An update about MaidSafe.

I wrote a piece about MaidSafe (the company) and their project (SAFE) some time ago. Since then I kept an eye on their forum and try to follow the weekly development updates. Time for a little update…

MaidSafe (the company in Troon, Scotland) is working for quite some time now on this project. The idea is to provide a fully decentralized P2P-network where all “data chunks” and communication is encrypted. Each file you upload is split into chunks of 1 MB and everything is encrypted or decrypted locally on your machine. This idea isn’t very different from Freenet’s vision although MaidSafe adds quite some new features.

MaidSafe wants you to own not only coins but even addresses and data using private keys. The network is split in groups of 10 to 20 vaults where each group is responsible for a part of the address range. Groups might take up new vaults and automatically split when they become too big. Or merge back when they become too small.

Now here’s the idea: let’s say you want a domain like safe://yourwebsite
You pay some Safecoin and become the owner of that address, which is something like the hash of that name.

This idea is quite simple but it solves a lot of problems:

  • No need for TOR’s onion-like addresses, but simple names you can remember. The browser will change the URL to a hash in the background so you can use the normal -human- domain names.
  • You can store whatever you want; pictures, movies, music and share the keys to decrypt that data with people that visit your website. This happens in the background as well.
  • No need for a centralized DNS database somewhere. Everyone can register a domain as long as they pay some Safecoin and the address is still available.

And there’s more. The last development updates talk a lot about Mutable Data. This means people can own an address in the network and “update” the data they store. Made a typo in your blog? No problem, just update the text and you’re good. Overall the SAFE network is like a big universal database where everyone can store whatever they want, without being afraid somebody can edit, delete or snoop on it

In the coming weeks… 
There’s currently a new testnet online (TEST 17) but it’s limited to long term forum members. It should be open to everybody else in the coming days or weeks. It brings people a dedicated browser (SAFE browser) and it looks quite nice:

Next to that the devs are testing Mutable Data with a fully encrypted email client:

This test-network is expected to become Alpha 2 in the coming months. It would be the second public release done by MaidSafe. Next they want to focus on ‘vaults from home’ again, as the network currently runs on vaults owned by MaidSafe. All data is encrypted locally though, so even on this ‘corporate network’ nobody can see who uploaded what.

I’ll keep an eye on this project and write another blog when there’s news to bring.

*disclosure: I own Maidsafe-coin and coins of some related projects like NVO and PDC.

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