Bitcoin Amsterdam and beyond

They say that America is the land of opportunity, but a recent trip to the Bitcoin Foundation’s 2014 Amsterdam conference proved that opportunity is not exclusive to the US for up and coming technology companies. Those who regularly read our blog will know that we have been attending quite a few of these conferences recently, they are really a great place to meet companies and individuals from all parts of the decentralised technology ecosystem.

Michael Jackson

One of the key things we are looking to achieve in the short term at MaidSafe is to add experience and strengthen the company board. When you are trying to change the world it definitely helps to have individuals who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt. For this reason, we were very excited to be meeting former Skype COO and co-founder Michael Jackson in Amsterdam. This wasn’t the first time we had met, Michael had recently spent a couple of days with us at our HQ in Scotland. What became apparent, was that in addition to his incredible range of experience, Michael is a deeply passionate about enabling technologies and a very down to earth guy, something that resonates very well within MaidSafe.

During his time at Skype, Michael gained an incredible working and market knowledge of distributed P2P networks, he also understands what is required to gain mass adoption of world changing technology. Michael joined Skype in 2004 and worked there until 2007, helping to create corporate partnerships and grow the company during his tenure.

Now, it would be disappointing, after such a build up, if Michael hadn’t agreed to join us and I’m glad to not disappoint. We are now overwhelmingly proud to confirm Michael is the newest member of the MaidSafe Foundation board. We believe that the experience he gained helping to grow Skype will be invaluable to both the company and the farmers and builders on the SAFE network.

Monetas

We were also fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours with a gentleman by the name of Johann Gevers. Johann is the CEO of a company called Monetas and, like MaidSafe, Johan and his team are out to change the world and are doing some amazing work in the fields of finance and contracts, an area that many people would agree is in desperate need of change. For too long lawyers and the legal disparity between jurisdictions, have made it difficult and expensive for contracts to be produced and implemented.

Monetas is being built on a peer to peer platform and the synergies in outlook between both companies are striking. A genuine desire to make life better for everyone, with a focus on those in the developing world are values that MaidSafe shares. Bringing together the SAFE network and the Monetas frictionless management of all types of assets, financial instruments and digital law infrastructure could be very special and really help to galvanise borderless world trade. This is a partnership opportunity that we are really looking forward to exploring

What now?

In addition to meeting new and interesting people, conferences are also hugely beneficial as they afford some head room to think about the future. As MaidSafe has stated countless times previously, we are going to decentralise the Internet, using the SAFE network to wrestle control of user data away from large technology companies and to give it back to users. This network will enable people to utilise and contribute their under used computing resources to create a world wide data network (which also allows them to earn money, safecoin on the side). Trying to revolutionise a $5 Trillion a year industry is quite exciting and certainly provides sufficient motivation to get out of bed in the morning, however, what really excites us is what comes next!

So, now that we have (or will soon have) a global, decentralised, autonomous and self healing network what’s possible? Yes you can create free, secure and anonymous file storage and sharing applications and safer social networks, but is that allowing the SAFE network to reach its full potential?

Health care

One of the fields that is most interesting to us is one that touches us all, health care. It is such a vast sector that the technological applications are almost as endless as the size of the SAFE network address space (2^512 in case you are wondering).  In this sector and with soon to be unrivalled computing power, the SAFE network could be harnessed to provide detailed analysis of huge medical (x-rays, patient demographics, medical history) data sets at significantly less cost than ever before. With the correct partnerships in place, this could lead to collaborations that facilitate significant advancements in diagnosis and treatment.

Another area where the SAFE network would be utilised is the secure storage, maintenance and access of patient records. There are few, if any, countries or jurisdictions that are currently addressing this problem effectively and the UK in particular has been spectacularly unsuccessful in this area. Using the SAFE network, the world’s health services could have access to a decentralised network with no central point of weakness, that requires no administration, where performance improves the more it is used.

In addition to being inherently secure, the network will also put patients back in control of THEIR own data so that in the future, the patient will decide who to share their medical data with. For example, when visiting their local surgery, patients would share their records with their GP, it would be in the patients best interests to do so.  But they would only share their records with their GP, not with NHS administrators and only and for a limited time period.

Should the patient be incapable of granting access to their records, utilising the secret sharing feature built into SAFE, two (or more) appointed individuals/organisations (GP, next of kin, ER Doctor, Government body) could open the patients records and securely gain access to their information enabling effective treatment.

As the SAFE network is implemented, MaidSafe is currently working in tandem on the relationships required to bring this technology to health care professionals and ultimately to patients. MaidSafe are speaking with companies specialising in health care analytics, venture capital, the Scottish Government, and others, to help spark rapid network adoption in this sector.

So, the past few months and ongoing hard work continues to deliver great progress across the company and the network. The community engagement we have seen and continue to experience from the people we meet, our mailing list and those in our forums continues to amaze and inspire. Thank you!