Unique Technologies and Attributes
The vision of MaidSafe, laid out in a whitepaper shortly before launch, was to create a cheaper, more efficient, and more secure data-storage infrastructure for the internet. SAFE (Secure Access for Everyone) would decentralize data storage and data management with user-contributed computing resources. Data are shredded, hashed, and stored throughout the network, increasing security and privacy.
Safecoin emerged as one strategy to incentivize participation. When one opens a ‘vault’ of contributed storage on the network, they start earning Safecoin. These vaults are assigned IP addresses based on a hash of identifying information, to anonymize vault-holders identities. The MaidSafe network is a platform for app development using the distributed vaults. Safecoin was envisioned as a way for users to purchase application or resources on the network such as data storage.
As a cryptocurrency, Safecoin has a number of unique properties.
First, it offers unchained transactions: only the previous and current holder of a coin is recorded on the network v. the entire history of the coin on the Bitcoin blockchain. Second, payments can be made in increments of 2-32 vs. 10-8 in Bitcoin. This will facilitate micropayments.
Second, it offers instant confirmations: transactions aren’t confirmed on a blockchain by the entire network. Instead, a set of nodes are designated as Transaction Managers, who arbitrate between two nodes wishing to exchange Safecoin. Funds are essentially held in escrow while the arbitration group–unpredictable before the transaction–confirms the transaction’s authenticity. After this, the rest of the network respects the arbitration group’s decision. The Transaction Managers generate a temporary receipt, which can be kept or destroyed.
Safecoin will use a distribution protocol it calls proof-of-resource. Participants, or “farmers” contribute data-storage resources to the network, and in return, they are given a portion of the block reward. Farming has not commenced, and the MaidSafe team has not estimates of mining reward protocols. Broadly, however, farmers are rewarded whenever their vaults are used to store data. Vaults, in turn, are chosen randomly, though vaults with higher ratings according to CPU power and network speed will be chosen more frequently. The better the contribution to the network, the more likely one is to farm Safecoins. At time of writing, 15% of all Safecoins will be allocated to the developer pool for making apps. The maximum supply is 4.3 billion Safecoins.
MaidSafeCoin had a controversial beginning. On April 8, 2014, Maidsafe announced they would selling MaidSafeCoins, redeemable 1:1 for safecoins once the SAFE network launched. This ‘presale’ would commence on April 22, 2014, and up to 15% of the safecoin supply would be sold. MaidSafe coins could be purchased for Bitcoins (17,000 per BTC) or Mastercoins (3,400 per MSC).
Given the hype around SAFE, many people ‘invested’ in MSC to buy safecoins at guaranteed prices, and the the exchange rate of BTC/MSC climbed to 5:1 leading up to the launch. Right before the sale was to begin, Maidsafe announced that it would not be accepting Mastercoins anymore. To many users, this was a bait-and-switch for developers to sell MSC at inflated BTC prices. Developers claim that they did not anticipate the amount of coin being marshalled for the presale, and given that Mastercoin confirms transactions in 35 seconds while Bitcoin does in 10 minutes, all the safecoins would go to Mastercoin holders, with nothing left for Bitcoin holders. This IPO has shadowed the coin every since. The reader can find a well written chronicle of the launch here.
5% of the coins were set aside for the coin’s founders, and they were allocated to the MaidSafe Foundation for safekeeping.
Community and Founders
MaidSafe Coin was developed by a Scotland-based team led by David Irvine. The team had been working together for eight years prior to launch, and had submitted numerous patent applications for MaidSafe.net, though without reference to cryptocurrencies.
The idea for MaidSafe predates the announcement of Maidsafe coin and even the announcement of Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto. MaidSafe founders filed a US patent application in 2007 describing maidsafe.net, a distributed network that could securely handle transactions of digital currency using cryptography. That application referenced a 2006 application to Great Britain’s patent office. This history has given the project immense credibility.