Recently, MaidSafe has been attending a number of bitcoin conferences. These international get togethers are, as the name suggests, focussed on bitcoin. However, while we are very interested in the crypto currency and what it represents, for me the events center around decentralised technologies, that is, online products and services that move the control of data away from large technology companies and hand the power back to the users. In my view, where it should be.
This is the third conference David and I have attended in 3 months and the most important by far. The Bitcoin New York conference was the location MaidSafe had chosen for our big announcement, the launch of the Secure Access For Everyone (SAFE) network. Our presentation was on the second and last day of the event and represented MaidSafe handing over the baton of ownership of the platform to all Internet users worldwide. This presentation was the culmination of 8 years of an extreme amount of head scratching and hard work, with the MaidSafe team often working through the night, it seemed fitting to be doing it in the city that never sleeps!
In addition to giving an overview of the network, our presentation announced the SAFE crowd sale (more information is available at: http://www.safecoin.io/) and the network’s very own crypto currency, safecoins. Safecoins are an innovative way of incentivising end users to provide resource to the network, through a Proof of Resource (POR) mechanism and for third party developers to develop applications that end users will want to use. Motivating these groups is an extremely important piece of the jigsaw to ensure wide scale adoption, however, finally giving Open Source developers the ability to make money from applications with built in revenue streams is significant and the first of its kind. David wrote an excellent article on the subject: http://metaquestions.me/2014/04/02/project-safe-is-this-the-fair-business-model-at-last/
Our presentation was very well received and finished with David being referred to as “the braveheart of tech”. For me, the only disappointing thing was that no one shouted “freedom” as we left the room, but you can’t have everything!
Our presentation was sandwiched between a number of interviews from sector specific and main stream press, including Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. We are now going to redesign our websites press page (http://maidsafe.net/press) to allow us to fit in the coverage we have received. It was striking during each of these interviews and throughout the various meetings we had during our trip how excited journalists, companies and individuals are about the technology. The wide smiles and jaw dropping looks of disbelief remind me that what we now take for granted and everyday is something truly special and is set to revolutionise a $5 trillion a year industry.
In fact, it was interesting to note how many of the business and opinion leaders in the decentralised Internet space are talking about the similarities between the way this sector is shaping up and the dawn of the Internet. When you are immersed in this sector it’s hard to believe that the importance and impact of what the companies and people in this niche are doing continues to evade the radar of of many within the wider industry, although I think this will be short lived. Prominent leaders, such as Marc Andreessen and Fred Wilson continue to see the potential of the sector and this will only continue to grow.
It is apparent that MaidSafe are right in the thick of a rapidly growing movement that will disrupt the way the Internet currently works. The appetite for change amongst end users, companies and developers is as immense as the level of innovation on display within the decentralised sector. The end of the conference did not end our business in New York. An invite to another event the next day saw David up on stage once more and several meetings followed with a variety of investors which saw David and I become familiar with Manhattan’s streets, and the realisation that it is much quicker and easier to walk. New York is no place for a car!
As our trip to this awe-inspiring city finished and we boarded the plane at JFK, it is evident that our journey in this amazing industry is only just beginning. We have a very busy few months ahead and we’ll be met with plenty of challenges along the way. However, these challenges will be met head on with same relentless energy and zeal that fueled our first 8 years and got us to where we are now.