Nick on BBC World Service Radio

Starts at: 44:44 min.


Anything from BBC about Yemeni children by any chance?

Nick: “…it is not about setting up your own server…”
Announcer: “…so your own private server”


I think terminologies has to be fought with a replacing terminology to make clear that it is different, otherwise it can be interpreted that the explanation it is ironically describing more details of the first concept.

So for example, instad of something like this:
Q: "So is it a server?"
A: “Well, actually it is a network where every one can share resources and become part of a distributed network”

(The answer presupposes that the interviewer and the audience understand that what is the definition of a server and immediately will understand that the given answer doesn’t describe one. This is expecting too much from the audience. It can have the unintended consequence of the interviewer understanding that what you are describing is an added feature of the server, instead of proposing something radically different )

Ideally it should be like this, fight a term with another term.
Q: "So is it a server?"
A: “No, it is a peer-to-peer network, it is a network where every one can share resources and become part of a distributed network”

Basically the same answer, but now it is very clear that it is a different concept.


I find the whole ‘serverless’ thing confusing, given that every farmer will be serving data to the network, and as such is a mini server.

“(ser´ver) (n.) A computer or device on a network that manages network resources” - webopedia.

You couldn’t have a peer to peer network without servers, it’s just that the server function is distributed to each individual peer.

It’d be strange to tell someone they’re not running a kind of server when they’re storing other people’s files to be served on demand.

Surely the safe network is a distributed server made up of many individual nodes, rather than being serverless?

as soon as the phrase peer to peer is mentioned the worlds alarm bells go off…

peer to peer = file sharing, torrents, bad bad, destroy!!

have to find another way to explain or will be tarnished by misunderstanding…



Nope. This is not about semantics.
This is like discussing that a horse is also an automobile because “auto” means itself and “mobile” comes from movement, and a horse moves itself, therefore it is an automobile as well.

Well, yeah, if you semantically dissect words like that. But out there these technical terminologies represent specific meanings.
When we say “server” describes a server in a “client-server architecture”. A peer-to-peer network is completely a whole different animal.

Read more about it here:


grid network…

easy to understand, implies shred resources and avoids the dreaded p2p connotations…?



I still don’t get it.

Can you explain how a computer that stores files for the sole purpose of providing that data on demand to third party computers is not a server?

Can you explain how a computer that is browsing / retrieving files stored on third party computers is not a client?

If a horse and car are being used for transport, then they are both vehicles, even if very different to each other.

If a traditional server is being used to serve data, and a Safe farming node is being used to serve data, they are both servers, but of a different nature.

From the Wikipedia description, Safe farmers seem to be running ‘servers’ and people browsing the Safe network are running 'clients:

The client-server characteristic describes the relationship of cooperating programs in an application. The server component provides a function or service to one or many clients, which initiate requests for such services.

Servers are classified by the services they provide. For example, a web server serves web pages and > a file server serves computer files. A shared resource may be any of the server computer’s software and electronic components, from programs and data to processors and storage devices. The sharing of resources of a server constitutes a service.

Whether a computer is a client, a server, or both, is determined by the nature of the application that requires the service functions. For example, a single computer can run web server and file server software at the same time to serve different data to clients making different kinds of requests. Client software can also communicate with server software within the same computer.[2] Communication between servers, such as to synchronize data, is sometimes called inter-server or server-to-server communication.

I understand that Safe is a very different model of client-server architecture, but it certainly seems like the Safe network is made up of ‘server’ functions (farming), and ‘client’ functions (browsing).

It’s good to differentiate between standard architectures and the Safe network architecture, but saying that there are ‘no’ servers seems strange given that by definition, each farmer is acting as a kind of file / other resource server.

To jump in here, my explanation is a comparison with BitTorrent clients. The clients also serve as seeds or what it’s called and can deliver parts of files to other clients. That’s not exactly a server which traditionally delivers the whole file. Similarly, farmers only deliver chunks of files, and in order to download a whole file from the SAFE network chunks are delivered from several farmers all over the network.

1 Like

It a matter of convention. A shop assistant is often a server providing a service. But we don’t consider them a server for the current understanding of a “server” when talking of the internet.

A device that provides the occasional piece of data, such as a vault, is not considered a server when talking of the internet.

A internet server is providing a full service for the transaction at hand. Often referred to as server-client model. A vault only provides a minute part of a service, because rather than a server-client a vault is a storage device that provides a little bit in a decentralized internet system


Its the environment that classifies what a server is. In internet terms a server provides a service in server-client transaction

In SAFE the vault is only a cog in the mechanism that provides a transaction (retrieve a file for instance) and the mechanism is a decentralized network that performs the transaction rather than any particular machine/vault.


Yes, if you wanted to you could call everything a server unless it never provides data and only consumes it. It’s just not helpful.

If someone says “server” there are a bunch of likely conventions and assumptions that this evokes, and if someone says p2p they are different - overlapping yes, but quite distinct in ways that are developed and affirmed through use and convention based on what is helpful.

TLDR; you can call vaults servers of you want to, but it will confuse people, so it’s not helpful.


node instead of server?

each node can route and provide services from itself or from others it can also make calls on other nodes for resources they are also providing.

these nodes form a grid of resources that can be used by all the other nodes as required.

as each node is in effect the same there are no servers of clients only resources and services

sound about right?