A Spring in Our Step – May 2018 Update

Following the excitement of SAFE DevCon 2018 in late April, May has been a month of hard work that culminated in the release of PARSEC.  This latest innovation is not only an amazing achievement for the MaidSafe team but also a paradigm shift for asynchronous and permissionless consensus that could benefit many projects.  

Going from Strength to Strength
More on PARSEC later but let’s have a look at some of the other developments first. As announced at SAFE DevCon 2018, we are removing our commercial licence and the contributor agreement to reaffirm our commitment to open source.  The team have therefore been spending time switching of core libraries and SAFE client libs as well as creating documentation (these will be hosted on the newly created SAFE Dev Hub) to assist other developers with understanding these changes. There will be some exceptions to the GPLv3 including the networking library in Crust which will be MIT and BSD licensed. We hope this will increase flexibility for those who fork these libraries and will ultimately lead to more developers using Rust.

This month the team kick started the process of replacing C libraries with pure Rust versions.  This should make implementation easier and simplify cross platform support. There also continues to be significant progress made on our custom browser Peruse and we hope to release an updated version to the community soon.

Following the great work done by community advocate Mark @happybeing the team has also been researching possible SOLID integrations and full support for semantic web applications. We think the SAFE Network could be the perfect fit for semantic web and hope to encourage more developers to consider the SAFE Network.  

We have also been lucky enough to be invited to the Decentralized Web Summit in San Francisco this summer.   This is a crucial meeting of minds of this sector and it is a great place to cultivate ideas, collaborations and spread the SAFE Network message.  

Thanks to the work of the newly expanded UX/UI team the new website is making steady progress.  Following a design personas and user journey phase the team have created a series of mood boards which are now informing the initial design phases.  We hope to be able to share these with the community very soon.

This biggest news this month, is the release of a new asynchronous BFT consensus mechanism, PARSEC, on 23rd May.  PARSEC, Protocol for Asynchronous, Reliable, Secure and Efficient Consensus is an asynchronous byzantine fault tolerant consensus mechanism. Developed for the SAFE Network but for the benefit of everyone, the details of this innovation have been documented in this RFC and Whitepaper and the code will be open source once implemented.  As always we are happy to hear from other projects for future collaborations using PARSEC. Rust Developer and one of the  authors Pierre walks us through this major break-through in this fantastic video. Pierre also spoke to the SAFE Crossroads podcast about PARSEC, please give it a listen! There is of course a lot of discussion on our community forum if you have any questions or need a more in depth understanding.   This sounds like an amazing innovation but what does it really mean for the implementation of the SAFE Network? Well with PARSEC in place we can now do much more, 2 additional papers will be released in the coming weeks detailing how we can achieve dynamic membership consensus as well as network sharding.  This achievement will also significantly reduce the number of test networks we need to run going forward. The addition of add, remove split, merge and secure messaging relay will be complete by alpha 3 and this marks the end of the unknown phase of development.

New Faces  
The SAFE Network team continues to grow; Ravinder joined the team in the Chennai office as a C# developer, he is settling in well and make we are looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the project.

Press are Taking Notice 
TechCrunch has released a great article on PARSEC which you can read here. Nick and David were recently interviewed for BBC Radio Scotland’s “Sunday Morning with…” programme.  You can hear the whole interview here from 1:17:25. Sarah’s recent Medium post on Safecoin has provoked some really interesting discussion on the forum. Dug has been interviewed for FutureTech podcast, we will post the link across our social media channels and forum once it is live.

Stay tuned to see what June has to bring!