Alpha 3 Update

The SAFE Network is a self-configuring and autonomous network designed to manage all our data and communications without any human intervention and without intermediaries. In the past, it has been likened to a cyber brain, complex in nature and requires all component parts to all work in unison to achieve our vision of digital privacy, security and freedom for all.

No need to reinvent the wheel
It has never been our intention to invent everything ourselves, although this has quite often ended up being the case. SAFE Network features like Self Authentication, Self Encryption and Disjoint Sections are testament to that fact. However, we have always worked to reuse or repurpose existing technology if it worked well within the network design. No need to reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to!

In fact, one of the SAFE Network’s fundamental structures is Kademlia, a Distributed Hash Table (DHT) designed by Petar Maymounkov and David Mazières in 2002 that ‘specifies the structure of the network and the exchange of information through node lookups’. Our network design has required us to upgrade the original Kademlia design and introduce Disjoint Sections as mentioned above, but being able to take a design standard and repurpose it saves considerable resource and time.

In order for the network to reach an agreed state and to achieve consensus, members (nodes) of the network vote and democratically agree on a network state. These votes take the form of messages and may determine who has authority to access a file or to store a piece of data for example. Disjoint Sections requires an algorithm that asynchronously accumulates and orders the messages it receives from its members. This has been a challenging issue for our engineers to overcome and has in part required MaidSafe to release so many iterations and test networks (around 25) to this point.

Ordering algorithms
We have spent a lot of time working in this area and have looked at many state of the art ordering algorithms in addition to working on our own. We have found a few that are very promising and could be adapted and one that we feel will work well within the SAFE Network. We believe this to be significant in that it would radically simplify our code, save a lot of development time and minimise the number of future testnets. This would enable us to reach our future milestones (the next of which is Alpha 3) much more rapidly and with much greater confidence as we can focus on the network’s unique features rather than dealing with the complexity of our existing approach which requires us to handle order related issues individually.

Unfortunately the solution we have found conflicts with our own open source ethos and is in fact closed source. We are currently working on a solution to this issue and while this effort is ongoing we will respect the developers license and keep the consensus ordering mechanism closed source and in a private repository as a temporary measure to enable the rest of the team to complete the Alpha 3 features.

We will never launch the Network with code that is closed source – so please be assured this is only a staging point on the road to achieving that result. This is an area that has caused us much internal debate but ultimately we have made the decision that we feel gets us to a full release more quickly. In essence, we believe the prospect of the end result justifies the route – and as the pressure builds across society for a solution to the status quo (as evidenced by the current Facebook/Cambridge Analytica story), our role remains the same as it has ever been – to create a system that is free to everyone to use around the globe in which each individual has the opportunity to gain full control of his or her digital rights.

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!

PIERRE CHEVALIER

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 🙂

LIONEL FABER

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.

MIND == BLOWN

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)

KAYLEY SNADDON

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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! 

MaidSafe New Team Member: Stephen Coyle

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Hey MaidSafer’s!

Thank you for making me feel so welcome since I joined the team/community/movement 🙂

Here’s a quick intro to me and my background, which will hopefully let you know a bit more about who I am and what I hope to add to the company.

Born and brought up in 1980’s Glasgow during the glory days when Scotland actually qualified for football tournaments (the definition of ultimate glory in Scotland these days), and our teams at least put up a fight in European competition, I graduated with Honours from my Glasgow Caledonian University Computing course. IT jobs in Glasgow were pretty difficult to come by with zero experience, so I moved to just outside London for 3 years where I worked for IBM doing some general tech support, and some Lotus Notes/Domino development and support. The lure of home eventually brought me back to Glasgow where I took a tech support role with Ernst & Young. After moving to a similar role at the University of Glasgow, I found out after I started that testing web apps was a big part of my new job…things would never be the same again!

Software testing went from being an ‘extra’ task in my day to day role, to what I felt most passionate about. I sat my ISTQB test (more about that later) and thought I knew it all…

Time progressed and I moved company. Suddenly I was faced with testing windows apps, mobile apps and web apps. I worked with my colleagues to figure out the best way to test that suited us – this is when I realised that the ISTQB taught way of working is actually pretty worthless in the real world of software testing. ISTQB barely mentioned Agile or exploratory testing. It taught me to create mountains of paperwork for each project, paperwork that would inevitably be ‘copy & pasted’ between each project and so was pretty much worthless. Did I really need to write out manual test steps in huge test scripts which walked someone else through every click & key type? I realised that the time I was wasting following the ISTQB practices could be spent doing something more productive…TESTING!

So onwards & upwards! I built and managed a team across 2 UK sites and was the face of testing to our customers and auditors. We tested various different products concurrently and I even went back to my old university to give a lecture on testing. I must know it all now, right?

Being in management meant that my time actually testing got less and less. I missed the day to day involvement on the frontline, so a few years later I joined FanDuel. I was now tasked with writing automated UI tests (in Python, using Selenuim WebDriver), testing the API (using Postman) and testing core layer Java code (using existing/newly written Python scripts and JSON-RPC requests). I was now also working with microservices and a thorough suite of automated integration tests through the Java – API – Web layers. All a huge difference from where I’d come from. I loved the challenges in learning these new skills and eventually training new starters in them. I caught the bug of learning new things and expanding my testing knowledge – clearly I’m never actually going to know it all, so what other exciting things are out there for me to discover?

I’m pretty active in Glasgow testing meetups – attending, mentoring and hosting. My goal is to talk at a testing conference at some point, I love the buzz and interaction at conferences, it really energises me and fuels my love of my discipline, a discipline that seems to be overlooked a lot. It’s very rare to meet someone who goes to university to become a software tester, we all seem to fall into the role.

Oh yeah, the important stuff – I’m married to my beautiful wife, Shabana, and we have 3 gorgeous girls, Aisha, Nadia and Sofia, aged 5 years, 3 years and 5 months 😀

Anyway, enough about me. I’m really excited to join the team at MaidSafe and can’t wait to get to know you all! Let’s make a difference.
My LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-coyle-5b4731b9/

February 2018 Update

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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!

MaidSafe enters into Licensing Agreement with Identillect

Here at MaidSafe, we’re building the world’s first and only autonomous data and communications network in which all data will be encrypted and secured by default. This is cutting-edge technology that will be open for anyone in the world to use. We’re passionate about what we’re building because we’re focused on solving so many of the problems that we all experience with the current internet.

With our focus on solving very real problems, we’re happy to announce a partnership today with Identillect Technologies Corp (you can read the press release here).

During our journey, we’ve seen increasing interest from a number of businesses that are keen to explore the benefits of using SAFE Network technology to help them with very real opportunities to help customers in their own markets. They are enthusiastic about a couple of things in particular. First, the fact that we’re constantly working on our technology with the help of a large community of testers. Secondly, the fact that we’re already at the stage with our current Alpha 2 release of being able to provide secure access to a network using the SAFE Browser, in addition to providing mobile platform support.

Identillect is a company based in California and the leading provider of the email encryption service Delivery Trust, which empowers businesses to protect their business and customers’ critical information.

The licensing agreement that we’ve signed with Indentillect enables them to use and distribute an enterprise version of MaidSafe’s decentralised network for clients that require this additional level of security. With the self-configuring decentralised SAFE Network, they will be able to offer increased security to their clients as the Network works by securing their data by automatically splitting it into chunks, carrying out self-encryption and then storing the data at random locations that are selected by the Network. In addition, the partnership will explore the implications for this improved network security in relation to the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We see this as a great match because Identillect is continually focused on developing the most comprehensive security products on the market through a variety of partnerships. It has already created innovative email security solutions and secure scanning technology which focus on enhancing audit verification and protection. Combine that with the SAFE Network which provides state-of-the-art levels of data security and privacy and it’s a natural fit.

We’re looking forward to seeing how this relationship with Identillect develops. And it’s yet more validation that what we’ve created to date already solves many of the problems faced by modern enterprises.

MAIDSAFE AND EXCHANGES

Yesterday we were informed that Bittrex are going to be delisting MaidSafeCoin. The suddenness of the news, which takes effect on the 9th of March, came as a surprise. The rapidly changing regulatory landscape in the US (where Bittrex are based) is evidenced with the SEC taking a greater interest and more proactive approach in cryptocurrencies. While we can’t say too much about the process that led to the decision (as we had been asked to sign NDAs) the reason provided was MaidSafeCoin’s current lack of utility on the SAFE Network.

What next

We appreciate liquidity is very important to MaidSafeCoin holders and moving forward we are currently having discussions with multiple exchanges and have already put plans in place to list with a large exchange outside the US. We will be working with them on promoting the new listing and we’ll make a joint announcement about this as soon as we can. MaidSafeCoin continues to be traded on Poloniex, HitBTC, Upbit, Cryptopia and CoinSpot.

For those who have coins listed on Bittrex they confirm on their website that they will give users “…up to 14 days to withdraw any delisted tokens, but in certain instances the withdrawal period may be shortened. Users should withdraw any tokens before the posted withdrawal deadline.”

Focus remains on product

This announcement comes at a time when things are going well within the company and the community. Our team has continued to grow with quite a few new recruits being hired in recent weeks. The company is also well funded and there is more than sufficient resources to facilitate Network beta launch and market the network.

We’re also looking forward to hosting SAFE DevCon 2018 on the 23rd of April 2018 in Ayr, Scotland as it represents a fantastic opportunity to spend some time with part of our 7,500 strong community who are actively developing a number of apps that include decentralised content management systems (SAFE CMS), a decentralized music player (JAMS), file storage (SAFE FS), mail applications and many more. Many of these apps are already designed to support the SAFE Networks new bespoke web browser which is currently being community tested.

This continued focus on ‘the product’ is where we believe we provide real value, both to the world at large and to holders of MaidSafeCoin.

So despite this setback, there is much to be optimistic about in the near future. We will update you with additional exchange listings in collaboration with our partners and keep you updated with development updates weekly via the forum.

Announcing SAFE DevCon 2018

 

SAFE DevCon 2018

We’re happy to announce that we’re running our second DevCon in Ayr!

On Monday 23rd April 2018, the global MaidSafe team will be descending on Ayr Racecourse for an event that’s focused primarily on developers who are currently working (or wanting to work) on SAFE Network apps.

Whilst we’ve held various events previously (not least the conference in Asia in 2017) and the community has been running meetups around the world for the past few years, it’s the first time that we’ll have all the team in one location for a day solely dedicated to the SAFE Network.

The full agenda will be published in a couple of weeks – but you can assume that we’ll have a wide range of speakers from across the different areas of the protocol running through the existing state of the SAFE Network, laying out the plans for the year ahead and highlighting a few of the many apps that are flourishing independently from developers around the world.

For 2018, we’ve decided to keep the numbers small. For developers that can make their way to Ayr, we’ll be covering the costs of two night’s accommodation around the Conference. If we have too many applicants, we’ll choose by drawing names from a hat and get back to each applicant (hopefully by Thursday 22nd February) to confirm whether they’ve been successful in securing a ticket.

And those of you within the Community who live around the world and won’t be able to travel, don’t worry – we plan to stream the whole event live and share the videos afterwards.

So if you’d like to come along, take the unique opportunity to meet the full MaidSafe team and hear the very latest about all things SAFE Network, please email us directly at outreach@maidsafe.net (including your safenetforum handle).