What is the difference between Maidsafe and Ethereum?

Can someone explain in layman terms the difference between ethereum and maidsafe? How safenet is different than Ethereum?

I think the easier question is where there are similarities.

(Moved to related projects)


Ethereum > decentralized computer where you run code on a blockchain.

SAFE > decentralized storage of data.


Ethereum took the short-cut to try to create the cool stuff (smart contracts) and now they have to work backwards to make the design scale. They hope to have sharding or other solution to the scaling and energy waste issues (like PoS) that blockchains face within a few years.

Maidsafe is an antecedent project to Bitcoin. David is a network engineer rather than a blockchain developer. He has been working on designing an autonomous network from the ground up that doesn’t have any of the associated problems of something like a blockchain. SAFE uses ‘Datachains’ and agile ‘close groups’ of nodes rather than a slow and expensive ledger distributed across everyone in the network. Zero fees, scales positively, instant txs, no wasteful mining, no ledger (private by default) etc. The coin is a very small part of SAFE though. SAFEnet is a way for us to share our spare capacity to create an internet without servers which is truly censor resistant and decentralised. Like with Ethereum the currency is a ‘fuel’ for the network. You can surf for free, but to host and serve data costs SAFEcoin. Unlike Ethereum SAFEcoins are burned when used and the network then makes them available for farming again. Anyone can farm and it is designed to stay decentralised, just a few granny-proof clicks to say how much spare capacity you want to contribute and leave your computer on. You will then start to accumulate free SAFEcoins to use on the network as your contribute. The coins are backed by their value to store and serve immutable and censor-resistant data on the network. You pay once, store forever.

There’s a hell of a lot more to it than that. I’m not sure why I have tried to give a load of info instead of just pointing you to links. There are some teasers for you to mull over though. If it piques your interest I’d suggest reading stuff in the forum or the blog and wiki to start your journey down the rabbit hole. Almost two years in and I still learn new stuff all the time.


Ethereum: proof of work blockchain which is very energy intensive, costly and doesn’t scale. Application was smart contracts but they have not taken off sufficiently so is looking for other application areas. It’s actually running, but has not succeed in finding a market or solved the technology issues in order to scale.

SAFEnetwork: non-blockchain using proof of resource which is energy efficient, scalable, secure platform based on small (close) groups of nodes, and predates blockchain/bitcoin - much tougher task to solve than a blockchain and taking longer, so not fully working yet, but the essentials proven. Will be world’s first truly autonomous/decentralised network, secure from the bottom up replacement for the internet. So a storage, communications and application platform capable of everything done on the current internet, plus things which can not be done with current technology. And with a built in, totally anonymous, massively scalable, cryptocurrency with zero transaction fees.


What about swarm and whisper? I read a little bit about ethereum roadmap and it seems like they have plan to add support for large scale and fully decentralized storage, app and messaging platform. If they deliver these features then from my understanding the only extra feature we will have is anonymity. Is my understanding correct?

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Have you read David Irvine’s recent blog posts? http://metaquestions.me

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I don’t see anything else in crypto with a credible model for releasing the casual user’s spare resources/capacity. If you take a close look at things like filecoin it quickly becomes clear that these models are designed to favour and tend toward centralisation.

SAFE is also the only decentralised, autonomous network. Without those things you don’t really have censor resistance and all that that implies (as we’ve seen already with Eth).

The incentives system is radically different too. People might want SAFEcoin, farm them, and burn them without ever really considering their $value.

PoS is a rubbish solution compared to PoR imo.

I think security is also a big feature you’re forgetting. I’m no security expert so I won’t confuse anyone with half-truths, but my understanding is that the attack surface is very different on SAFE. All these Eth hacks were predicted long before the DAO kicked them off.

Really, despite all the functionality overlap it is apples and oranges isn’t it? Ok, maybe more like apples and pears, but still distinctly different fruits. :laughing: One is an autonomous network freeing our spare capacity, our data and our digital existence; the other is a blockchain stack in 2nd place in the blockchain’s war of supremacy . (I’m just going to go ahead and own my outrageous bias) :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: It is harder to transform a cool car into a spacecraft than it is to just build a spacecraft imo. Although you look :sunglasses: when you have a sports car with rockets on it and the other guy is still working away in the airport hanger with a huge beast that no one thinks can possibly get off the ground. Truth of the matter is that cars don’t do well in space, so they are going to have redesign and refit everything anyway. Why start off by modelling it all around a system that doesn’t fit the purposes you ultimately want to use it for?

Meh, just more of my biased 2 cents again… I must have clocked up millions on this forum by now :smile:


Because then you can launch a couple years earlier than if you didn’t, and hope you can manage to fix things later. Whether or not that strategy works for ethereum etc remains to be seen, but in theory they could even create an entirely new platform, that wouldn’t even have to be based on a blockchain. You could then do a one to one conversion of ethers from the old to the new platform. Not that they have any plans to do so, but they might try in a few years if stuff doesn’t work out as they wanted.

Where’s the “PoS is a rubbish solution” come from? I’m just getting up to speed on Proof of Stake and haven’t seen any flames around it…

Well, primarily from the fact that it is not PoR. PoS is just another complicated plaster/band-aid on a system that isn’t really fit-for-purpose imo. :yum::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I am biased of course.

I feel like PoS could work, but there are a couple of potentially big issues that I worry could also manifest rather late in the day and cause far more problems for that fact.

I’m not really the person to ask and my information is probably out-of-date, but as I understand it PoS usually boils down to stake-grinding, which is essentially another form of PoW. I don’t really understand how ‘weak subjectivity’ works and others have told me this solves the nothing-at-stake problem, but to me it seems like the fact that someone ‘could’ work out how to stake-grind effectively and hold on to that valuable secret (when the incentives are big enough) makes the network vulnerable to some centralised control after it has already become big.

Another reason I don’t like it is economic. With something like bitcoin, when it increases in value there is a balancing incentive for holders to spend and cash in their gains. With PoS, when there is price deflation (over-supply of goods and services relative to the value of money), people might find there is a greater incentive to take money out of circulation and put it into Stake since their stake earnings are now rising. This could potentially create a steep deflationary spiral that could cause all kinds of economic turmoil if it happens late in the day.

I dunno, I am obviously biased because PoR just makes so much more sense to me. I’m sure my confirmation bias leads me to look for things to doubt, but PoS is really hard to get right, and it is not a very neat or clever solution compared to PoR imo.

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