SAFE versus Blockchain - Can you explain the parallels to a client?

Continuing the discussion from Factom - Good news for Mastercoin holders?:

  1. I think it fairly important to understand the Blockchain and the
    best projects being built on it. Blockchain has a very big head
    start on SAFE in terms of awareness and capital/marketing, so if
    your going to build on SAFE, I suggest you would need to explain to
    your business clients/ employer, why SAFE is the preferred solution.

  2. At the bottom of this post are parts 1 & 2 of a 3 part series that
    does a great job of describing Blockchain building. Armed with this
    knowledge, the Factom post above is a great way to consolidate that
    understanding by observing how they have built on top of the chain…because they are targeting some of the same use cases as SAFE i.e Title & Medical Records, Legal - Financial - Gaming and Journaling Apps.

  3. Finally, how will SAFE make it possible to build these Factom type solutions
    natively? Davids response below on the Factom tech, makes this sound trivial and is a nice springboard for further discussion around what Testnet 3 will reveal.

Interesting stuff. It makes me think though, the blockchain is a ledger of events, so you can trace a coin (a hash) as it transfers around the place. There is some space with the hash you can put small amounts of data in (like other hashes). People say its a clock, but really its a rolling ledger for these hashes. A bitcoin is a hash (basically) so the data is the hash really, or its a hash with no data if you think that way.

So I see many projects looking at this and great, good to see things being tried. Now I think further, what are we trying to achieve here. Seems like its proof a document exists (a hash of it in the blockchain), so there is somewhere a thing that has this fingerprint. So we need to be able to find the thing (the document) and if its digitally signed and dated (date included in the doc so its signed in) we can validate, yes this is a contract agreed by these two (or more) parties.

Great stuff.

So in SAFE we have immutable data (stuff that cannot be deleted), that is content of files right now. We also have public data, this is data where the data map (key to the files) is unencrypted and therefore readable by anyone. This allows public data to exist, it is signed by an owner (this is the MPID part currently going in to allow public ID’s and messaging etc.)

So this gives us the web if you like, we can publish data and everyone can see it, the data can be in any form we wish, html, .doc, pdf etc. and that is cool. We can do safe::david/web/ to get to my web site etc. fine and dandy.

However I can delete this data (I signed the directory element (this holds data maps for all files in a directory)). So like the web you can delete your own site etc. All well and good again.

However, with a tiny change here this can provide what I think these systems are looking for and maybe a bit more.

If there was location to store to immutably then this all changes. All we need to do is have a mechanism where the client does not sign the directory listing (meaning it cannot be changed as the network sees this as immutable data) but still uploads it to their public place (safe::david/public_record ) then the only difference is that data and directory are immuable and cannot be changed or deleted (permanent).

Then you can open a document (it can still be encrypted if it is indeed a proof you need to have, but want private) and the network can easily authenticate the digital signature (its inherent in SAFE and happens a lot under the hood anyway, for many reasons) and the content of that document is guaranteed. So if it is a mortgage application then you sign, the bank signs and it’s locked, you can store a copy in your public place and so could the bank. Then the data is immutable, digitally signed and if necessary encrypted (you can store it in your private drive if it is sensitive).

Then you have, proof of existence, proof of content and immutability (so no deleting the evidence or governments loosing data type issues). For public accountability this seems to me very easy.

For private contracts then all you do is not publish it, but keep it for your own records/evidence etc. and Bobs yer uncle as they say :slight_smile: So I see this as very simple really, when you have a secure autonomous network that has inbuilt cryptographic security. the importance of the hash is fine, but its the ability to get the content I think SAFE provides as when its public and immutable it is forever and if SAFE II comes along all you do is drag the files form SAFE I to that place.

then projects like factom can create apps that track contracts etc. or create their own public drive to store certain data on, genverments can place their data there for public record and more. So for a globally secured public record tracking system then it seems job done, The only cost would be store the data, but if it is public data like that then its either free or the cost of private versions would be so little its immeasurable to humans (a single doc with a few hundred pages I would imagine would be a nanopayment and not noticeable), I think you would need to store thousands of such docs to see a cost really, as there is no transaction costs in safe then this would prove to be incredibly cheap and importantly present the actual data that is permanent record.

Will this now become core?

Yes this is part of core, there are a ton of things like this that we can do now. I would like to provide the API and let app devs create much of this. It is a very simple issue and can be easily done. It is a simple matter of putting public data and not signing the directory (which means the data cannot be deleted).

It’s a bit better than many systems in this way. If you consider the data (content) is already immutable then the pointers to it (the directory / datamap) are tiny. So this means many systems could point to the same data, so a government or corp could put up their records and others simply copy the pointers (looks like copying the data). So ‘watching’ the corps is not a single blockchain type approach but a fully decentralised bunch of different projects. i.e. maybe Wikileaks keeps their copy in order of country/gov and EFF keep theirs in order or privacy statements/licences etc.

It’s just another example of real decentralisation and while SAFE is hard to explain and implement the benefits become really apparent when you dive into it (then it looks completely obvious). Wait till we get the computation part, then stuff gets really wild


These videos are really good.
I’d been exposed to most of this and had some understanding, but he makes a really clear case for why blockchain tech is so revolutionary.

In light of all that, David’s data you included really make for exciting times ahead for SAFE.

Thanks, Chris. And hope you’ll post the last one when and if available.

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With a blockchain it’s possible to build trustless systems. That means that the system becomes free from control by authorities, third parties, service providers etc. That’s an amazing breakthrough compared to the usual systems where trust is needed in those who control and own the systems.

However, blockchains are clumsy and bloated and their data has to be stored in a large number of copies and constantly updated and expanded for every single new block of transactions. In Bitcoin for example, even though it’s possible for users to only store the latest part of the blockchain, many so-called full nodes are needed for the system to work properly.

In Bitcoin, transaction fees will be relied on more and more along with the miner reward halving every four years. Transaction fees suck, and with increasing fees that sucks even more. The worst problem with Bitcoin is probably the transaction times. It takes on average 10 minutes for one confirmation of a transaction (if enough transaction fee has been provided by the user/app) and for really secure transactions it’s recommended to wait for 6 confirmations, which means an average of one hour per transaction! For less critical transactions, techniques such as zero-confirmation transactions can be used which speeds it up a lot, alas that’s still problematic since secure transactions are a desirable foundation for any financial system.

Safecoin (if I have understood it correctly) is free from the need of a blockchain, has transactions that take only a second or so, and zero transaction fees.


Even knowing the superiority of the SAFE network against blockchain based solutions, would be very interesting that the SAFE network implement in the core the possibility to create and manage different blockchains.

The SAFE network have now the necessary tools for its implementation (immutable data, group verifier, ID, messages…).

These blockchains could be both public and private.

This possibility would help, for the following reasons, to make the SAFE network mainstream.

  1. In some circumstances some control of transactions is needed. The existence of a blockchain help to those who wished to do so. Moreover, in some sectors, the Triple Entry Bookkeeping, providing by a blockchain, is a must.

  2. The existence of blockchain could allow to manage any asset in the way of the colored coin. One safecoin could manage any property, the shares of any company, or even to create their own currency (1safecoin = 2^32 mycoin).
    I’m sure the safe network will find other ways, especially with the Smart Contracts API, but is a simple way to offer some solutions

3.- Let’s admit it, the blockchains is à la mode. Most people do not have time, knowledge or inclination to study the SAFE network. The ability to create any number of blockchains may attract many people to the SAFE network.

4.-Will be a demonstration of the superiority of the SAFE network over other solutions:
“You want a blockchain?, OK, here you are. And also we have better solutions.”


Nice post @chrisfostertv. James D’Angelo is excellent at explaining new and innovative concepts.


For me, that would be inclination…as a non programmer, there would seem little value in me trying to understand the inner workings…it just works.

But from a solution basis, I need to know how SAFE functions in a side by side comparison with the blockchain as that is the penny that has dropped in this space.

I dont think I’ve seen any graphics attempting to visualize the two technologies side by side

Maybe Maidsafe could offer a standard graphical library of components, to assist devs to explain their app concepts in the early days. I should imagine it a fair bootstrap cost to have graphics developed…and some consistency may breed familiarity among devs in the bitcoin space?

So it’s of benefit to have a blockchain to compare with in a way, rather than SAFE being a totally alien concept for commercial and government adoption.


It’s a decent point @chrisfostertv. I know that @ioptio has often compared the 2 technologies in presentations and I think the contrast works well. I will start pulling together some information and try to get some of @Shona’s time in the coming weeks (I have asked her to work on a new video and she is pretty involved in the launcher project).

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You guys have way more important work to do than this right now, but possibly something to think about closer to launch.

Maybe even editing the main long /short videos to reflect ‘Safe Network’ in lieu of Maidsafe might be value for effort.

Anything generic to help the little guy start a business around Safe…the guys with capital will obviously create assets that reflect their own offerings.

I think it’s a good idea on the build up to launch. I’ll need to start allocating time and planning for all this stuff now otherwise when we do launch we’ll be rushing to communicate everything effectively which is never a good idea. This is something I can work on in the back ground.

The video I mentioned in my previous post was cutting down the short video from just over 5 mins to 90 seconds, we are going to put this onto the home page of a consumer focussed website (we have also started work on a dev focussed site). I have written the script and it is now a case of getting some time with Shona so that she can work her magic.

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Is it still Maidsafe focused?


This one I guess:

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The new script is very much network focussed as opposed to company centric. MaidSafe are only mentioned once as the creators of the network.

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Up to 53,000 views on the short version now, building nicely… :slight_smile:



(Just did this to show my support, since I ran out of ‘likes’ to give out today:P)

A limit on love? that’s not in the spirit of Safe…I’m sure @frabrunelle can spare a little more on the backend

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Well, the maximum number of likes per user per day is currently 50 (default setting by Discourse). I think that’s pretty reasonable. Especially considering that there are about between 50 and 100 posts per day these days.

Here is the reasoning behind this feature:

If we allowed people unlimited likes, likes lose their meaning and are totally open to abuse. We rate limit all things.


I would be open to increasing it to say 100 likes per user per day but I think at the moment 50 is pretty reasonable considering that there is not that much activity on the forum.

@whiteoutmashups: I can understand that you want show your support by liking every post that makes you laugh or that you agree with, but I would suggest you to focus on liking posts which you think add the most value to the discussion. I don’t think it’s normal to give 47 likes in 1 hour like you just did :stuck_out_tongue: .


Yes that’s a little too much love for 1 hour…pull it back man :wink:


I have a grubby sketch that I think could be a useful basis for some easy explanations of safe - less technical. It’s at home though. Maybe worth making it pretty.

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Please email it to me when you get back from your travels and I’ll take a look, all help very much appreciated.

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