Although the SAFE network is not a standard cryptocurrency project, it may be a surprise that the original design of this decentralised network existed before Bitcoin. David Irvine founded it in 2002, but officially left the SAFE Network in 2006. There were no MaidSafe coins in the network yet, so it was not considered a cryptocurrency before Bitcoin. The main goal of the SAFE Network is to free the Internet and create a so-called decentralised Internet with an emphasis on our privacy. Does it have a chance of success?
It should be emphasised that the MaidSafe project is not a standard cryptocurrency, since the SAFE Network does not work on a blockchain. Similarly, there are no miners, but so-called farmers who provide their disk space, computing power, or data connectivity for others, and they receive the system token, Safecoin. This system is called Proof of Resource and allows the network to authenticate actions and services using a mathematically proven mechanism.
If you want to save something to the SAFE Network, your data will be divided into smaller parts, encrypted (self-encryption) and distributed to different farmers. They will not have access to the data, nor will they know where they are, just as you do not know where your data is. There will not be the same version of data from two users on the system. This means that if a second user uploads data to the SAFE Network that is the same as previously uploaded data, it will be deleted automatically. Still, there will be copies of data that have been split, encrypted, and sent to multiple users. The reason is so the data is accessible to the owner in case of emergency, for example, a disabled computer of the farmer.
The SAFE Network is an alternative to today's Internet and networks. Users commonly think that the Internet is a place where data and commands fly through the air. It's not that simple. The operation and maintenance of the Internet (networks) require massive data centres with huge electricity consumption and cooling. These centres and the overall current centralised Internet are easier to challenge than the future of the SAFE Network, which will be fully decentralised.
A MaidSafe coin is basically a token that has been sold through today's well-known ICO. The ICO of the MaidSafe coin took place in April 2014, when developers released 452 million MaidSafe coins that are still on the market today and are sold on stock exchanges. Within 30 days, they raised 6.4 million dollars through the ICO. The MaidSafe coin itself is the only part of the project that runs on a blockchain, as it is a proxy coin running on the Omni protocol. Selected funds are split as follows:
Safecoin is a system token that will only exist within the SAFE Network and will be worth the same as a MaidSafe coin since it should be exchanged at a 1:1 rate after it starts. Safecoin acts as the driving force of the whole system. Its purpose is to reward all those who are a benefit to the SAFE Network, whether they are farmers, developers, or application owners. At the end of development, a maximum of 4.3 billion Safecoins should be in circulation. Similarly, they will return to the system if users pay for the SAFE Network within one of the applications. In the end, the SAFE Network will create its own ecosystem, i.e. Internet 2.0, which will be fully decentralised. Within the ecosystem, we can present all the apps, sites, browsers, and other features of today's centralised Internet.
Developers themselves declare that after the network is fully up and running, we will be able to change the current situation, where our data is managed by a third party that also sells our privacy in the form of advertising, to a system where we can manage ourselves. We would also be able to secure the protection of our data that would be stored without third party access.
The SAFE Network is currently in the second phase of the Alpha version. Within the Alpha 2 version, you have an authenticator available to create an account on your network. You currently have the option to use the browser and basic applications. This means you can chat, use email, or create your own page.
I personally did not have access to the browser and basic tools of the SAFE Network because some permissions and participation in the forums are required. That's why I have attached a few screenshots of how the user environment looks and a link that shows what the SAFE Network looks like in 13 minutes.
Currently, MaidSafe coins can be bought on 9 stock exchanges, mostly for bitcoins, with HitBTC, Poloniex, and Bittrex currently having the highest liquidity. Other stock exchanges can be found at www.coinmarketcap.com.
The storage of purchased MaidSafe coins is problematic. The safest but somewhat complicated solution is to use a paper wallet, whose proper set-up requires some time and skill. The second option is to save to www.omniwallet.org, where you can also send MaidSafe coins as long as you import the paper wallet's address. The last option is to deposit directly on the stock exchange, but this alternative is not among the safest.
The SAFE Network has been in existence for a very long time. Of course, providing a full, decentralised alternative to the current Internet is not easy. A number of its former supporters have banned the project and stopped following it. But if the developers manage to reach the end of their goals for the decentralised SAFE Network, it will undoubtedly be an extraordinary success. Even several articles have been published that compare projects such as STORJ, GOLEM and the SAFE Network, but in my opinion they compare something completely incomparable. I do not know exactly where they are technologically different, but while the SAFE Network addresses all areas in a comprehensive way, the other projects are only focused on sub-tasks. The SAFE Network is simply something much wider than Golem or STORJ, and can change the Internet as we know it.
Only time will tell whether the project will succeed, otherwise, Bitcoin developer Peter Todd will have earned his criticism.