Strategic Alliances?


Recent conversations about the relationship between the SAFE Network project and the Tim Berners-Lee / MIT / Inrupt Solid initiative got me wondering about strategic partnerships. Solid has an immediate visibility advantage from the name recognition of its founder TimBL. Although I must confess, my interest the SAFE project was piqued at least in part by @dirvine’s delightful Scots brogue in the Mozilla IRL podcast on decentralization - I am not sure that is a sound basis for promoting the project!

What I am wondering is whether there is any systematic effort being made to form alliances between the SAFE project and other like-minded initiatives? In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned the privacy oriented mobile operating system and there may be some synergy there. It also seems to me that Mozilla is doing good work in promoting an safe and open evolution of the 'net and I think there may be opportunities to collaborate with them. Specifically, I believe Mozilla have a speech recognition project that would be worth looking at. At this point Google has that field pretty much wrapped-up but their current business model is too invasive.

But, speaking of Google, I have some hope that the DNA which gave them their founding motto “Don’t be Evil” may still lurk beneath the surface. Over the years, they have supported much open-source work and even TimBL is recognizing with the founding of Inrupt that there is a place for the financial energy that a private corporation can provide. Might there be some way to engage with them in a productive mutually beneficial collaboration that does not compromise the founding principles of SAFE?

I hold no hope for Facebook, they were an unmitigated sleaze-fest from the word go who have achieved their prominence by appealing to the lowest-common-denominator of human instincts. The sooner we can displace them with a community forum that respects the privacy of their users, the better. There is however something to be learned from the Facebook phenomenon in the sense of an object lesson in what not to do.

Finally, and perhaps against the grain, there might be value in exploring a relationship with Amazon. My thoughts here are along the lines that a guy who made his billions, at least in part, by promoting the value of long form reading can’t be all bad. Sure their dominance in the retail sector is scary but it is based on a relatively honest and straightforward value proposition that consumers benefit from - phenomenal consolidation of comparative data, large scale buying power and utterly transformational logistics. And, of course, their influence in the cloud computing sphere with AWS is a whole other story. To be fair, I don’t know how far they have gone in the direction of exploiting user data and that should certainly be taken into account in any approach. One last point, with regard to Bezos ownership of the Washington Post - I see that as an example of the long-standing tradition of a powerful financial patron acquiring a press asset not to exploit it for commercial interest but to protect it from both commercial and political influence. Perhaps I am being naive but that is my impression.

One last thought/question - here in Canada, the telecom carriers have initiated a proposal that would allow them to collect and use subscriber data. If tracking is implemented on the level of physical devices and network hardware, what hope have we of avoiding the surveillance complex with software only? Are there any strategic alliances to be made in this respect?

That’s just a quick top-of-mind scan to illustrate the potential of strategic partnerships. I am sure there are other examples of specific technical initiatives, e.g. in blockchain technology, that would be more obvious to the Dev community.



Personally, I’d be wary of getting too close to any of the big tech companies for fear of being swallowed up and disappeared. Their business models are all pretty rapacious. Redis and MongoDB (and another one I can’t think of right now) recently changed their licensing terms, singling out AWS in particular as being all take and no give and of shunting them down the AWS Marketplace rankings in favour of Amazon’s alternatives. Google too has a habit of making competitors that it can’t buy disappear from it’s search rankings, and despite public denials they are still looking to help the Chinese government with search and AI. Definitely still evil. Mozilla seems like a decent company and that would be much closer to the mark I think.

Storj recently created an interesting partnership with a bunch of open source projects (including Redis) offering it’s services as a storage back end at special rates for open-source companies, and something similar for SAFE (which will offer more than just storage) might have potential. The security aspect would be the USP initially I think.



Moved to Marketing as suggested.



@JPL, Thanks for gentle reply. Yes, I’m probably being naive with regard to Google and Amazon - they are not likely to change their spots and more likely to swallow you whole if they see an advantage. On the other hand, I think an alliance with Mozilla might make sense. They have “brand recognition” and possibly resources and have already demonstrated support by featuring SAFE in one of their programs.

As you point out there are other projects and organizations with varying degrees of overlap and complementarity that we should be aware of. My question was really aiming to find out if there was any systematic process for gathering such information, figuring out how it could affect the SAFE project and coming up with with strategic responses such as collaboration, alliances or shifting focus of some aspects of development.

I realize it’s a pretty broad question but I was just throwing it out there to see what might surface. I probably need to dive deeper into the technology in order to narrow my focus a bit.



Here are my thoughts:

Mozilla I’d be wary of because it’s very left wing and has a history of censoring websites in it’s browser which would be against the Privacy, Security and Freedom mandates of SAFE.

Google is now owned by Alphabet and Alphabet are the one’s who quashed the “Don’t be Evil” mandate. They are simply interested in making profit. So no.

Amazon refused to allow people to donate to Wikileaks. They sided with the government instead of staying neutral and letting the people decide. They ALSO have a history of censoring books on their Kindle service. Not the kind of people that seem too compatible with SAFE.

The people I would look into are other open source projects like Hubzilla/Friendica for integration with SOLID and SAFE. The Diaspora Foundation might be another candidate for SOLID and SAFE integration. Also it would be a lot easier to adapt open source projects to the SAFE network given one would have access to the source code. There’s no need to totally reinvent the wheel with so many open source projects out there already.

The Linux Foundation might be another candidate. I mean can you imagine downloading Linux updates straight off of SAFE? That would be a major use of deduplication and caching. There are many different flavors of Linux but the all seem to have a core protocol which is hosting their updates and protocols on some centralized servers somewhere. Even if they keep the clearnet servers having a SAFE alternative could be highly beneficial.

There are other collaborations SAFE could do but I don’t think that would have much credibility until launch and the introduction of safecoin. That is social integration with organization, charity and business.

It’s true governments could benefit from SAFE but SAFE pretty much makes government obsolete because everything governments do individuals can organize and do themselves using SAFE and smart contracts. Which kind of fits in with my above point. We can’t really show the power of SAFE as a business or charitable tool until we have safecoin and the ability to easily create smart contracts with it. Thus until that happens it’ll be difficult to form real world organizational collaborations. Thus focusing on open source would be the best bet.

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Mozilla has a history of censoring websites? Where did you read that?



I’m not following it that well, but I’ve read an article a while back that some are concerned that the big companies have gained too much influence in The Linux Foundation.
Here a more recent article:



Read that? I’ve experienced it. Quite a few times I’ve had issues loading websites with firefox but if I switch to say chrome it loads fine.

So yeah I don’t really care how you define “misinformation” or “fake news” but I don’t support a corporation that sees fit to censor people at the web browser level.

But if you want an article on it here.

I’m not here to debate what or what is not “fake news” but rather to point out your web browser shouldn’t decide for you what you view on the web.

It is possible they have changed or decided not to implement this but the fact they even considered making this a thing is very disturbing.

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David (@Blindsite2k),

Thanks for your comments. These sound like promising suggestions…

Your perception of Mozilla is at odds with what I have experienced and I think there is room under the SAFE Net umbrella for those who might have what can be labelled as “left” ideas as well as those with a more libertarian bent. As has been discussed elsewhere, the network itself needs to be content agnostic but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room at the application level for some kind of content moderation. The Mozilla IRL podcast produced an excellent program on that topic a few months ago. It is a chilling reminder of the complexities of the issue which might well be worth exploring in another thread (say the requirements specification stage of a true public discussion application to replace Facebook :smirk: ?)

Let me repeat that the goal of my post was to encourage systematic thinking in terms of strategic opportunities and challenges. In any given case, we need to assess how SAFE can either work with a particular organization or technology or if we need to adapt to what is emerging from these externals sources.


David Baril (@dpbaril)



Wow, I found this video:

The presenter says that Solid opens up the data on the Web to be used programmatically by computers instead of the usual user interface Web.

That means that Solid could be used as a BRIDGE between the Web and SAFE!



Here another article about the Linux Foundation also having its problems:



SAFE team should forge a partnership alliance ‘formally’ with SOLID team, Blockstack and BlockStream. All 3 are the futuristic, true believers in decentralization. SAFE can be the storage layer for all of the above.

Start the discussions now and formalize it upon beta release. This will also give SAFE team an opportunity to fine tune some of of the identification solutions (SAFE ID etc) to be built as interoperable solutions with other global standards.

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Any thoughts on the above - SAFE team?



Solid is clearly desirable, but why Blockstack and BlockStream?

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Recent tweet from Scotland @ codeclub prompting a thought… that reaching out to the next generation could help … if you can sell the idea of how to use SAFE to children, then some adults might understand too.

Codeclub apparently part of @ Raspberry_pi and with international reach.



How about starting a “Safe Alliance” with a carefully worded manifesto, one that lines up with the goals of the Safe Network? It would be easier to filter who could join but also who needs to be asked to leave.



I am also leery of Mozilla, although I think pursuing a partnership is worth the risk, simply because of the name recognition. It would legitimize SAFE in many circles. I would also throw out the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) as an option.



I have also recently become aware of IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) and found several threads here on the SAFEnet forum discussing the overlaps and differences between IPFS and SAFE.

The key takeaway I got from those threads is that while they have similar objectives, IPFS is an incremental, ad-hoc approach built on existing Clearnet technology vs the get-it-right-from-first principles / “boil the ocean” / birthing-the-whole-elephant approach taken by SAFE.

Once again, I was impressed with the collaborative, non-defensive stance taken by the SAFE community, the gist of which is, “let’s see what we can learn from IPFS but we still believe in our approach.” Although I generally favour incremental development over re-inventing the wheel (to continue mixing metaphors), perhaps the fundamental principles of SAFE are so radically at odds with the existing technology that a major break is justified. My concern is that we may end up with a BETA vs VHS situation where SAFE is the best solution but some other, more opportunistic, good-enough solution becomes the standard.

That said, I also watched the video of @happybeing’s DevCon talk Supercharging the SAFE Network with Project Solid which is an perfect example of collaborative work with related projects.




More like VHS v DVD…



Although not really a strategic alliance, it would also be interesting to reach out to Joe Rogan and/or Russell Brand about being on their podcasts. Both have a slew of not very well known people on their shows to talk about a myriad of topics and have huge audiences. I’m sure if David would present himself as a guy who started a crypto project before Bitcoin even existed, and was previously in the Top 10, it could get some interest from them. Both of them are also inclined to tacitly promote their guests and their agendas if they happen to agree with the overall concept.

Both are highly interested in topics concerning personal freedom, evolving society, and technology. Maidsafe could also garner interest by calling out Peter Schiff on his anti-crypto stance. Rogan loves to host guests that debate across his shows.