WTF is Safecoin? - Sarah Pentland


Nice read! Some feedback:

“only the current and previous owner of each coin is known by the Network”

It isn’t obvious that the owner can still be anonymous too. This is a big feature and should probably be crystal clear.


I think that anyone who will read it will have several questions.

Maybe that is the point.

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An image of other possible core developers would have been fine. Without it, it seems that only Maidsafe can access this 5%


@SarahPentland Also above that. APP developers certainly DO NOT get 10% of all safecoin. Same for core devs, they do not get 5% of ALL safecoin

They might get 1% or 20% Also recycling makes statements which say a percentage of all safecoin a LIE at best. Dev rewards are 10% of the farming reward which is a separate payment and not reducing farming rewards

Please note that these percentages are a ongoing percentage in terms of FARMING RATE and NOT all coins


How would it be best to phrase this simply & accurately?

Would it make sense to say something like: ‘10% of Safecoin production to App devs’?

Or: ‘10% of generated Safecoin to App devs’?

An easy way to think about it is that for every 85 Safecoin farmed by those contributing resources to the network, 10 Safecoin will be distributed to app devs, and 5 Safecon to network devs.

Communicating this clearly and concisely could be tricky when it’s quite different to the way things are done in crypto projects in general.


This is wrong too. Since not all GETs will generate a app dev reward. If I download my 4GB file, then none of those GETs generate a App_Dev reward

It is truly a “upto 10% of Farming Rate”

For core devs it is “5% of Farming Rate”

Farmers get “100% of Farming Rate” and not affected if any other rewards.

The image gives the impression that Dev rewards (core + APP) are taking away from the farming reward since it gives the impression that recycling does not occur and 15% of all coins are reserved for the devs (core+App) and only 85% for farmers.

But it is a dynamic system where coins are always being returned and by the time 50% of the coins are given out there might have been 1000% of the coins issued and most recycled. So at that stage Devs might have gotten 50% of all the coins (2 billion) but since people are recycling this is not an issue since a lot of those coins will have been recycled. Extra description for @SarahPentland and I can help further, but it takes a little time for this to sink in and simple explanations are difficult because the listener is only used to blockchain where coins are created only once and SAFE any one coin can be created & recycled any number of times and they will.


I don’t think every GET must to lead to an app dev reward for those statements to be correct.

They can be correct if an average of 10 in 85 Safecoins farmed results in a Safecoin being issued to app devs & 5 in 85 Safecoin farmed result in a Safecoin being issued to Network maintenance devs.

Indeed it’s quite different to what blockchain enthusiasts will be familiar with.

Maybe it’ll help to explain Safecoin generation as a constant flow, and then it’ll make sense that the network is apportioning a percentage of that flow to farmers (85%), app developers (10%) and network maintenance (5%).

Yes, the farmers get 100% of ‘farming rewards’, but they get an average of 85% of all Safecoin generated over a given time, which is what I think this graphic seeks to explain.

For starters its 10 in 115. (If all GETs are for APPs with dev rewards set)
Farmers get 100 in 115. If you state it this misleading way (see below)

  • farmers gets 100% of farming rate
  • app devs get 10% of farming rate
  • so if all gets were part of app dev rewards then its 10 coins to App devs and 100 coins to farmers.
  • That is in the rfc, that farmers get farming rate of coins. i.e. 100% of farming rate.

farming rate is a value determined by the network and each reward is independently calculated using the rate. So the notion that farmers get whats left after dev rewards (APP + core) is wrong. They get their allocated amount without any regards to what other rewards are generated.

Now the issue is that only a portion of GETs will be GETs that trigger a APP DEV reward. Media viewing (no need for APP to view media since you just specify the file name in the browser and its played. So all those public files will simply be played with no other app than the browser

Also how many APP will not request APP Dev rewards (null wallet stored with APP) because the person doesn’t want to or its a community project or its a sponsored APP build etc.

One piece of media can be as much as 4000 chunks (4GB movie) and music can be 4-10 chunks each and a playlist can simply be a self made web page that does it for you (ie no app rewards)

It is possible that for a particular stretch of 1 million GETs we have all GETs being for APPs and the next million GETs could be mostly media, file downloads, etc and 20% of those GETs are for APPs. And for both scenarios assume Farming Rate is VERY HIGH at 1 coin (attempt) per 100 GETs and all attempts succeed to keep it simple

scenario 1

  • All GETs involve APPs with dev rewards enabled.
  • Farming rate is 0.01 (1 coin per 100 GETs)
  • Farmers get 1000000 * 0.01 == 10000 coins
  • App Devs get 1000000 * 0.01 * 0.10 == 1000 coins
  • Core Devs get 1000000 * 0,01 * 0.05 == 500 coins

Scenario 2

  • 20% of GETs involve APPs with dev rewards enabled
  • Farming rate is also 0.01 (1 coin per 100 GETs)
  • Farmers get 1000000 * 0.01 == 10000 coins (exactly the same as scenario 1)
  • APP Devs get 1000000 * 0.20 * 0.01 * 0.1 == 200 coins (million * 20%) * FR * 10%
  • Core Devs get 1000000 * 0,01 * 0.05 == 500 coins

So APP Dev rewards is not simple to explain so its best to say “App Devs get UPTO 10% of the current farming rate”

Except that would be VERY wrong and creates the situation that we have now where even seasoned members of this forum believe that 5% for core Devs 10% for App Devs and 85% for farmers and then many also still relate that to the existing coins.

It could be APP Devs never cash in or use their coins and APP Devs could hold 75% of the existing coins at any one time. Or the opposite they cash in immediately (all those coins spent for resources - recycled) to continue development and APP Devs hold <1% at any one time of the existing coins. Thus we see there is no sense in expressing APP Dev rewards in relation to farming rewards becuse they are different and follow different actual rates of coin issuance and retention.

Its these erroneous simplifications that leave us today where people just say the wrong thing and start believing APP Devs are robbing farmers of their earnings or Warren comes along and says Dev rewards is a tax.

Its difficult for those with a long blockchain history since there has not been anything like it with the recycling making all the previous ways of expressing wealth and creation of new coins rather simplistic and not able to see the whole picture.

No they don’t, see the two scenarios above. Even in the silly maximum case of all GETs being for APP Devs then its farmers are getting 100/115 of coins being generated. BUT BUT BUT Farmers are simply getting the Farming Rate. Now in the more likely situation where the mix of GETs is 50% or less are for APPs with the Dev reward set then the farmers are getting 100/110 of coins and this could even be closer to 100/106 in some cases.

The point is that by trying to express it as farmers getting a % of all coin generated creates a real problem and over time recycling makes a MOCKERY of such simplifications.

Best to just say what it is

  • Farmers Get the full 100% of Farming rate
  • APP Devs get upto 10% of the farming rate (Upto because not all GETs are for Apps.)
    • OR APP Devs get 10% of the farming rate for the GETs caused by APPs
  • Core Devs get 5% of the farming rate
  • All rewards are paid independently of each other.
  • recycling means there is the potential for near infinite coin creation over time
  • Additional rewards maybe introduced if seen as a benefit to the network (EG PtP)

Very well explained Neo.

Releted to picture above I would say:

  • up to 10% of farmed Safecoins

  • 5% of farmed Safecoins

And delete exchange and cash picture.

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But the point is that APP Dev rewards is not upto 10% of farmed safecoin

You need to replace “farmed safecoin” with “farming rate”. and same for core dev rewards.

The reason is that it is not related to farmed coins. The relationship is

  • farming rate —> # of farmed coins
  • farming rate —> # of app dev rewards
  • farming rate —> # of core dev rewards

To say it the way you said is to create a causality in that farmed coins caused the # of dev rewards whereas its farming rate causes the # of dev rewards It may sound trivial but causality in the creation of new coins is the whole point of explaining why/how the coins are created.

Also it sounds like on first read that devs get upto 15% (5+10) of the coins farmed and the farmers get what is left over (85%)

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Thanks for the clarifications.

So to put it simply:

For every 100 Safecoin issued to farmers:

  • 5 Safecoin are issued to core network developers
  • up to 10 Safecoin are issued to app developers

…with the number of Safecoin for app developers being up to 10, depending on the proportion of GETs that were part of app dev rewards. This means we can’t give the figures as fixed, neat percentages.

I think it may be best to avoid using the term ‘farming rate’ in articles unless there’s an explanation of what this is.

Do you remember which RFC has these details in? I can’t find them!

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Humbly … I’ve been around here quite a while and I don’t understand all the nuances of Safecoin … I suppose I could spend an hour or three digging in to really gain a detailed appreciation like @neo has … but I’m too busy to do so and it’s just not that critical to me at this juncture … which is the point I’m attempting to make - most people are probably not going to take the time to dig in either - especially if they are noobs to the Safe Network … so, again humbly, I suggest that marketers stick to the KISS principle - if we can not say it both correctly AND succinctly, then leave it out and only make reference to details elsewhere for those who are motivated. Otherwise we will, IMO, most likely only sow confusion.

BTW, @SarahPentland - thanks for your efforts and listening to all the feedback - I know if can be frustrating. :wink:

I think @SarahPentland did an awesome job assembling this Medium post but I think it may serve every well to either suspend it or remove the image that is causing the confusion. There are some very smart people @neo and others who may know more and should participate in the re-do or design of a info-graphic.

IMO this is not the way to attract new talent or followers to @maidsafe or the SafeNet.


I’m not sure it’s a big enough issue to pull the article.

The article is great, and while it is slightly inaccurate on this point, the principle is communicated.

Whether its 5% or 4% of generated Safecoin go to network devs, and whether 10% or 6% of generated Safecon coin go to app devs isn’t particularly important at this stage (and isn’t set in stone), but it’s important to say that the network will be paying app and core devs regularly as a built-in feature using Safecoin.

Perhaps keep it up, but work on clarify the graphic to be more accurate & update soon?


Sounds like it.

And yes we need to explain farming rate. Could be loosely said as being along the lines of bitcoin difficulty. Why the rate is not worked out the same it does have similar effect on how “hard” it is to get a reward.

And I could be scuttled when the dev team start working on safecoin and change some aspect of the implementation. For instance the RFC for safecoin is almost certainly going to be changed since the way to determine how much resources is used/free is now different.

Just remember that each reward is a separate payment and none of them reduce or affect the other. At this time the amounts are based on farming rate.

And I second this.


Maybe @SarahPentland could simply change the 10% (& 5%) of all safecoin to something like “10% of farming reward difficulty” so that blockchain people have something to compare farming rate with.


Very nice description of farming, app, and dev rates. However, I think the following statement is misleading :

I understand the point you were trying to make but there are 2^32 safecoin. Perhaps it is less confusing to just point out that all of this safecoin is freely exchanged between farmers, the network, and consumers to keep data SAFE.
The dynamics of who holds how much and when are hard to pin down right now… @DavidMc0 and I were supposed to run some simulations of this…

Regardless, I thought the article was well written and good for the target audience.


There is potential for 10^48 coins to be issued. And maybe more or less.

Example of when the network is large enough that growth is not exponential anymore

  • Lets say 1000 million coins are in existence at this point
  • Lets say issuance network wise is 10 million coins per week (500 million per year)
  • Lets say a realistic upload rate means between 8 and 11 million coins recycled (spent - destroyed) per week. Average 9 million spent & destroyed by recycling
  • Thus we get 1 million new coins per week added to existing coins. (50 million per year)
  • Lets say growth is at around 2 times per year and its actually 100 million coins increase in existing coins per year. And issuance of 1000 million per year
  • In 10 years and assume growth doubles those figures again.
    • issuance of 20000 million coins
    • existing coins increase by 2000 million coins
    • Thus total existing coins are now 3000 million coins

Thus you can see 10 times the total coins are issued compared to the existing coins. This will likely be a lot higher initially as people are uploading all their data. It could even be 100 to 500 times the issuance to remaining coins in existence for the 400 million to 1000 million in existence rise. So in that initial exponential growth phase we cold see 60000 to 300000 million coins issued. We even could see negative growth in existing coins for the first period of time (months), and relatively even issuance - recycled at various times during the exponential growth phase

Obviously I have estimated these figures but you can see that for the ordinary person you might as well say almost infinite when comparing it to the 4000 million maximum coins in existence for the purposes of working out the rewards “percentages”

I don’t disagree with your numbers, just the terminology related to how one defines “issued”, “spent”, and “destroyed”. I know it’s just semantics, but I think clear terminology can make things less confusing for people.

This is the way I understand it :
A coin is only “destroyed” when the owner loses their account credentials. A coin is “issued” when the network pays a farmer for a GET, for the very first time with that coin. In all other cases of general network commerce a coin is “spent”. The users spend coins to purchase PUTs from the network, and network spends coins to purchase GETs from the farmers. Coins can also be spent on other things, (computation, bandwidth, lambos, rolexi, groceries, clothes, mansions, etc.)

Only 2^32 coins will ever be “issued”, but every single coin can be “spent” an infinite number of times. Hopefully, very few coins will be “destroyed”.