Author: NickLambert

Glasgow University Students To Use The SAFE Network

Since its inception in 1451, Glasgow University has built a worldwide reputation as a centre for innovations which have had a profound effect on the world. Its famous alumni have included John Logie Baird, Lord Kelvin and Adam Smith, whose global impact has left a lasting impression on the world we live in today. Continuing the trend, Glasgow University Computing Science Students will be exposed to the latest in decentralised networking technology as MaidSafe’s SAFE (Secure Access For Everyone) Network puts them at the forefront of research and development into next generation Internet applications.

Students within the computer science department, under the guidance of Dr Inah Omoronyia, Lecturer in Software Engineering and Information Security, will work with the MaidSafe team, led by Scottish Engineer David Irvine. They will provide students guidance in building apps on top of the company’s platform, a secure and decentralised data and communications network that replaces the world’s data centres and servers with the spare computing capacity of the networks users. This comes at a time of great debate about the future of the Internet with leading academics, including the founder of the worldwide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee, seeking to improve the security and privacy offered to users.

The SAFE Network provides a zero cost infrastructure for students and the current APIs enable the creation of storage and email applications. This functionality is laid out to developers in tutorials created by the company, and this will be expanded over the next few months as MaidSafe release tutorials every 2 weeks, providing increasingly more complex functionality to application developers.

MaidSafe CEO, David Irvine, commented on the partnership; “We are delighted to be working with a university with such a rich heritage and we very much look forward to using the applications created by their students. Where better to push the envelope of evolutionary thinking than the country that Voltaire opined “We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation”. Glasgow University has an excellent opportunity to be at the forefront of research and development in the field of Internet technologies, alongside the likes of MIT, which will further enhance its reputation – and that of Scotland – as a source of cutting edge innovation.”

Glasgow University has one of the leading computing science departments in the UK and is ranked amongst the top 100 in the world. Lecturer in Software Engineering and Information Security, Dr Inah Omoronyia confirmed “It’s a great opportunity for our students at Glasgow University to get hands-on experience with building apps for the SAFE network. Security and privacy functions is now core to modern day software systems; our students are really excited to learn new ways of building such systems using cutting-edge technology.”

MaidSafe Announces Equity Funding Round on BnktotheFuture

We wanted to share some next steps for MaidSafe and the future of the SAFE Network. On September 12th we will be launching an equity fund-raising round with BnkToTheFuture, a leading global online investment platform for qualifying investors. MaidSafe is looking to raise between £1.75m and £2m during the 30 day campaign.

Next steps

This is an important step for the company and the future of the platform coming on the back of the recent release of the SAFE alpha. We are delighted with the positive feedback we have had to date and the strong support of our community has been hugely important to us. We see this funding round as critical as we move to the next stage of development so we wanted to explain why we think this is the best way forward.

As you know launching the alpha is only one of many steps on our journey. There is a lot of work to do to build out functionality and create a robust platform that will attract users and application developers. That means we need to continue to recruit the best developer talent from around the world and build out a developer programme to support the growing interest in building on the SAFE Network. We will also be looking to develop our own applications, because we do see commercial potential for us as well as for the broader community.

Why BnkToTheFuture?

We have chosen BnktotheFuture for a number of reasons. They have a large online community of qualified investors, interested in the decentralised technology sector. There is a strong relationship with the crypto-communities, which is important to us, and investors will be able to invest in both traditional currency, bitcoin and even some of the more liquid altcoins like Ether. Above all it also means we will remain in control of our strategy and roadmap, which is really important to us as we want the SAFE Network to be available for everyone to use and develop on. This is why the core code-base is open-sourced, to encourage the establishment of a strong community around the technology. Furthermore, we have transferred the core intellectual property (IP) to a Scottish charity (The MaidSafe Foundation) to help ensure that MaidSafe is not seen to benefit unfairly from ownership of the network (although we hold a license in perpetuity to allow us to utilise and license the technology to partner companies).

We appreciate all your support so far and hope you will see this news as further evidence that the SAFE Network is on the fast track to becoming a viable alternative to today’s insecure, unreliable worldwide web. With this investment round we are seeking to accelerate progress further by adding functionality and working towards the beta version and beyond. I hope you will continue to contribute to this exciting journey, because we believe a secure, decentralised approach to the internet will present huge opportunities for users and developers alike.

SAFE Network Alpha Release

After 5 months of testing and 8 test nets it is our pleasure to announce the immediate availability of the alpha release of the SAFE Network. This represents another significant milestone on the way to creating a new, decentralised Internet.

Launcher and demo app

The release is available Windows, Mac and Linux, and comes with 2 components, the Launcher and the Demo App, each with their own installer. You can download both from the alpha page of our website.

The Launcher enables users to create their own account and access the network without providing their credentials (comprised of an account secret and account password) or giving third party applications access to them. This secure gateway enables users to stay in control of their details.

The Demo App must be run alongside Launcher and enables users to create their own SAFE webpage and public ID, store and retrieve private data and share public content. Users can also upload and host existing websites on the SAFE Network without charge.

This alpha release is focused on use of the client software. In a couple of weeks we will provide Vault installers to enable users to contribute their own computing resources. Running 2 parallel networks will enable us to provide a more stable network for end users and app developers, while also enabling ongoing development of the vault, which has a much more active code base at present. Once we are happy with performance, we will revert back to having one network.

As with any alpha software caveats apply to this release and users should be aware that data on the network will be wiped from time to time and there is a possibility that your data will be lost.

Not just for end users

The demo app is the first of several apps currently under development and with an updated release of SAFE Launcher APIs we anticipate that this list will increase in the coming weeks and months. We encourage any developers thinking about creating an app on the network to get in touch and we will help in anyway we can. In this vein a new developer focused SAFE Network forum will be launched next week, more details to follow…

Onward and upward

This is the first of several alpha releases that MaidSafe will make. Future versions will improve performance and increase stability, combine the Client and Vault networks, as well as adding features such as; contact management, messaging, test safecoin and safecoin wallets. More information on our rollout strategy is available here.

This is an incredibly exciting time for MaidSafe and the SAFE Network community. There is a growing movement to return to the original principles of the open web and decentralise the Internet. We believe our technology can contribute to this initiative and that is why we standby our vision to open source the technology so that all users and developers can benefit from it. We believe this is essential to fulfil our commitment to develop a decentralised network that gives users back control and offers far greater protections than today’s Worldwide Web.

Of course, we could not have got this far without the support of all our shareholders and community members. Thanks for all your help, we hope you enjoy the alpha and we look forward to hearing all your feedback! With your input we will iterate the network as quickly as possible to improve it and bring new innovations.

Community Engagement Program

We are happy to announce the Community Engagement Program (CEP). The purpose of this process is to match developers with immediate and fundamental SAFE Network requirements. This will take the form of a community funded ‘Kickstarter’ like process to encourage teams to bid for projects, accessing part of the 5 million available MAID fund for bounties, community projects…etc…put forward within the MaidSafeCoin announcement.

Each project will be identified up front as being in demand and then teams (or individuals) will propose a costed solution (in MaidSafeCoin) for each small proposal. It is anticipated that these will be mostly small (6 weeks or less) projects and will primarily cover end user applications, but may also include core components.

This proposed process is essentially an experiment to see if this way of working is both effective and scalable moving forward, only by running/cycling through this way of working will we truly understand its feasibility. The CEP will not replace the bounty program, which is more effective for smaller and specific pieces of work.

Applicants will be responding to a set of requirements established initially by MaidSafe and adapted to take into account community feedback. The community themselves will of course complement and expand on this process as it becomes more established, incorporating community based proposals. It is the intention that CEP projects will be 50% funded (in MaidSafeCoin) by MaidSafe and 50% by the community. If projects achieve less than 100% of the projected costs, it is up to them if they proceed. MaidSafe will assign a member of the company, whose skills and experience best suit the project, to oversee and act as the main point of contact. The following forum post explains the process in more detail.

The first project MaidSafe are seeking proposals for is a SAFE Network browser that is able to render standard web content and also enable web applications to invoke the APIs exposed by the Launcher. A mechanism to provide SAFE-only URLs as well as html…etc… is expected.  We would love to have your proposals, please submit them to the proposals category within the forum.

Good luck!

MaidSafe and Yuanbao Forge Asset Trading Partnership

It is our pleasure to announce that one of China’s largest asset exchanges, Yuanbao, will soon support the trading of MaidSafeCoin in China. This agreement follows on from MaidSafe developer, Qi Ma, recently introducing MaidSafeCoin and the SAFE Network to Yuanbao’s customers at a recent roadshow in Bejing.

Founded in 2013 and with 250,000 users, Yuanbao is one of China’s largest digital asset exchanges. With a peak trading volume of $100 million USD in a 24 hour period, the exchange facilitates the trading of 27 different currencies on the Yuanbao platform. Yuanbao is MaidSafe’s recommended partner for the Chinese market.

MaidSafe’s CEO, David Irvine, confirmed: “We are delighted to be partnering with a secure and reliable exchange, such as Yuanbao. The Chinese market is one that MaidSafe are particularly interested in supporting and this partnership is a great way to introduce MaidSafeCoin and the SAFE Network to a new and very important audience”.

Jelena Strelnikova, Foreign Cooperation Officer at Yuanbao added: “By opening trading on the Yuanbao Exchange MaidSafeCoin is introduced to the broad Chinese market and to the welcoming Chinese community. It is our pleasure to be part of MaidSafeCoin’s success, and we are looking forward for further strategic and fruitful cooperation with the MaidSafe team.”

MaidSafeCoin deposits and trading will be available from the 24th of June on https://www.yuanbao.com/. To transfer MaidSafeCoin, users should use the Omni Web Wallet, which is available at https://www.omniwallet.org.

MaidSafeCoin Announcement

As those of you who follow MaidSafe’s progress will know, 2016 has been a very productive year so far. Further to the successful test of the SAFE Client in February, and the iterative series of network tests that have taken place since, progress has been visible to all close to the project. Making a stable droplet network available for app developers last week is another positive step and provides a platform for developers to start coding apps against. To increase the speed of momentum in development, and to ramp up network promotion the company needs more resources, and we now turn our attention to our short term funding.

To enable us to grow SAFE as aggressively as possible the decision has been made to make best use of  the 24 million MaidSafeCoins that the MaidSafe Foundation currently holds. The Foundation has these MaidSafeCoins as a result of a technical issue with the Master Protocol (now Omni protocol) that resulted in an over issuance during the crowdsale. These coins are, and have been, calculated as part of the safecoin market capitalisation, though they have not been put into circulation. The existence of these MaidSafeCoins has been known about since the crowdsale, and what to do with them has been discussed amongst the broader community on the SAFE Network forum. Various proposals have been made, including sending them to a burn address and thus destroying them, using them to seed the network, and so forth. Until now it was unclear how to deal with the situation to best effect for the project and the community.

The Plan

  • The MaidSafe Foundation will advance these 24million coins to MaidSafe.
  • The sale of 19 million of these will be conducted sensitively over a period of time to minimise the impact on price.
  • MaidSafe will use the proceeds to further invest in the SAFE Network, drive community engagement and support developers.
  • 5,000,000 of these coins will go directly to bounties, community projects related to launch, PR, branding, marketing and outreach programs.
  • After safecoin goes live, MaidSafe will prioritise paying back the the 24 million safecoins from MaidSafe’s own core development awards. MaidSafe will be able to prove this cryptographically.
  • For the avoidance of any doubt, 100% of the proceeds from this strategic sale will go toward furthering SAFE and will be reinvested entirely straight back into the community.

Why is this Needed?

Those that have been involved with the SAFE Network since the days of the crowdsale will know that while the sale was very successful from a community-participation perspective, it was less so from a funding standpoint and didn’t give MaidSafe the necessary resources to fully accelerate development. The anticipated $8 million (£5.5m) and 3 years of running costs actually equated to $2 million (£1.4m) with the crash in the mastercoin price and fall in bitcoin price taken into account since that time. This information is available in Maidsafe company accounts as filed at Companies House in Edinburgh. Some of the dynamics of all this were chronicled at the time in an article by Adam B. Levine, entitled MaidSafe: A Wildly Successful Cryptocoin Debacle, which is recommended reading for anyone who wishes to get a balanced picture of what happened and why it was problematic.

While very careful financial management, through limiting expenditures and growth, has enabled the team to squeeze over 2 years from the funds, the lack of sufficient financing has restricted our ability to scale the team and consequently has extended the anticipated development timescales. This is an area we now hope to build quickly as we have developer job applications at an advanced stage and we feel the technology now needs to be accelerated. The recent tests allow us to begin creating a plethora of demo apps and increase API awareness for third party developers. We do anticipate spending time with developers in outreach programs and developer awareness events.  This is also the time to increase substantially marketing and PR activities.

With development progress now plain to see, we have been turning our attention to raising additional funding in recent months. We have explored and continue to proceed with a couple of avenues that include EU Research funding and both institutional (.i.e. venture capital) and crowd equity investment . While we do see the potential value of finding the right institutional partner who can also bring technology partners to the table, economic uncertainty is reaching the venture capital markets resulting in lower company valuations and slower deal cycles.

With all this taken into account we believe it makes better sense for the community as a whole for MaidSafe to use a funding source that is close at hand, and one that keeps MaidSafe completely independent, with the ability to freely negotiate with the correct partners as we progress the launch of the network.

Use and Repayment

The funds will be used to:

  • Accelerate the ongoing development of the network.
  • Support the development of third party applications.
  • Raise awareness of the network amongst potential end users.

MaidSafe will repay these coins directly by reducing our core development reward. In essence, MaidSafe are proposing an advance against the core developer reward, which will be used exclusively to further the network.       

Through hard work as well as prudent, public and conservative financial handling, and support of an incredible community, the SAFE Network’s functionality has been demonstrated through the public tests and we remain very excited about the potential of the technology. The funding raised by this solution will allow the fastest, most effective means of fully launching the network, while retaining full administration of the project in the hands of those who have proven their dedication to carry it through.

Thank you once again.

David Irvine

This and other topics were discussed on the SAFE Crossroads podcast hosted by John Ferguson. The podcast is available on Soundcloud. 

Developer Case Study: Project Decorum

During the course of 2016, MaidSafe have been privy to a number of projects that are building on top of the SAFE Network. One such project is Decorum.

What is it?

Project Decorum is currently a research-led project, run by Harmen Klink, a computer science undergraduate at the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht in the Netherlands.  He wants to build a social media platform, which gives the user greater control of his or her data and therefore enhanced privacy – rather than today’s model which is centralised around a few service providers.

Project Decorum is currently a proof-of-concept, which Harmen has designed in order to drive a successful crowdsale, which raised over €400,000.  He is aiming to use this investment to further develop the application, aspiring to create a hybrid of the best features of existing major applications, such as Facebook, Reddit and Twitter.  

How does it work?

The core protocol of Project Decorum is a substitute for the missing central coordinator, because the SAFE Network has been designed on the principle of a “serverless” architecture.  It consists of a set of rules that describe where and how conversational data should be uploaded to the SAFE Network. These rules predict where the replies to a particular message on the SAFE Network might end up, no matter where the original is located. This means that all applications and SAFE websites that use this protocol will be compatible with each other, making communication simpler.

On the data level all information is visible and the protocol will organise conversations in a tree structure, where every node of the tree represents a message from a user. Replies to earlier messages will create new branches. This tree structure lends itself well to be represented in a “threaded” format, which is done by many well-known forums and comment plugins. Users will build a user interface to decide what data they see and can create a new root to start a new tree for a new conversation. This can be used to create a forum, a comment section on a blog, a group chatbox, and so on.

In Project Decorum users will own their data and everyone is their own moderator through the use of personal ignore lists. In principle, particular posts or users can be put on such an ignore list. It is also possible to subscribe to one or more ignore lists run by other people. This allows for dedicated and widely accepted moderators to naturally rise up in their respective communities. Active people with sound judgement will be subscribed to as moderators by groups. These people can also collaborate to form a moderator team, and possibly accept donations or even charge for their moderation services. Multiple teams with different rules can be active in the same community if there is demand.

Why is Project Decorum working with MaidSafe?

Harmen chose the SAFE Network for his project for several reasons.  He believes the privacy and security of the platform should be the pre-requisite for any Internet application.  Furthermore the decentralised model offers great scalability and he has found it hard to overload the system.  Additionally, SAFEcoin is a great feature, because of the way it is integrated into the network and offers instant rewards.  This will help to sustain engagement with the platform, as social payments are an important feature increasingly expected by users.  It also offers developers the flexibility to expand tokenisation of other assets to create a crypto-currency to represent all kinds of assets.  

What’s next for Project Decorum?

The next steps for Project Decorum include working on designs to make them more tangible and figuring out the business model.  As APIs for the SAFE Network become available and more stable Harmen will continue development on the protocol.  MaidSafe hope that features such as the automatic reward mechanism for participants will enable Harmen to further develop the usage model for Project Decorum.

Harmen Klink, Founder, Project Decorum

“I believe having access to multiple identities is an important benefit of the SAFE Network, because it reflects the varied identities and roles we play in our personal and work lives. The network of identities forms a web of trust that can be used to distinguish legitimate users from abusive bots. When a real name is coupled to an identity, the strength of the web of trust is also used to show others the likelihood that those two truly belong together. This protects users from becoming victims from impersonification and identity theft.”