…

They have not 6 million dollar budget like maidsafe and will depend on the value of there skills alone… forum

I believe you will be impressed what they have achieved and what they plan to achieve.

As developer community project they need some help and have the same values of maidsafe, demonsaw and the rest…


If only :wink: The folklore is a bit beyond the reality. We are in good shape now, but unfortunately never have had millions in the bank, otherwise we would have had a bigger team and much shorter timescales.


Thanks for the tip. Looks interesting so I’ll check it out.


well it all getting desperate in my country. Australia has meta data recording, they have locked down and censored torrent sites this year. every year that passes we are getting screwed down. I be forced to use maidsafe or skycoin in the future but feeling very paranoid, even being on this forum i have built a profile picture for myself… The USA is even worse i hear now the great fire wall of china will be nothing…


Such a crucial point. Like in US where money equals media coverage = law.


This is the price we should try and avoid or at least mitigate. Not give up on finding a solution anyway. Even if that solution is give up id to pals or close groups and use the groups vote to carry forward etc. So web of trust type vote, but more web of known people or similar.


David, I agree but its almost like a public veil to counter the corporate veil. And the result will be transparency.


Yes, I was thinking along the same lines, however I think linking votes to size of holdings is an even worse scenario. Remember that even in the event of losing some anonymity in order to influence the direction we take everybody can still use Safenet anonymously if they choose. It’s just like the real world, I choose to not be registered to vote and accept I cannot influence things at elections.
I’m hopeful we can mitigate things in the ways you suggest though. :smile:


Much as the topic is close to my heart because of its importance, and the problems I see with current forms, I haven’t been able to follow this thread closely and so am not sure if this has been mentioned.

Sortition is an ancient (Greeks again) way of avoiding some of the problems of both direct and representative democracies, but has been used in contemporary settings too so there is good evidence about it (if you were to look, I assume). See here:

Lots of good stuff like this appears in the excellent Facebook [spit] p2p group, which is where I found it.

Silvio Micali's Algorand via Coindesk

Thanks, Mark. This is good stuff to think with.


Sortition is an important concept in [Algorand].(


Yes, I think this has its place reading about it. With Algorand it is a simple process as it is only always the same job that wants doing, so random selection is quite effective. If the job roles that need doing are varied, then would it be a bit trickier? I mean, would we just have separate groups to randomly pick from, such as specialist job A’s and specialist job B’s etc?
I can see this as being particularly useful for a counter balance measure for other more typical decision making processes too - like choosing a rotating House of Lords type of thing to provide a check/balance to the House of Commons (from which choices are made from more specialist groups perhaps?)