MAIDSAFE AND EXCHANGES

Yesterday we were informed that Bittrex are going to be delisting MaidSafeCoin. The suddenness of the news, which takes effect on the 9th of March, came as a surprise. The rapidly changing regulatory landscape in the US (where Bittrex are based) is evidenced with the SEC taking a greater interest and more proactive approach in cryptocurrencies. While we can’t say too much about the process that led to the decision (as we had been asked to sign NDAs) the reason provided was MaidSafeCoin’s current lack of utility on the SAFE Network.

What next

We appreciate liquidity is very important to MaidSafeCoin holders and moving forward we are currently having discussions with multiple exchanges and have already put plans in place to list with a large exchange outside the US. We will be working with them on promoting the new listing and we’ll make a joint announcement about this as soon as we can. MaidSafeCoin continues to be traded on Poloniex, HitBTC, Upbit, Cryptopia and CoinSpot.

For those who have coins listed on Bittrex they confirm on their website that they will give users “…up to 14 days to withdraw any delisted tokens, but in certain instances the withdrawal period may be shortened. Users should withdraw any tokens before the posted withdrawal deadline.”

Focus remains on product

This announcement comes at a time when things are going well within the company and the community. Our team has continued to grow with quite a few new recruits being hired in recent weeks. The company is also well funded and there is more than sufficient resources to facilitate Network beta launch and market the network.

We’re also looking forward to hosting SAFE DevCon 2018 on the 23rd of April 2018 in Ayr, Scotland as it represents a fantastic opportunity to spend some time with part of our 7,500 strong community who are actively developing a number of apps that include decentralised content management systems (SAFE CMS), a decentralized music player (JAMS), file storage (SAFE FS), mail applications and many more. Many of these apps are already designed to support the SAFE Networks new bespoke web browser which is currently being community tested.

This continued focus on ‘the product’ is where we believe we provide real value, both to the world at large and to holders of MaidSafeCoin.

So despite this setback, there is much to be optimistic about in the near future. We will update you with additional exchange listings in collaboration with our partners and keep you updated with development updates weekly via the forum.

Announcing SAFE DevCon 2018

 

SAFE DevCon 2018

We’re happy to announce that we’re running our second DevCon in Ayr!

On Monday 23rd April 2018, the global MaidSafe team will be descending on Ayr Racecourse for an event that’s focused primarily on developers who are currently working (or wanting to work) on SAFE Network apps.

Whilst we’ve held various events previously (not least the conference in Asia in 2017) and the community has been running meetups around the world for the past few years, it’s the first time that we’ll have all the team in one location for a day solely dedicated to the SAFE Network.

The full agenda will be published in a couple of weeks – but you can assume that we’ll have a wide range of speakers from across the different areas of the protocol running through the existing state of the SAFE Network, laying out the plans for the year ahead and highlighting a few of the many apps that are flourishing independently from developers around the world.

For 2018, we’ve decided to keep the numbers small. For developers that can make their way to Ayr, we’ll be covering the costs of two night’s accommodation around the Conference. If we have too many applicants, we’ll choose by drawing names from a hat and get back to each applicant (hopefully by Thursday 22nd February) to confirm whether they’ve been successful in securing a ticket.

And those of you within the Community who live around the world and won’t be able to travel, don’t worry – we plan to stream the whole event live and share the videos afterwards.

So if you’d like to come along, take the unique opportunity to meet the full MaidSafe team and hear the very latest about all things SAFE Network, please email us directly at outreach@maidsafe.net (including your safenetforum handle).

 

Starting 2018 with a Bang – Monthly update on SAFE Network

Start window of the peruse browser

It has been a very successful and busy start to 2018. Here’s the round up of the best bits from January at the SAFE Network.

Development

We are almost ready to release a new custom Browser, Peruse following extensive planning and development. The existing SAFE Browser as you may be aware is a fork of the Beaker Browser and this has worked well, however, recent changes including a move towards DAT has created extra work for the team with conflicting code.  The decision was therefore taken to develop a new custom browser and it is hoped that the reduced time needed to handle upstream merges and bugs will allow for quicker updates going forward.  

Early this month we also published new versions of SAFE Client Libs.  From this we hope to see more developers building on the network and adding to the apps already in development which include a decentralised forum, SAFE Content Management System, a wallet app, as well as messaging and storage apps.  

The Routing team have been busy and having conducted a number of simulations are implementing a well considered design as they progress toward alpha 3. With these simulations we will be able to test various outcomes and hope this will signal the next step for the network.

Marketing

Following the growth of the Marketing team at the end of last year we have now published some high level strategy plans for the coming months. As we increase the marketing activities as well as the visibility of these we will be including a marketing updates within the weekly Dev Update every Thursday.   

We have begun work on a new MaidSafe website and anticipate launch in early April.  The current site was created to support the release of Alpha 2 in September 2017 and as planned we are updating this as we move toward Alpha 3.  

Early in January we were able to launch our first video of 2018 with an animated piece explaining the differences between the SAFE Network and the blockchain. The Next Internet Shouldn’t be Blockchain based can be viewed on our Facebook or YouTube channel and has been translated subtitles in a number of languages submitted by our community.  

Following the successful relaunch of the Community Engagement Program (CEP) before Christmas we have now appointed Hypercube to develop an animated video about Safecoin.  Having created 2 of our previous videos we are excited to see what they will come up with and look forward to sharing it with you all very soon.  As this project has been over funded we have also come to an agreement with Hypercube that they will create a second video which will help explain the consensus mechanism behind the SAFE Network.

As well as the CEP we have been increasing our resources for newcomers and have recently announced our plans for a SAFE Network Academy.  Aiming to provide short courses that build up the knowledge and awareness among interested parties. We envision this to be an incremental series of courses and will release more news on these very soon. In the meantime if you are looking for comprehensive information on the network the new Safe Primer is now available.  This fantastic resource was created by a team from our community and we are very grateful for all of their hard work.

Recruitment and Growth

As the company and the Network continues to grow we continue to recruit for a number of roles with some success. At the MaidSafe HQ in Ayr we recently recruited Nadia Burborough  as a Technical Executive Assistant on 26th January, she will work closely with the engineers and will assist Viv in staying updated with the work of the ever growing team.  

Bank of desks

 

 

We have also just recruited a Test and Release Manager and a UI/UX Designer who will both be based from our HQ as well as a new remote Rust Engineer who will start with us in the coming weeks. This activity comes on the back of the successful launch of a dedicated office for the front-end team in Chennai, India, and our partners there are working to hard to expand the team and fill this wonderful new space.

Media

This year has kicked off with some strong media coverage.  COO Nick Lambert has spoken on both BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 4 on 4th January BBC 5 Live earlier this week.  We have also had two blog pieces from Sarah in the BraveNewCoin and The Block, both on topic of autonomous cars. To round of January David spoke with John Harris from Guardian with this resulting article “The punk rock internet – how DIY rebels are working to replace tech giants”.

As someone posted recently on the forum ‘the community is buzzing’ at the moment, thanks to everyone for your continued time, support and commitment!

Regards MaidSafe.

New team member: Nadia Burborough

julius-rinke-48665There’s sun in Scotland! Having been living in New Zealand for the past 17 years, I forgot it could actually be sunny in Scotland and how beautiful it is. It’s good to be home!

Having spent the last few years in NZ, it was time to come back and reconnect with my Scottish roots and my journey has taken me to be the newest addition to the MaidSafe team, as the Technical Executive Assistant.

With the continued success of the company the technical teams have grown in both number and breadth of scope. As such, the Technical Executive Assistant role was created to enable the Chief Technical Officer and the technical teams, by supporting them with process and rollouts.

I bring over 10 years experience leading projects in both IT and business change, in a number of different sectors. I also have had a lot of experience in related roles such as Learning & Development Consultant, Change Manager and Business Improvement.

As my two young children get used to being in Scotland, what hasn’t changed is their online activity! It wasn’t something I needed to be aware of when I was their age, but today’s world is very different. Teaching my children about online safety is a regular conversation in our house, and I do my best to ensure they are protected…and I know many other parents do the same. What’s interesting however, is how many parents are not as careful about their own data and information. It seems many have resigned themselves to the fact our ‘private’ information is viewable by others or up for sale…and that we can’t seem to do much about it.

Many people don’t know how to protect themselves online, other than creating a password which isn’t the name of their first born. Being part of the MaidSafe team is really exciting – because of their vision, because of the people who work here and because of the thousands of people already engaged in the community forums all with the same focus – to bring about a network that has secure access for everyone.

 

MaidSafe New Team Member: Dug Campbell

nasa-53884

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

As we hurtle towards the end of 2017, it’s time to take stock. And the verdict’s in: it’s been a crazy year in the world of cryptocurrency. But thankfully, in most cases, that’s crazy-good, as opposed to crazy-bad. That’s certainly the case for me personally at least. And this is why…

Back in January 2014, I organised the first Bitcoin Meetup in Scotland. As I wrote at the time, it felt like a bit of a leap of faith. Not in terms of the organisation (thanks to Meetup). But because the prevailing view amongst those few who’d actually heard of this ‘magic internet money’ was that the whole thing was a scam and destined to end in tears.

Whether real or perceived, it crossed my mind that there might be a reputational risk in becoming so deeply involved as an organiser. I don’t consider myself risk-averse in any way. But as someone who had enjoyed/endured a legal career of more than a decade, I’m hardly the best person to judge. After all, the risk of loss-aversion has well-known effects on decision-making.

But try as I might, I couldn’t get past one simple fact. I’d spent many months by that stage falling deeper down the proverbial Bitcoin rabbit hole. Late nights wrestling with explanations about the technology, engaging with the economic implications, debating the future potential and limitations. To me, it was clear that change – at a fundamental, disruptive level that would resonate across multiple areas of everyday life – was coming. And yet, as far as I could make out, no-one in Scotland had got together in a room  to discuss what was going on. The decision was made. I might be left sitting alone in that pub one evening – but surely there had to be others out there.  

The story of how the scene in Scotland developed after that first meetup (for which, to be clear, I claim no credit!) is an interesting one. But it’s not the focus here. Nor is the purpose of this post a chance for me to say ‘I told you so’ when we look at Bitcoin in 2017. I believe Bitcoin remains a technology in evolution with an indeterminate end state that has plenty of room left to run. The key thing here is the paradigm shift that’s taking place.

But that very first night in Edinburgh was important for another reason. I’m still in contact with many of the people that I met for the first time that night. But undoubtedly one of the most impactful conversations I’ve had was with someone who’d been one of the first to sign up for that meetup – a guy called David Irvine, who travelled all the way across from the West Coast of Scotland, from an outfit that went by the name of MaidSafe.  

I’d tried to research everyone who’d signed up before the meetup. Not in a creepy ‘let’s-track-you’ kind of way. But in a ‘let’s-build-the-community’ kind of way. I wanted to help people to keep the conversations going after the event. And I have to admit, my feeble brain had struggled to understand what MaidSafe did before the Meetup. But that changed when I spoke to David on that evening. And I was dumbfounded by the fact that a project with such huge ambitions and such far-reaching implications was taking place pretty much under my nose in Scotland.

Since that time, I’ve been heavily involved in the Bitcoin/blockchain scene, particularly in Scotland. But I’ve always been convinced that something big was happening in the mythical shed in Troon. Throughout my travels, I kept pointing people in the direction of the SAFE Network and discussing what it represents. That included asking Nick (Lambert, COO) to give a talk when I put on the Scottish Bitcoin Conference in 2014, running a Maidsafe-focused meetup and also sharing in the rollercoaster excitement of the MaidSafe fundraising in April 2014.

Fast forward four years and I’m delighted to say that I’ve now joined MaidSafe full-time as Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. Most people who start at a new company talk platitudes about their new employers. But you’ll have to take my word for it in this case. I’d continue to sing the praises of the SAFE Network even if I wasn’t working here.

This is why.

MaidSafe’s mission is no less significant than building a new secure network that will revolutionise the way that every one of us uses the internet. Many years ago, David had worked out that we collectively needed a better solution. And MaidSafe is in good company, with none other than the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, sharing similar concerns. In fact, Tim is working on addressing the same sort of issues with his Solid project at MIT

Over the past couple of years, the problems of data storage and security have only worsened. The concerns so presciently raised by MaidSafe eleven years ago have intensified in the collective awareness of society. We now see daily examples of sensitive personal information and data being hacked or misplaced by third parties. Arguments over privacy and net neutrality dominate the news. And new concerns over the excessive power wielded by giant internet companies are raised daily.  

In short, as the internet has increased in importance to our daily lives, so has the visibility of its major flaws. And crucially – these aren’t issues that will simply solve themselves. We can’t sit back and expect things to improve. Technologies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have helped to bring the benefits of decentralisation to the forefront of discussion. And even amongst those who remain cynical, few still believe our current architecture remains fit-for-purpose when it comes to the next few decades of human evolution.

In addition to playing a small part in helping to build a solution to a problem that increases with each passing day, there’s another big motivating factor at play for me here. With the emergence of MaidSafe so early in the chronology of recent events, I believe that many over the past few years have simply not had the opportunity to spend  the time to find out what the ultimate success of this project represents. I’ve been a member of MaidSafe’s forum (https://safenetforum.org/) since it was set up (not by the company but by enthusiasts around the world, it should be noted) a few years ago – and I’m constantly bowled over by just how engaged, respectful, intelligent and enthusiastic this community is.

Over the past few years, I’ve given many talks on Bitcoin and the blockchain scene in general. But the reality is that my advocacy has always been a response to the level of community engagement out there. The more people that found out about the subject, the keener they were to explore further. The similarities to me are striking. Today, I don’t think most people are aware that the SAFE Network project has been active for eleven years. Just let that sink in for a moment. Pre-Bitcoin. The project even had a prototype crypto-currency before Satoshi’s White Paper. As I said at the start, in the context of 2017, the SAFE Network is so far from being a hyped product it’s not funny. But it’s clear to me what the SAFE Network is: an open-source project that’s open to all that invokes a passion and belief in a community who are all driving in the same direction.

Remind you of something?

As I start working with the team on a unique project, I can’t wait to get out and do my bit. I remember a comment David made years ago. It was along the lines of “It doesn’t matter who achieves our goal in the end – but it does matter that someone does”. Joining a team that have been toiling away at some of the hardest technical challenges out there for over a decade – for the most part entirely unheralded and under the radar – there’s no doubt in my mind that that’s going to change soon. And I can’t wait to get started.  

If you want to get in touch and have a chat, please reach out. I’m pretty active on Twitter (@dugcampbell) or you can sign up and speak to thousands more via the forum (https://safenetforum.org/). In the meantime, we’re looking for some more people to join us at MaidSafe – so if you’re a UX/UI Designer, Software Support Analyst or Testing & Release Manager and fancy joining the team, please get in touch! 

SAFE Network Autumn/Winter 2017 Update

It has been a busy few months with the SAFE Network, we have had updates on the Network, the APIs and Browser as well as internal changes here at MaidSafe.  

As we continue to grow we have taken the decision to open an office in India.  As we already have a number of key front-end developers in Chennai this new office space will allow us to further develop this team and enabling greater internal collaboration. Being based in  the technological hub of Chennai will help us attract some of the best talent as well as interact with other tech firms, industry events and meet-ups.  We have found a great space in an IT business park which can house up to 30 staff, primarily the front end team.  Renovations and design of these premises is set to be completed by late January 2018. This is a very exciting project and we will be sharing pictures of the office, the renovations and updates on the forum.

As many of you who follow us on the forum and social media will know we have been experiencing some big changes in Scotland too.  We recently moved from our previous office in Troon to a new place in Ayr.  Although this is not a big move geographically it is a bigger and more comfortable space which we hope will allow us to continue to grow both the operations and development teams.  In October we brought onboard a Digital Marketer to help us improve our market presence and marketing strategy.  Alongside Nick, Sarah has been developing the near term marketing strategy; there is a focus on increasing our brand awareness, educating people about the network, improving the understanding  of Safecoin and its unique features, as well as showcasing the world’s first and only autonomous data network to a wider audience.

In line with this Nick has been busy promoting the network from Glasgow to Google. We attended and spoke at the  Scottish Blockchain Meet up in early November in Glasgow.  There was a strong turnout and some very interesting questions and discussion.  If you would like to join the next meet up, keep an eye on our Facebook. On 30th November Nick headed to Dublin to give Google an introduction to the SAFE Network.  Employees from across the globe joined the meeting through a video conference and many more watched the video subsequently.

To maintain the momentum, the marketing department will be further strengthened by Dug Campbell later this month. Dug has worked for a number of leading technology companies including Sky Scanner and MiiCard and has been an advocate of Bitcoin for a number of years, organising Scotland’s first Bitcoin conference in 2014 and speaking about it later that year at TedX Glasgow. With a wealth of knowledge and experience Dug promises to be a great addition to the team.

We are also now recruiting for a number of other roles in our Ayr HQ.  We continue to  look for a UI/UX Designer, Software Support Engineer and a Testing and Release Manager. To start a conversation and join this exciting journey email outreach@maidsafe.net

There has been extensive updates across the network recently and the team are continuing to make strong and consistent advances.  Since the release of Alpha 2 in mid-September there has been a number of test networks and key updates and changes.

Following the release of Alpha 2 there has been two new SAFE Browser releases, V0.7.0 and V0.8.0 both of which made incremental updates and fixed bugs. Following extensive discussion across the dev teams and community it has been decided that a custom Browser should be created following the reorganisation of Beaker since our fork that has made maintaining our current browser difficult.  While we did consider other browsers including Firefox and Brave the work-around were too extensive.  We are therefore creating a Electron-based browser and a Proof of Concept is currently in external testing. This pre-release can be downloaded here.

There has also been updates to the SAFE Apps Nodes.js and SAFE Web APIs following changes to the SAFE Client Libraries. SAFE App Nodes.js has been updated to take advantage of the master branch of the safe client libraries. Further to our commitment to open source and community focused development Nodes.js allows everyone to develop self-contained web apps in Javascript. The DOM API has been updated to reflect changes made in app nodes, this will reduce the number of handles the DOMS API need to expose and will simplify the web apps code. We hope that these changes will improve the developer experience.

The next big challenge for the team is the creation of data chains and we are now nearing the final stage. As you may remember from our previous blog, data chains allow the network to republish data if it should ever lose power.  We have begun coding the features to better express the fundamental and continue to test the design. These designs will be incorporated into the alpha 3 release.  A deeper dive on the data chains design is available here.

In Crust the p2p library integration is almost complete.  This will move reliance away from the slow and unfriendly peer to peer world of TCP and provide more reliable NAT traversal. Integration is a significant step towards a secure multi-protocol, randomised port encrypted network library which will be a great help to many projects, and offer greater security and privacy for users..

We once again want to thanks the SAFE community for your continued support as we work to create the SAFE Network and the levels of data privacy and security you all deserve.

The MaidSafe team.

 

Autonomous Data Networks and Why The World Needs Them

Photo Jingyi Wang

At MaidSafe we talk about the SAFE Network being ‘autonomous’, but what does that really mean? The phrase is something that we are becoming more familiar with, as we hear talk of autonomous vehicles and autonomous robots; as such we probably have a grasp of the underlying concept that autonomous machines do things for themselves. But how does this relate to data and why should we even care?

In simple terms it defines a network that manages all our data and communications without any human intervention and without intermediaries. In an autonomous data network humans take on a new role, we become the definer of rules and protocols that instruct the network on how to manage our data.

The SAFE Network

In practical terms, an autonomous data network is one that configures itself. All data on the network is automatically split into chunks and encrypted (utilising self-encryption) before being stored at random locations selected by the network. Resources are not added to it by an IT administrator; instead nodes join the network anonymously, and are split into small groups at random without any central authority. Each node performs a number of different and clearly defined tasks. These groups, we call them close groups, change as nodes disconnect from and reconnect to the network. They work together making decisions (such as where to store data, who has authority to access data…etc…) on behalf of the network based on the messages they receive. The more technically minded can read in depth about that here.

The network also optimises itself by creating more copies of popular data increasing its availability in order that data requests are served more quickly. This feature also enables SAFE websites to actually speed up as they get more visitors. This is very much contrary to the status quo where we have become accustomed to websites slowing down, or even crashing in severe circumstances under the weight of user requests. Should the network split for any reason, for example through loss of power, it will merge as power is restored, and it will correct faults, such as detecting corrupt data chunks and automatically replacing them with good copies as a result of the networks ongoing data integrity checks.

Remove the middlemen

This design sounds complex, and at the implementation level it is, the dark bags under the eyes of our engineers are testament to that fact, but at a high level it is simple. An approach inspired by the humble ant whose millions of years of evolution influenced the network’s design. Ant colonies exhibit complex and highly organised behaviour without a central authority based on a simple rule set whereby each ant fulfils different duties based on the needs of the colony. Similarly, nodes (computers) on the SAFE Network function in a similar manner where network nodes perform different functions based on the types of messages they receive.

The ant colony shows us that this self managing and self organising behaviour is possible on a massive scale. But why should we try and emulate ants and remove central authorities from the management of our data? Surely for something as important as this, humans are required to oversee operations?

Photo David Higgins

Well, for a start humans are, well human. At our best we are creative, brilliant and passionate, but at our worst we get tired, emotional and we make mistakes. Many data breaches are caused by human error and attackers rely on human interaction to carry out attacks. Researchers at security company Rapid7 found a substantial decline in security alerts on weekends and public holidays which they attribute to less employees interacting with malicious emails, attachments, links and websites. This is in part a result of a lack of training and awareness, only 20% of companies provide cyber security training to their staff, and only 33% have formal policies in place to guide employees.

Human error has also played a significant part in problems with Silicon Valley’s best known companies. In 2011, developers at cloud storage provider Dropbox introduced a bug that left their 25 million client accounts unprotected for 4 hours. Dropbox were subsequently alerted to the problem by an external security researcher and fixed the authentication issue.

Late last year Twitter deleted the account of their CEO Jack Dorsey who lost 700,000 followers in the process citing an ‘internal mistake. Around the same time Facebook deleted posts addressing fake news by their CEO Mark Zuckerberg in error.

While the irony of these incidents can be amusing, they do expose a more serious issue. Not only are humans prone to mistakes, it also highlights that we are afforded access to our accounts and our data by the service providers. We do not really own our information in the true sense of the word. Access to our own data can be removed at any time by the providers either mistakenly or at the request of others.

Physical Security

Physical security plays a hugely important part in all of this. This is one of the major features that an autonomous data networks provides. In data terms, physical security is where the data cannot be: deleted, changed, corrupted, and/or accessed without your (the data owner’s) consent. Only by removing humans from the management of our data can physical security be provided, and is only possible when the storage locations are unknown to anyone but the network, and the user cannot be identified.

Any service where data is stored on servers, federated servers, owned storage locations, or on identifiable nodes, cannot ensure the security of data and brings us no closer to real unfettered ownership of our data. This also includes blockchain based solutions.

The SAFE Network provides physical security by ensuring that only the network knows where the data is and only the user can access it. Even MaidSafe staff don’t know who is on the network, where they are based, what has been stored and where the data is located. SAFE users make a deal with the network and only the data owner can delete or modify the original piece of data with the network verifying who has the right to access each piece of data.

Autonomous things are already starting to have a huge benefit across a number of industries and we are just scratching the surface in finding out how they can positively impact upon our relationship with our data. Rather than making data more secure, the human element unfortunately has the opposite effect and can lead to data loss, theft, inaccessibility and a fundamental lack of ownership.