DYOR Crypto Wiki
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Basics

  • At the moment MaidSafeCoin (MAID) until the SAFE Network goes live.
  • "Started in 2006 by Scottish engineer David Irvine, MaidSafe are the core developers of the SAFE Network. It’s a small team comprised of: thinkers, inventors, tinkerers, PhDs, engineers and designers."
  • The SAFE network is a peer to peer network of users, communicating through distributed, self-encryption technology.
  • Open source
  • Transparent Presale
  • Currency, Cloudstorage, Rent disk space
  • Uses the Omni layer

Token

  • The following is all from their FAQ (as of 1-2020 on the website):

"Safecoin won’t be issued until the Network goes live so they cannot be purchased at the moment. Currently you can buy MaidSafeCoin which will be swapped on a 1-to-1 basis for Safecoin when released.

Safecoin is a digital token that is generated automatically by the SAFE Network and stays on the SAFE Network. The Network will autonomously confirm account balances to Wallets and allow transactions to take place. Safecoin is transferred using the digital signature of the coin’s last owner. This operation is 'network atomic'; in other words, the Network ensures that all copies update to reflect the transaction. This is a different approach to the blockchain mechanism employed in other projects, such as Bitcoin.

Safecoin is the currency of the SAFE Network. It is an incentive mechanism that rewards Users and developers, as well as providing access to network services.

Without any human intervention, the SAFE Network pays out Safecoin automatically to Farmers (users who join the Network by contributing their computing resources) and to Builders (application developers, who get paid automatically depending on how much their applications are used).

In addition, Core Developers who improve the core SAFE Network codebase can also earn Safecoin by providing bug fixes and new features.

Safecoin only lives on the SAFE Network. It is stored in a User's wallet and can be used to buy network services, such as increased storage space and access to network applications. There is no set distribution time for the 4.3 billion Safecoin produced during the life of the SAFE Network."

The 30% allocation is as follows:

  • 5% will be laid aside in exchange for the shares of the current investors of Maidsafe. The Maidsafe Foundation will hold the safecoin for these shareholders. Current shareholders will be able to exchange their shares at any time for safecoin. If they decide to do so, they will cease being owners of Maidsafe in favor of ownership of (hopefully absurdly valuable) safecoin.
  • Up to 10% will be made available through a 30 day crowd sale where investors can exchange bitcoins or mastercoins for a proxy token, MaidSafeCoin that will be redeemable for safecoin on a 1:1 basis when the SAFE network is launched.
  • 5% will be held by the Maidsafe foundation to allocate to core developers.
  • The final 10% will be allocated by the network itself to developers who create applications that people use.
  • The remainder of the coins will be harvested by Vault Farmers over time in an asymptotic fashion that approaches a limit of 4.3 billion units.

Tech

“Staying in browser land is the SAFE Mobile Browser. We already have two iterations out in the world and we’re currently working away at the project, including implementing the perpetual functionality that’s present in the desktop version”

  • The following is all from their FAQ (as of 1-2020 on the website):

"Vault

The SAFE Network is made up of nodes called Vaults. A Vault is a program that runs on a device which connects the machine to the Network. Collectively, Vaults manage the storage of all data on the Network by managing the movement of chunks of encrypted user data that are stored across the Network. No Farmer (user) can ever decrypt a chunk of data that his or her Vault receives and, in return for providing the storage capacity to the Network, is rewarded with Safecoin.

Vaults ensure that the events occurring on the Network are valid. They are clustered into small groups, each with responsibility for looking after the data stored within a Section (a certain range of addresses).

These groups of nodes form, merge and split without any human oversight as the SAFE Network itself has complete control of the process. In the same way, the encrypted data chunks move around the Network in a fully autonomous way. No central servers or agents (like BitTorrent trackers) are required by the Network. No central authority oversees the proceedings.

Just as children are not allowed to vote in elections, a Vault is not allowed to vote on Network events (such as a new member joining or the storage of a data chunk) until it has proven itself to be reliable. Initially, a Vault has to successfully complete a Proof of Resource request to join the Network, proving that it can provide a certain amount of bandwidth and CPU capacity. It is then assigned to a Section and given a low Node Age. This is a measure of its trustworthiness. After that initial connection, the Network will autonomously move (churn) that Vault at random from Section to Section, giving it the opportunity to build its reputation (Node Age). Once its Node Age reaches a certain value, it can be an active participant in group decisions. A Vault with the greatest Node Age in a Section is known as an Elder. As a result, because new Vaults must prove their worth in various random Sections before they can vote, targeting a particular Section on the SAFE Network by an attacker is close to impossible.

Vaults also cryptographically check messages and take on more defined roles, called personas. Each Vault will have a Client Manager persona. This keeps a record of the account details for each Client (user) within its Section. For example, this will confirm how much data has been uploaded to the Network, how much is being stored and the balance of Safecoin remaining to fund further uploads. Whilst a Client Manager will know the account balance, it has no way of linking this to an identity (i.e. an IP address, username or public identity).

Each Vault also has a Data Manager persona. This manages where encrypted chunks of other users’ data is held and has responsibility for the chunks in its Section.

Proof of Resource

Proof of Resource is the process that measures a Vault’s ability to store and retrieve data chunks. A User’s computer receives a score based on its CPU speed, bandwidth availability, disk space and time online.

Proof of Resource in the SAFE Network uses a mechanism similar to a Zero Knowledge Proof. The checking mechanism does not need to know what data is being checked—it simply needs to know that the correct data is being held and accurately.

PARSEC

"PARSEC is the consensus algorithm which allows decentralised networks to reach agreement on a series of events, actions or activities in a secure and reliable manner that is not only highly asynchronous but also Byzantine Fault Tolerant. In other words, the Network is mathematically guaranteed to reach consensus (provided no more than one-third of nodes are malicious or unresponsive for whatever reason)."

Data Deduplication

The SAFE Network uses data deduplication to ensure that space is used efficiently when storing multiple copies of data which have been uniquely encrypted. The network is able to distinguish identical pieces of data by comparing the hashes of each chunk. Vaults also use hashes to identify themselves (known as Guaranteed Vault Identification).

Self-Authentication

Self-Authentication means that you can log in and secure your data with no middle man. You never have to give your password to anyone or ask a third party’s permission to access your data. Your information, and access to it, belongs to you and no one else. Your Secret and Password are used to locate your data on the Network and then used to decrypt that data locally. That means that no one needs to hold a record of your files or your login details—and there’s no need to ask anyone for permission to access it. This is known as Self-Authentication and enables you to find, unlock and decrypt your own data.

Close Group Consensus

A key requirement for distributed computer networks is consensus. In other words how can nodes reach agreement when there is no centralised authority and when you are likely to have nodes that are either malicious or fail. Many projects will rely on a blockchain in order to achieve this consensus but, as we know, this approach doesn’t work with the SAFE Network where the number of transactions is greater and the expectation of users will be to retrieve data instantaneously. So how do you reach consensus on an increasingly large group of decentralised nodes without compromising security?

The answer lies within close groups. Using Close Group Consensus, small groups are able to make statements on behalf of the entire Network which means that the Network does not need to communicate directly with every single node each time.

On the SAFE Network, the concept of ‘closeness’ comes from something called XOR networking. This is a way of randomising the physical location of data on a distributed network and ensuring that each location is unique. However, in this sense, it is also used because every Vault has a XOR location also. A Close Group is then comprised of the closest Vault ID’s to the user’s Vault ID in terms of XOR distance. This is distance measured in the mathematical sense, as opposed to the geographical sense.

The Group of Vaults managing a Section will always try to reach consensus (agreement) amongst themselves on any state and action. They also ‘group sign’ messages that travel over the wider network so that other Vaults in other Groups can cryptographically verify each message and action (such as groups forming, splitting and merging). These group signatures are stored in Data Chains which are secured and held by all Vaults in the Group.

Close Group Consensus is not used for every operation on the Network as this would cause unnecessary load. It is only used for putting data on the Network—cryptographic signatures are used for other activities—for example, simple amendments to data or sending a Safecoin to another user.

Data Chains

In the same way that the Bitcoin blockchain does not hold bitcoins, a data chain doesn’t hold data. However, it does provide evidence that a piece of data exists and where it should exist. Crucially, with the SAFE Network the data identified is real (documents, videos etc). That means that we can use that data identifier to prove the actual data itself is valid Network data (i.e. it has been accepted previously by the Network).

So what is the architecture of a Data Chain? Imagine a block of data. This contains the data identifiers (for example, hash, name, type of data etc). Connected to this block is a link. This link a collection of signatures by all of the members of a group who agree that the details within this block of data are correct. With every change in the membership of the group, a new link is created and added to the Data Chain.

There is much more to the detail of this architecture but to summarise, the Data Chain will split as the Network grows whilst the collective record will remain, accessible to all nodes. The links prove the membership and agreement that has taken place in the past. Using Data Chains, nodes have a provable history on the Network which means that they can prove group membership and be ranked easily for security purposes. Some nodes will not need to hold the actual data but instead hold only identifiers as the existence of that data is guaranteed. And crucially, Data Chains will ultimately enable the secure republishing of data should the Network ever lose power, as well as providing validation that data has been stored on the Network.

We believe that Data Chains appear to be a natural progression for decentralised systems. They allow data of any type, size or format to be looked after and maintained in a secure and decentralised manner-in the sense of not only protecting physical data but also the validity of such data on the Network."

"Maidsafe, announced their new development, the Protocol for Asynchronous, Reliable, Secure and Efficient Consensus (PARSEC), in unusually hyperbolic fashion:

“We’ve created the world’s first (as far as we’re aware!) completely decentralised, open source, highly asynchronous, Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus mechanism.”

An asynchronous protocol would be able to operate under a DoS attack but creates a new problem which is that it is hard to reach a consensus when it is impossible to know if the network is under attack (e.g. DDoS) or if a particular message is just being delayed by the protocol itself. Synchronous protocols come to a consensus every X seconds. Partially synchronous protocols come to a consensus every unknown amount of seconds. An asynchronous protocol instead needs a different means to decide when all nodes are able to come to a consensus.

This problem is essentially what PARSEC solves. It makes it possible to reach 100% certainty consensus with no reliance on timing, with up to 1/3 of the network being dishonest even if the network is attacked (up to 1/3 is the most any network can endure).

Maidsafe is not a blockchain and the company is one of the few in the space to predate Bitcoin, in operation since 2006. "It has no leaders, no round robin, no proof-of-work and reaches eventual consensus with probability one"

It goes deeper into the Gossip Protocol in this article.

Roadmap

  • A detailed roadmap can be found here (as of 1-2020). At the moment Vault Phase 1 is live since 29-8-2019 and the next milestone should be SAFE Fleming Network. Of which 3 out of the 15 point or not done yet.
  • From Reddit (21-1-2020) on how far they are:

“SAFEnetwork is still in development ready for MVP called Fleming. The last parts missing you can see on roadmap and on GitHub.
There is not done Vault Phase 2 & 3, Farming and Node Ageing.
The next step is Maxwell and not that much left to have beta and real lunch of SAFEnetwork.
You can already play with some apps where latest versions are here.
But Alpha network has been turn off last November, so you can not at this moment connect with other nodes.'There was not much new they could tested, so they decide to cut expenses. Alpha has been run on droplet servers with about $2000/month maintenance. So both active users and MaidSafe developers are now waiting for MVP Fleming with real routing, PARSEC, node age, ... The plan is start with single section, where anyone can join the network.”

Team, etc.

  • Irvine, David; Founder
  • Rest of the team can be found here. Did downscale dramatically in early 2020 "All staff are working remotely now though. Scottish and Indian offices have gone, no marketing team, no COO, only skeleton admin staff, and what's left is just a hard working group of engineers focused on releases now. Weekly updates still happening every Thursday on the forum."
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