SAFE Network and environmental concern

I’m concerned about the possibility, that SAFE Network encourages wasteful use of resources, such as energy and bandwidth. The reason for my concern is the plan, that downloading (browsing etc.) is free for the users, but paid to the farmers from networks purse.

In my opinion, there is a risk, that this would encourage the farmers to collude in order to maximize the rewards by maximizing the downloading of whatever files. While this may not be bad for the network, it could use too much of bandwidth to be sustainable. It could also make the system to use electricity just to make profit for the farmers. Are my concerns valid or not? Why?

In my opinion, the remedy would be to pay the farmers just for the space they provide and to not tie the reward to actual downloading. Their actual behaviour could and should be monitored, but the reward should not based on that. Or it should be in a way that the reward is paid for giving X amount of space for Y amount of time, no matter what happens in that vault during that time. But the network does not know time, so how to do it? Could there be a kind of “time” deducted from series of network events? Or is there another way to break the unbeneficial connection that is formed when farming rewards increases by the network usage?

Also, because it is the farmers action to give the space, but it is not his/hers decision what the network does with it, it would be fairer to reward all farmers equally according to their actions.


Not a single response… Sorry to bug you, but even if my concern is irrelevant, I would appreciate just a couple of lines from someone more knowable. Maybe @mav @happybeing @neo?

There is some info here.

Farming is quite a green technology.


Thanks for that link. I realize that the hard disk consumes much less than processors, but still, if there is an incentive to increase whatever energy consumption on possibly vast amount on devices, it might add up a remarkable amount anyway.

And how about clogging the lines with unnecessary downloads?

1 Like

While I can’t imagine the network being an energy issue - considering the opportunity cost of the energy use. This question is IMO too complicated for anyone to answer. I don’t think Satoshi and his early helpers would have imagined how big an energy hog mining would become … and for just the same logic, I don’t think we can imagine how much more or how much less energy the safe network may consume – as opposed to existing and future alternatives. Technology is in flux.

There is always a cost here - people still must pay their ISP who in turn pays for the bandwidth usage … so bandwidth costs are being paid by the user.

Ultimately, if the Safe Network succeeds it will be the global user base effectively saying ‘yes, this is cost effective for what we get in return’ … so for me anyway, it’s not a worry I have long term … short term there can be hiccups. If taking ‘crypto’ as a whole, then in a 20-30 years assuming the Safe Network becomes the dominant crypto, then we will look back and say that bitcoin and many of the relatively inefficient alts were those hiccups.

IMO only time can inform us though as there are too many variables at play for the human mind to grasp the problem.


And then it comes to the question if the costs (energy price) include the damage done by production.

I don’t know… in one sense it seems right to pay to the provider of the resources according to actual use. But it still seems to me there is an incentive to unnecessary use there. Sure, it will be limited by the costs of producers, but wouldn’t it be better to do without the pressure for overuse? It feels to me like I would get paid for leaving the tap running just a proper amount.

  1. This is how the current internet basically works. The users can use google, facebook etc etc for free and the companies stuff adverts into their web pages. SAFE browsing removes the adverts so less downloading, less wastage
  2. the farmers are now the companies earning off the advertising, except in SAFE there is no need for advertising and the network pays. So no difference, just less wastage
  1. What do you think the likes of google and facebook are doing? SAFE actually makes it harder for people to collude into large equivalent to datacentres that the likes of google and facebook are building in a constant building program. In SAFE when global the opportunities for farmers to collude are few and far in between. For farmers to join coops and take over a datacentre may happen but this is no more than whats happening today but less likely on the scale. The reason being SAFE will be tailored for the home user to use spare resources (no extra energy/equipt) less wastage.
  2. the clients/browsers already pay their ISP for the bandwidth they use so no noticeable differences.
  3. traffic between sections - this will increase but since the actual communications is done via low energy optics now-a-days this is the less of the energy problems. It is the server farms of the current internet that draws all the major power involved. And this will in a major way be replaced by the home user using energy they are using anyhow.

This is an issue because how does the vault prove they are actually storing the chunks and not just saying they are. Imagine when a cracker works out that all they have to do is modify the code and pretend they are storing massive amounts and get paid for that. They then release the mods to their friends and their friends and eventually the network claims to be storing more data than there are atoms in the universe and being paid accordingly. It’d be like printing money.

So what is a “Keep it simple” method to know how much space a vault is storing? The way Maidsafe decided upon was simply waiting till a user requested the chunk and paying when the chunk is retrieved.

My thought is to pay all the vaults in the group that actually retrieved the chunk so that there is a reduced incentive for “power safe providers” to pimp out their equipment just to squeeze out that extra couple of millisecond and reduce the ability of more modest and energy conservative providers to earn. Also it’d reduce the desire for using a datacentre VM in favor of their home computer or SBC


A good concern to have, but what is wasteful to one person may not be to another. Is bitcoin mining wasteful? Depends who you ask. So that’s a bit of a disclaimer for the rest of the response :wink:

I think the concerns are valid. But someone has to get some value from the system. Maybe it’s actually just another electricity-to-money system just like bitcoin but the side effects of being able to store lots of useful data and fetch it to free is a bit better than the side effects offered by bitcoin?

Maybe any economic system just boils down to ‘how much can we extract’ and everything else like tasty food or interesting books or funny pictures are just happy side effects, just like pollution and prisons and nuclear bombs are unhappy side effects?

But the thing is it’s the downloading that has the most value, not the storing. Storing is only useful because it facilitates downloading. So the focus in my opinion really must be on retaining the ability to download. That’s where the value is actually happening.



Remember the benefits of automatic de-duplication on the SAFE Network too, and then consider how much of the resource in data centres and individual devices is dedicated to holding and maintaining duplicated content for no real reason.

I often chuckle to think about how many TB globally are dedicated to comic-sans or spacer.gif :joy:


That would have to be less than cat videos. Imagine how many copies of each of those videos there are out there and on people’s hard drives


Thank you all for the very detailed replies! My concerns have been alleviated somewhat. I’ll get back to this if I have further doubts after digesting the things you have said.