New Team Members at MaidSafe!

We’ve had a few new starts here at MaidSafe this week. So, as is traditional around here, we’ll let them introduce themselves. Welcome to Pierre, Lionel and Kayley!


One more ant joins the colony. And that particular ant can’t wait to be an active part of this ambitious project. Let’s rebuild the internet the way it should have been built in the first place: decentralized, resilient, safe, for everyone.

Hi, I’m Pierre, French Londoner, Rust programmer, open-source enthusiast, SAFE Network advocate in pubs.

I’ve been a Londoner since 2012, when I started my career as a C++ programmer. For the first 5 years, I worked on the numerical engine behind gPROMS™, a chemical plant simulation/optimization platform. I learnt C++ on the job as I was coming from a chemical engineering background. During my time there, I wrote NLPSQP, a gradient based optimizer, made the MAXLKHD parameter estimation solver faster by distributing the load across CPU cores and performed large scale code cleanups on the ~500,000 lines of code. I also started being really interested in Linux and the Open-Source world around that time.

In 2013, there was a pretty consistent buzz in the Open-Source community about Bitcoin. Pretty sure the buzz started earlier, but that’s when it started registering on my radar. I read the White Paper and was very impressed at how such a simple algorithm could have such groundbreaking implications in the world. There could now be a democratic, trustless peer-to-peer currency and this was all made possible by the blockchain: an elegant algorithm that could be explained in a 9-page White Paper.

At the time, the entire internet was bubbling with ideas on how to use the blockchain or more generally crypto technologies for solving an array of technical problems that never had an adequate solution before. Many projects started: alt-coins, smart contracts, layers on top of the Bitcoin blockchain itself, decentralized data storage, you name it. Some of these solutions were truly innovative and many of them were a mix of vaporware and scams.

Somewhere in 2014, while looking into this exciting world of possibilities, I learnt about the SAFE network. In this crowded space of crypto solutions, MaidSafe stood head and shoulders above its peers.

Instead of focusing on a specific problem like decentralized encrypted file storage and throwing a blockchain at it, MaidSafe was trying to rethink the foundations of our internet so that solving such a specific problem would be made trivial for any app developer on the SAFE network. The white papers and the few talks from David that I could find made complete sense and even though all the fine details weren’t fleshed out, I could see that this architecture ought to deliver on its promises if executed right. So I started following the project and enthusiastically sharing it with my friends.

A bit later, in 2015 the team decided to rewrite the network in Rust. I had barely heard of Rust back then, but it was supposed to be ‘that cool language by Mozilla’. It claimed to offer C++ speeds without the security pitfalls. I soon started learning Rust in my spare time. It delivered on all the expectations I had from it. For all of C++ faults, I had never really been onboard with more ergonomic languages as they generally sacrificed performance and control over one’s code for usability. With Rust, the language is concise and a pleasure to write in, but I have exact control of what happens to the memory. Oh! And also: no invalid memory access, no use after free, not even a race condition! All thanks to the compiler guiding the programmer towards writing correct code. Long story short, I’ve been working with Rust in my spare time for the last two years and I am completely sold on the language.

The decision for MaidSafe to switch to Rust exemplified an important aspect of the team: they’re in it for the long haul. In software, and especially in the startup world, it is common to favor the quickest path to a minimum viable product over any other solution. MaidSafe picks the solution that will make the network the most closely aligned with the vision. Rust was simply a better choice for security, so the team switched to it despite the costs and risks associated with it. When there is so much pressure to be the first to market, this engineering focus is rare. It is also the only viable way to deliver on the many promises of the network.

So here we are in 2018. I left the quantitative analytics team at a large bank with which I had been working for the last eight months, and decided to follow my passion. I am joining this crazy team of dreamers, ready to change the world one engineering decision at a time.

Watch out! The ants are coming 🙂


Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

Hey guys! It’s really thrilling to be here and thank you for the warm welcome.

I’m a soon-to-be CS graduate from Anna University, Chennai, India. During my journey in Engineering, I’ve always had a thirst for new tech and how it can make everyday life better. Early on in this adventure, I came across the Open Source community and I was instantly inspired. They made a big deal of privacy and freedom and I realised how important both had to be in today’s data-populated internet world.

Among the various types of technology that I explored along the way, I had discovered that I loved building apps for Android. So many ideas could be implemented — and Android as a platform was so much fun to work with. By this stage, I’d ended up working as a web dev — but there was something missing:

Every night I lie in bed, the brightest colours fill my head, a million dreams are keeping me awake. — Hugh Jackman

This feeling was something I could relate to at that time. Being a part of something new has always given me extra drive but this was missing while I was working for a ‘corporate’ firm. Then, out of the blue, I came across MaidSafe. Browsing through videos about the SAFE Network, one phrase caught my attention.

Privacy, Security and Freedom. For everyone.


So many great ideas and such impressive work. All this and OPEN SOURCE!

That was it. I joined MaidSafe! 😀

I’m so excited to be here as an Android developer and being a part of this community has been a great experience so far. I look forward to working with you all. Cheers!

(Also posted on Medium)



Photo by Keith Bremner on Unsplash

Hi Guys! Just a little intro to tell you a bit more about myself.

I am Ayrshire born and bred.  I grew up in Irvine and then moved to Ayr.  I do enjoy travelling Scotland and all of its beautiful scenery – but I’m a homebird so I never see myself leaving for any length of time!

At home, I have an amazing, supportive wife and two wonderful little boys, Caleb and Hayyden.

I spent my childhood and teenage years doing musical theatre and am still known to break into show tunes every now and then. I trained as a Hairdresser in 2009 and went on to train in Media Make Up in 2012; however I had to stop due to ill health during my training for Fashion Make Up so I unfortunately wasn’t able to pursue a career in that industry. When getting back on my feet, I found myself working in mainly Customer Service and Admin roles.

Having had all of the training that I could get from my previous employer, I’ve now moved onto work with MaidSafe as an Accounts Admin, where I feel that my strengths lie. I’m really excited to start my journey with you all and see what the future brings! 

February 2018 Update


The Beast from the East snow storm in Scotland may have stopped traffic across the country but it certainly hasn’t slowed progress of the SAFE Network.  This month has been full of new hires, new guidelines for developers and development updates.

Thanks to the continued hard work of Victoria, our Office Manager, we are now welcoming many new faces to the Maidsafe team.  We have now filled the Test and Release Manager, Rust Engineer, Software Support Analyst, UX/UI Designer and Admin Assistant roles.  This is not only testament to the ever growing needs of the network but the speed of its growth. We look forward to these new staffers becoming part of the community.

We are very excited to have announced our first European DevCon in Scotland in April 2018.  As the majority of the MaidSafe global team will in the Ayr HQ for a staff weekend we are inviting developers to join us for a one day development conference to learn more about the network, recent developments and share community projects.  If you would like to join us please email outreach@maidsafe.net.  We will also be sharing the conference via a livestream and will post joining details closer to the time.  

Following a very successful funding cycle the Safecoin animated video Community Engagement Programme was over funded.  In light of this we have agreed with Hypercube to create a second video in addition to the Safecoin video. There has been good progress on the Safecoin video and we are expecting to see initial animations in the coming weeks.  

Progress for the  new MaidSafe website is also coming along.  We have now completed the wireframing and are expecting the designs from the agency  later this week. This is an exciting stage and will give us a better idea of the end product. We will continue to share updates on the forum.  

Dug, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, has been increasing his outreach work this week and has been attending and speaking at a number of events.   It is not practical for Dug to create or attend meet ups around the globe so we are once again looking to the community to help us spread the SAFE Network word.  The long term vision is to have meet ups in every major city around the world. More information on this can be found on this forum thread and if you would like to lead or set up a Meet Up locally please contact Dug Campbell (outreach@maidsafe.net).

The front-end team and Shona have been working hard in the last few months and have now released UX Guidelines. We hope that this will be helpful for app developers and we will continue to see several new and exciting apps being developed on the SAFE Network.  

Following the development of Peruse Browser earlier this year we have now released V0.4.0 with new features and functions. There has also been a new new version of the SAFE Browser released this month, v0.9.0.

Routing has been busy in the last few weeks and we have now outlined the milestones for implementations onto our workflow system (JIRA). Although this is still an ongoing process as we continuously improving the design.    Steady progress is being made with tasks being picked off towards the DataChains first milestone.

Thanks for your continued support!

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

SAFE Network Alpha 2 (The Authenticator) Launch Announcement

Today we are excited to be releasing the next major milestone in the roll out of the SAFE Network, Alpha 2 – The Authenticator.

This latest step is a culmination of a significant amount of hard work from the MaidSafe team, and much testing from the superb SAFE Network community. The result is a new network access control mechanism, the Authenticator, which enables users to securely authenticate themselves onto the SAFE Network, while protecting their network login credentials from apps.

Bundled with the SAFE Browser, the Authenticator supports Windows, OSX and Linux, and as many will have seen from last week’s update, now also supports Android, with iOS support in progress. As we mentioned last week, the intention with the mobile example apps is to confirm mobile platform support, we will provide the docs, tutorials and APIs that mobile app developers would expect in due course.

The desktop version of the SAFE Browser will come with two tutorial applications. The Web Hosting Manager and SAFE Mail. These apps will be familiar to those who have taken part in recent test networks. The Web Hosting Manager allows users to create their own public ID, and upload and publish content instantly. SAFE Mail provides end to end encrypted email using the public key of the recipient to encrypt the message.

The two Android applications provided with this release are the Authenticator, and SAFE Messages, an example application that demonstrates end to end encrypted mobile email.

As has been the case with more recent test networks you will be required to obtain an invite code in order to participate in this Alpha. In order to do this you will need to have a basic user account on the SAFE Network forum. For those new to the SAFE Network and the forum, the following link tells you how to get this. This measure is in place to prevent the network being flooded with data prior to the network being fully featured.  

As you may have noticed, the installers for today’s release are on our new web page (we hope you like it) and tonights forum post contains a full breakdown of information relating to this release. We hope you enjoy using Alpha 2 as much as we enjoyed creating it!

SAFE Network: Mobile Tech Preview

As MaidSafe continues its progression in the role out of the network, we have hit another important milestone that we would like to share. We now have SAFE mobile applications, running on Android and iOS, and today we have released some demonstration apps to showcase this progress. iOS requires some code updates and app certification to be ready for user testing and is currently limited to testing via the iOS simulator.

It is important to note that these apps should be considered as a technology preview, a very useful proof point for us that the SAFE Network accommodates mobile devices. This is the culmination of several changes that have been made over the past 9 months, including a new data type and a new access mechanism, in the form of the ‘Authenticator’. In time we will provide mobile developers with the tools and documentation that they would need and want to start developing SAFE mobile apps. In the meantime, please refer to today’s dev update for instructions and requirements for running these apps for yourself.

The Authenticator
The first of these applications is the Authenticator. This is the focus of the imminent alpha 2 release and the mechanism by which users securely access the network, while maintaining control of each SAFE applications access to their data.


SAFE Messages
The second application is a stripped back and simple mail app. It provides end to end encrypted messaging that uses the public key of the recipient to encrypt the message, ensuring that only the recipient can read its contents.

Alpha 2
The mobile tech preview comes at an exciting time in MaidSafe’s development roadmap, a welcome lead into alpha 2 which we will be releasing next week, on Thursday the 21st of September. This latest alpha will incorporate the Authenticator, a new SAFE Network access mechanism that is network enforced, and as you can see from today’s announcement mobile friendly. We look forward to providing more detail next week.

At MaidSafe, our development approach has been different to many other projects in the space. We have focussed on the hard problems first. This is not a criticism, just recognition of a different approach. Rather than putting out a network that gives little thought to the security of the data on it, or ignores the issue of how it will scale to millions of users, we have prioritised finding solutions to these big questions up front. This may create the appearance that we are moving slower than many of the other larger infrastructure projects in this sector, but in tackling the more challenging issues from the outset, in a methodical and transparent way, we anticipate being well placed to provide the decentralised infrastructure of the future.

Beyond a copy of the Internet.

This is a repost of a piece that David wrote on his own blog https://metaquestions.me on the 6th of September 2017 exploring some of the use cases of the SAFE Network.


We know Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming, we see the Internet of Things (IoT) happening.


We know trains, planes and automobiles will become autonomous. This is not news. We know data is key to modern industries, we know robots will communicate, we understand and accept securing all of this will be a nightmare. The consequences of failure could be cataclysmic. I will refrain from inserting the obligatory terminator graphic here.

We also know that companies, projects and devices need to not only communicate, but they also need to share information securely. This is another issue. If nobody, including the NSA, GCHQ, Governments or large tech companies can secure the information, who can? Not only that, but the holder has a wee bit more power than they should, especially if they control access. If it’s given to third parties to control, then it gets much worse.

We need a way to…

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