Safecoin composting/recycling

Rather than go off topic in the Safecoin divisibility thread. I figured we could start a new thread concerning some questions that have come up about what happens when a safecoin is “lost”. A few past comments are copied below:


I like the idea of having the network “resurrect” safecoins so that they can never be permanently destroyed. This would work by having a timeout period. If a safecoin has not changed hands for let’s say 7 years then it gets returned to the network. All someone would need to do to keep them fresh is move them or spend them. I think a way to view this is the same as lost treasure. Someone forgets about a pile of coins they buried in their back yard, years later you buy the house and find them when you are planting the garden…"

whiteoutmashups :
That sounds super dangerous

Wake up one day and all your life savings are gone.

Also kinda sounds like inflation which I am totally against :stuck_out_tongue: Global population needs a strong, reliable, deflationary currency so they can stop being so poor around the world. That’s one of my life goals, to help support efforts to make that happen."

“It’s not much different than if you lost your paper bitcoin wallet, accept that the coins would go back into circulation after enough time had passed to be sure that they were in fact abandoned. It’s not inflationary because the total number of safecoin is fixed from the start, if you don’t have resurrection then coins can be burned and the supply would decrease over time. This is just a brainstorm…”

“Yeah IDK it’s just not really doing it for me but thanks for adding ideas! Let’s keep em coming :slight_smile:

“Just to clarify, you have no problem with safecoins dissappearing over time?
What happens if 50% of the safecoins get burnt? Hypothetically the remaining coins would double in value, but now you’ve lost half of the “fuel” to run the system. It just makes paying for little things more difficult…”

The SAFE netowrk does not know time. So this cannot be done.

Also its is rude at best to take coins that someone is “saving” up for a big purchase in time. Like buying a house or something. Then find their coins are disappearing because they were saving them. And at worse it is considered thief. No no and no again to this idea.

@whiteoutmashups, I’d say like BTC which has a significant amount of their coins lost or unusable is surviving very well. SAFEcoin has 4 billion coins and even if 20% are lost the network will operate as if they were not lost. Only if billions of coins are lost is this an issue."

Definitely 100x less of a problem with that then anyone losing their money if they forget to shuffle it around
norimi :

I don’t like this. I played with similar idea. Could be used for smallest coin with denominations. Then no real damage. But I don’t like it because people don’t like it. Interesting, but no go for me.”

jlpell :

If I lost some money and it landed on the street, sooner or later after some time has passed it will be “found” by someone else and put back into circulation somehow. How often are material objects / tangible assets lost “forever” in the real world. It happens, but not very often, and people often devote themselves to rediscovering them (ie. dinosaurs, the titanic, spanish galleon treasures) I’m surprised to hear that the SAFE network has no notion of time… interesting. The idea wasn’t about adding rude features. Superficially, it makes sense that if a coin was truly abandoned property, it might be good to have a way to rediscover/reclaim/resurrect it and put it back into circulation…

How one can tell the difference between long-term savers and coins that have been abandoned/burned is a totally different issue… "

EDIT: Related Posts in hindsight…
What if safecoin or maidsafecoin gets lost in the void?
SafeCoin Loss Protection 2.0
Most wanted and unwanted features


Interesting post format, thx for doing the work


It should also be noted that in the material world even if it an object isn’t found it usually decomposes over time, even if that time ends up being extremely long, and is cycled back into the Earth’s resources. A coin made of metal might take centuries, even thousands of years to break down, but it’s still just metal and WILL break down eventually. Metal like anything else will oxidize and decompose. So I think it’s fair to say safecoin should have a similar decay date that could be “reset” every time it’s exchanged. The safecoin itself doesn’t know what time is but it might have a counter that expires over time. A damage over time decay rating. The SAFE network has often used ecological metaphors such as air or ants or other such things to describe it’s neutrality. But I think we should also use ecology to ensure that safecoin stays in circulation and doesn’t get lost or perpetually hoarded.

Biggest problem which Will and myself mention but you didn’t address but answered something else.

So what happens when someone has been saving for their house or something else for years. Then suddenly they find their savings disappearing. Who reads the fine print

You would start having a lot of trouble once the 7 years from first coins farmed occurs.

  • You cannot just yank coins from people simply because they do not jump through your hoops
  • Last Will & Testaments when people die can take years and you cannot expect executors to be jumping through hoops to keep the coins, for one they probably don’t even know there is that requirement.
  • This proposal sounds like one that someone on the SAFEX forum wanted but was told by many it does not work. Why would it work on SAFE?
  • Its straight out stealing
  • the network is no longer secure, since your coins can be stolen by the network
  • You no longer truly own your own coins since the network can take them away on you because you don’t play games (ping-pong) with your coins
  • Do I need to mention more? I can if you want

This does not solve the problem but creates a lot more.

And how is the network going to find these coins? Are you expecting the network to do scans of the 2^32 address space looking for coins that are too old. How much undesired work do you want the network to be doing.

And I saved the best for last

SAFE cannot measure time So its impossible for the network to do this.


‘Value’ is not a material resource though?!

SafeCoin will be divisible, so there is no lost value when coins are lost, the value simply shifts into the remaining coins and they become more valuable individually (deflation). Losing coins is not an issue if they are infinitely divisible. Value is never lost, it simply moves. Satoshi’s 1M coins aren’t a wasted resource, if they were brought in to the trading economy the market would correct/adjust to them and the overall price would drop by 4-5%, they are a gift of value to the rest of the BTC hodlers, as is any burned or lost coin.


Its good to have mental exercises, but there is no way i could ever see this as a good idea.

Nothing should be redistributing owned coins that are just sat there.


I thought about the last will & testament use case, but I think implementing it with an smart contract is the way I would personally feel comfortable with rather than something natively executed by the network. E.g. an smart contract I can use both as a coin wallet to spend my coins, and also to set/update the rules for the distribution of the coins when I die. Although, I’m not sure how/if a time measurement would be available or it would only rely on some multisig feature which might not be really enough in some cases. Also, I just think that it could be dangerous to have something like this and have other people to know about it (only in some cases of course). Just some thoughts.


I was thinking about the real world analogy of SafeCoin = Physical Money/Coins/Cash, BitCoin = Stock/BankAccount. People deposit their money in a bank for a variety of reasons. Common reasons might be that they think the bank will manage it better, keep it safe from thieves, give them a return, or because they don’t trust that they money they’ve been putting aside in an old shoebox won’t be thrown out by their spouse on garbage day. You give up some control/anonymity but in return you feel like your money is “safe” in the bank. Other people feel the opposite, they are willing to put in a little more effort in order to maintain control of their assets and maintain their privacy. Perhaps this points to a blockchain exchange of SafeCoin -> SafeBank (smart contract?) running within the SAFE network in order to make some people feel extra safe. Let the blockchain accounts die and be lost forever if someone loses their private key. But the SafeCoin would continue to circulate and fuel the network…

Wouldn’t it be a good idea of ensuring that a SafeCoin is neither inflationary nor deflationary in the long term after all of them have been farmed?

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It would be fantastic, but price stability is a very hard problem to solve. Long term SafeCoin might be more stable than most crypto currencies, but it’s impossible to know. Reviving lost coins won’t create stability. Fiat is a horrible solution the problem. I quite like sweetbridge’s solution by tying to various assets and a few others are trying different approaches. Anyway, I digress, SafeCoins are a fixed supply, that isn’t going to change now (after 11+ years of development) and I don’t think it should. SafeCoin should be deflationary, we can use other more stable things for ‘pricing’… something else will fill the stable currency gap post fiat.

Hard money is a good thing. The only way to create stability in SafeCoin that I can see would be interfering with the market and demand/supply interactions. I would be very against that personally and I doubt it is even feasible given the network design.

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The mention of 7 years was selected completely at random. I was thinking 7 days, or 7 minutes, 7 seconds, or any amount of time.

Ok, that’s fine. So a time based resurrection doesn’t work…

Why not? That’s what central bank interest rates and inflation have been doing for over a century, a variety of economists would sing you the virtues… (Just in case it’s not clear, that comment was facetious :grin:)

Not always. If you find a shiny nickel on the ground while walking down the side-walk and pick it up… did you steal it? Ever see the movie Charlie and the Chocolate factory? Did he steal the money in the gutter which he then used to get his golden ticket?

Security problems arise from things you don’t know about a head of time. (Ex. “Oops my windows firewall had all the ports open”, “I didn’t know I needed to change my default password to not be ‘password’!” )

If the procedure is baked in and as easy to understand as coin farming, it may have some benefits for the network. Using the farming analogy, if you don’t eat the food that you farmed, it will rot, get composted to soil, and allow for food to be farmed again. I actually like the term “SafeCoin composting” better than “resurrection” since it fits with the farming analogy.

Does one really every “own” a cryptocurrency? One could argue that you don’t own it if you can’t physically possess it, or keep others from physically possessing it. Do you own the air you breathe? Yes, but only a portion at a time, as long as you use it, and then no more.

The ping-pong analogy is a good one since it is the first thing that comes to mind if composting/resurrection is based on the exchange of safecoin. However, this doesn’t really aid in identifying saved vs abandoned coins since someone could just write an app that bounces coins around automatically which would defeat the whole purpose. One could argue that you would use a “dead man’s switch” of some sort, but that can also be circumvented if someone automates the procedure of resetting the dead man’s switch ad infinitum… which would essentially be a parasite on the network.

I would agree with you that having the network act like a central authority that can take coins/tokens away from you is a bad idea. You would want this resurrection or “composting” function to be p2p and governed by nodes. Here’s an idea :

Composting Nodes

These are the anti-farmers. Node operators would need to pay SafeCoin to operate them and their job is to search the network for coins that would be considered abandoned by some predefined criteria. They get to keep the coins they find. Early on the incentive for composters would be small because it would take more work to do so than just be a farmer. But as the network matures, composting would be more attractive. I would say this is not so crazy as it sounds if you choose to consider Cash as the real world analogy to SafeCoin rather than as a stock/bank account like BitCoin.

If one considers this from the user’s learning curve, one already needs to remember to keep their private key safe. The added complexity introduced by composters would add one more action in order to keep what they have farmed/earned… but in return you have a better digital representation of a physical commodity. Individuals that don’t like the digital cash quality of the SafeCoin could then just exchange it at one or more blockchains operating inside the SAFE network.

If you want to go ahead, I’m game… I think the thought experiment is beneficial. The main point I was trying to get at was that ensuring both a long term anti-deflationary and anti-inflationary SafeCoin is a good idea. I just changed the thread title to “Safecoin composting/resurrection”.

Maybe I missed something. I agree that time resurrection would not work because of the nature of the network. Did you have an alernative idea?

I believe that the idea of doing something like this will never gain consensus, but it’s an interesting thought experiment. I don’t know that there is anything inherently wrong with such an idea if agreed from the outset, but I think it’s already be too late for that.

I originally missed this in the wiki at :

So coins are constantly being erased/recycled with the system…? I had thought that the coin was signed over to the farmers that actually provide the requested data… my mistake…

A few other thoughts…

But doesn’t the network use time when determining a farming rate? That’s what this graphic says:

If that were the case, couldn’t a safecoin be described by:

Safecoin = {
current_owner_id : alskdjfsl39rifnsd033edsm
previous_owner_id: 39ifsljfdw9ekfjsdlafdsfsd;
previous_owner_signature: 230428erhohofsj92339
transfer_time: 12329080324093323409

the “transfer_time” could be hashed if necessary …
transfer_time: 394urjowiefj34erifsdfjoifjewrf

Although I do see why one might not want to have a time signature in order to thwart network analysis that would try and figure out the ip of those exchanging safe-coin at a particular time. But by having a coarse time resolution, one might be able to make this attack exceptionally difficult. For example, if the year in which the safecoin was transferred was the only thing recorded. All computers might have a hard time reaching consensus about what the exact time is, but except for new year’s day, its pretty easy to agree on what year it is… In that case you would have a field like:

transfer_year : 2018

To thoroughly confuse everyone I’m going to change the thread title to “Safecoin composting/recycling” in order to jive with the previous nomenclature… apologies.

**EDIT: As a side note, physical coins typically have marks showing the year that they were minted. **

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The farming rate is determined by the amount of spare resources on the network (e.g. % free storage space) and online time refers to the uptime of the node, but I believe this is measured by the number of sections it has been a member of (node age) rather than an actual length of time.

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The graphic is misleading. It isn’t using clock time, but a measure of time that is not related to clock time (e.g. like blocks on the blockchain, but not that, obviously :wink:)


You can if they are aware that the assets they are trading will eventually decompose.

Stealing by whom? The network? That’s ridiculous. Is nature stealing from me if I leave a loaf of bread out on the counter and it gets mouldy or if I leave some bananas out and they go bad? No, nature is just recycling resources. Same concept. The network awards you resources but will eventually recycle them if you don’t do anything with them.

If you want to store your assets long term you preserve them somehow. Either you convert them into a form that lasts longer or you freeze them. How do you keep food from decaying? You preserve or freeze it. So freeze the safecoin and tag it with an ID of some kind. The problem essentially is what if safecoin gets LOST forever. So in order to freeze safecoin for long term storage this problem needs to be solved by sacrificing some anonymity or somehow ensuring it DOESN’T get lost and in the case of account loss the safecoin can somehow be retrieved by the executor of a Will and Last Testiment for example. But if you’re going to just keep your safecoin under the mattress instead of throwing it in the freezer then yes I say let it decay. To hell with old money.

Last I checked the primary purpose of safecoin was to measure resources on the safenetwork. Those resources are constantly fluctuating so keeping coins in motion is actually good for the network. What you own is the data you buy with the safecoin. We don’t want people to own safecoin long term. We want them to buy either resources or sell safecoin to those that need resources but not to hold onto the safecoin itself. So no we don’t want people getting too attached to the safecoin itself. It’s an important but perishable good, like that bread I mentioned. It’s like food rather than a hard metal. Food is life, but it also spoils, so you want to either use it or sell it asap. Gives new meaning to the term “farming”.

I very much doubt the telemeres in your cells understand the concept of time either. And yet you age. How is this possible? Because every time the cell divides it shortens the telemere. It doesn’t need to know the number of times the planet has circumnavigated the sun. It just needs to count the number of divisions. We don’t need to give the safecoin a clock we just need to give it a long string to nibble on incrementally over time and a self destruct button to push. Perhaps sometime tied to the farming rate? Every time all the vaults pulse or something all the safecoin nibble on their strings? Or maybe just a really long number.

As for how the network is going to find these coins it’s not. Either the network knows how many safecoin are in existence, in which case all the safecoin needs to do is kill itself, or the network doesn’t know, in which case the safecoin needs to contact the network and ask to be killed. Either way the network doesn’t have to search.

But if you didn’t want to rig it that way you could leave it to the owner of the account to reset the DoT of their coins every so often from within their coin wallets or whatever. The user’s account could become the vehicle. If user owns safecoin with age greater than oldcoin then transfer ownership of safecoin with age greater than oldcoin to safe network.

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Your description was spot on. This is the concept I was trying to defend. I like the telomere analogy.

uhm - then you need to shuffle your coins not only once every 7 years but … in random shorter time periods because you can’t know when you might loose your life savings Oo …

it’s not like a safecoin would be a living thing …

the network would need to because the coin is only a data structure without the ability to do something

…and with the possibility of the network recycling coin -> opens new attack vectors …

so all data types are owned forever except from safecoin - that one data structure gets extra handling (?!)

yapp - still stealing - or an attacker that manages to let the time run faster in one group

y? just let it get lost … where is the problem…?

okay … might have been obvious … 100% against recycling … what is lost is lost … better to implement a simple concept to divide coins up to e.g. 10^⁻18 than to try to never loose a coin …


This is worthy of some clarification because I think the idea of ‘no concept of time’ (which is very useful in general) is being used in a misleading way just here.

SAFE cannot measure ‘the time’ as in calendar / clock time.

But SAFE does have a measure of the ‘progression of time’ by what happened before or after something else.

So if the expiry is defined not as a ‘date’ but as a ‘number of network events’ then yes it’s possible to do coin expiry etc. The major caveat being the future event won’t be easy to align to an exact time/date in the future.

But the SAFE network absolutely can measure time (depending on how time is defined).

On the original topic, I think coin expiry is a horrible idea for reasons already outlined by others.


I think a problem with this idea is acceptance.

Firstly people will assume this is not the case because we don’t expect money in our bank accounts to decay if it isn’t used.

So there’s a need to either educate, or to deal with the reaction when people realise their money has disappeared unexpectedly.

If people find their money disappears unexpectedly, confidence in it will be lost and it will fail, because money only has utility if people have confidence in it. This is what causes bank runs.

And if you educate, you then have to deal with the resistance: why would I use this stuff that will disappear after a while if I don’t use it, when I can use this other stuff that doesn’t?

All that assumes this is a good idea in the first place. I don’t have an opinion on that yet but I think that it will be a hard sell.


Yes of course, but whatever time period you select then just replace the 7 years in my post.

It still means the same thing.

You have just sidestepped the problem and obviously have no solution to it. The idea fails at this point sorry to say.

And of course we are trying to AVOID these problems banks use to steal our money

You only consider the truly lost coins. You never consider the more likely case of people not jumping through your hoops and saving their coins. People do sit on their coins

Actually in SAFE you do truly own the data objects which are the coins. So there goes another argument.

Ok then I change the code and make it so any coin older then one day is mine. WOW what a nice attack vector.

Not to mention its abhorrent to think someone is scanning my coins with the view to STEAL them

You need to think laterally and not take ideas from safex and try them here. This idea mirrors what was suggested that forum a number of days ago. It was shown to be wrong for their blockchain and its even worse for SAFE because of what SAFE is. People have to know that their coins are secure and not subject to being taken because of some T&C that was not read. Oh there is NO T&C BTW.

NO it does not

And so SAFE is not secure, the data objects can decompose. Sorry I don’t want forever data that decomposes. That is so against SAFE’s goals really

Yes because you assume that the network will only take LOST coins, but in most cases it will be coins being SAVED and thus its stealing. Doesn’t matter by whom or what it is still stealing by the autonomous network.

DATA on SAFE is not like food, so don’t use that analogy it will fail every time. SAFE is that way of preserving, it is to be the ultimate last word in preserving and now you want it to not be that and to build a better preserver. Then someone will say but coins can be lost there so lets do like SAFE and turn things into a decaying system and recover the coins. Where would it end. Well I tell you SAFE is that last preservation network and no way sould the network steal the coins being preserved on it. Saving safecoins is preserving them in the most secure system we have to date. Don’t destory that confidence by allowing data objects (safecoins in this case) to decay.

Safecoins DO NOT measure resources. They are to buy resources and be rewarded for delivering chunks. There is no measuring resources involved in safecoin. The sections estimate resources when deciding if a farming reward is to be attempted. But the reverse of the coin measuring resources is simply not there.

Very imprecisely I might add. So now you want the network to steal our coins based on something that could vary by as much as 100% (see those who age 2 to 5 times faster). Even the node againg mechanism is very imprecise time wise.

So now the coins could disappear in 1-50 years (the node aging using events can vary by 10 times depending on activity. SO I might lose my coins next year or in 50 years.

So where in the non-existent T&Cs are you going to tell people that data on the network is now subject to decaying and you could lose your coins in as little as 1 year, but we cannot tell you how long because of the imprecise measurement based on network activity of the nodes holding your coins. And we might decide to decay your precious data too, because it sounds neat.

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