The SAFE Network Primer: An Introduction to the SAFE Network

One of the challenges with a project that has such an extensive history and huge ambition like the SAFE Network is providing newcomers with an easy-to-digest introduction to the project. This Forum is a treasure chest of information - but some people will have neither the time nor inclination to search the content and ask questions when starting out.

So we were delighted to receive this document a couple of weeks ago from two of the members of the community, @jpl and @polpolrene. The SAFE Primer document is a comprehensive introduction to both the story and the technology and intended to be shared widely. It’s a fantastic piece of work and from this point forwards, we’d suggest that you all use this document freely whenever explaining what the SAFE Network is and how it works.

You can now download the Primer directly from this website.

Of course, we can’t expect everyone to be up for reading a 28-page document. In the near future, we’ll be launching the SAFE Academy which will break down many of these concepts and also dig into each in a little more depth across a range of mediums. But in the meantime, the Primer gives us opportunities to explain more effectively why this technology is both so ground-breaking, inspirational and essential to us all.

Once again, massive thanks go to @jpl and @polpolrene who have done amazing work here - we truly appreciate the significant effort that’s gone into bringing this together. In addition, thanks also go to @fergish for his work in proof-reading the document.

Another great example of why this community is so special! :smile:


Looking forward to reading through this. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot, and it’ll be even more important for newcomers.

Brilliant & important work!


Brilliant idea this will improve a lot communication with new people! Can’t wait to finish to read it!


Looking forward to reading this, well done team and thank you for the hours of hard work you each put into this. I know how much time it takes to write this kind of stuff.

@dugcampbell I’ve been wondering about this para from the website under that download link, I don’t think it reads as well as it could:

Blockchain based storage solutions that store a data identifier (e.g. hash) in a blockchain, but store the data ‘somewhere else’ do not improve the security of our data.

How about:

Decentralised storage which is based on blockchain is not really securing data, which is what SAFEnetwork achieves. A blockchain can only store a data identifier (e.g. hash), and must store the data ‘somewhere else’, and so does not improve the security of our data.

Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t got used to the original phrasing so thought I’d suggest an alternative.


Very nice, clean, professional presentation. It’s a great centralized information store that will definitely be a good way to help focus some of the conversations on the forum and bring newcomers up to speed more quickly. Which of us is going to distil this into a similarly themed one or two page summary for the timid readers?


Fantastic work! I just finished reading it and it pulls together many, many strings and presents a beautifully readable document. This was long overdue and it will be a great, inspiring, introduction to both technical and non-technical people who find their way here.

Reading it made me reflect on just how far maidsafe have brought us on this journey. There have been twists and turns, but the technical prowess and vision has always been evident.

2018 has the potential to be a really interesting year for the SAFENetwork. The top of the crypto hype bubble may continue to blow off leaving the sector ripe for the slow burners to return to centre stage. I think alpha 3 will start to release some of that pent up potential, daring us all to dream a little more! :slight_smile:


Wow just wow, @jpl and @polpolrene what a true labor of love.

I’m sharing this with my 888 fake Facebook friends :stuck_out_tongue:
It will be some real news, compare to all the fake news


Thanks for doing this! I’ll start reading this as soon as possible.

Any plans for a translation?

btw. I just posted it to reddit if anyone wants to upvote it :wink:


Yes, you can. And you should. Many have lost the desire to handle long form, myself included, and we need to recover from our addiction to someone else’s 160-character summaries. Plus, 28 pages is shorter than an AA handbook. Ask anyone who has changed or has the ability to change the world what is the number one thing they recommend for aspiring change-agents: read.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve got work to do. Plus, if no one can read a 28-page summary document, then there’s no way in hell anyone would ever read my dissertation on decentralized networks! Speaking of…I better get on that and stop catching up on these posts…

Great work! Looks great! I’ll get to it soon, but forwarding it to the incubator now. Hopefully, it will get the devs off their current EOS fixation…


Can someone post this to I think you need to have a certain amount of post karma which I don’t have. Also paste the link to your post here so we can upvote it and get it some traction :slightly_smiling_face:


Great read, this is a superb document packed with a lot of information explained in an accessible way.

I may be mistaken but I have not seen a portion explaining self-authentication (cf. whitepaper).

And yet this is an extremely new and exciting way of joining the service: one can create an ID and log to the safe network without any third-party control, and without any information being disclosed about the connection. Completely private, completely safe. With self-encryption, it is one of @dirvine’s ideas that got me the most excited when discovering the project a few years ago.

Do you not think it would be relevant to add a small paragraph explaining the concept ?


There is a section on authentication, but it assumes authentication, rather than explaining it too - good spot!

Applications need to be authorized before they can access data on the network.
In a similar way to the familiar OAuth process, the application sends a request using the library
for authorization. When the authorization is approved by the user, the application receives a token
which is used to connect to the SAFE Network. Authorization is achieved via an application call to
the Authenticator, which is currently bundled with the SAFE Network browser Peruse.


Right, it focuses on the mecanism allowing a user to authorize an application, rather than on the innovative way with which a user joins the network.


I’m reading it right now. Great work, wow! Thanks for this!

All this information in one place, combined with the green ‘What does that mean’ sections is just brilliant. I feel more and more educated with every page.

One small question though. I might be missing something, but shouldn’t the graph op page 20 say ‘Farmers’ instead of ‘Miners’?



@jpl and @polpolrene. Thank you so very, very much.


Good spots @dewild and @nowfeelsafer . If anyone else sees anything just note it down in this thread. Changes won’t be made immediately as that would incur a cost, but we plan to update this document a few months down the line as new developments arise so we will be able to make them then. The hope is that people will reproduce this material in articles and resources elsewhere, such as in the SAFE Academy, so these things are good to know.


I’m a bit of a grumpy old man who tends to see faults everywhere. The document is just great, but does it really have to be in PDF? I think sharing a link to a simple HTML page would be easier. Also updating such a page should be easier than re-uploading a pdf-file.

“Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death.”


Well content is content and it can be reproduced in whatever format people like. I don’t possess any web design skills myself but if anyone wants to take the content and create a web version they are more than welcome to do so. In fact I hope someone does just that.


That’s just the thing. It’s difficult to extract just the text content from the proprietary PDF format. It’s all about formatting.

Ah - but I have the original in user-friendly Word format. What am I bid? :wink: