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Building The SAFE Network in 2018

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

The SAFE Network Fundamentals

We worked this year on distilling a number of essential truths about the SAFE Network into a list of twenty one Fundamentals. You can read these on the website but if you’re looking for a little more context about why each of these has consistently guided the design of the Network for the last twelve years or so, it’s worth checking out the post on the Forum that explains the context.

PARSEC

Up there with the biggest news of the year was the release of the Protocol for Asynchronous Reliable Secure and Efficient Consensus (PARSEC). In May 2018, MaidSafe announced the release of PARSEC, a new completely decentralised, open source, highly asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus mechanism. In other words, it’s the method by which a global network can come to agreement on what happened, and when, without requiring any centralised authority.

Crust

There was plenty of excitement amongst the community when we released a couple of tests to see how our peer-to-peer networking library Crust (Connections in Rust) would fare in the wild. Between both the first Crust test and the second, we saw some fantastic results. So after involvement from 37 countries and over 20,000 attempted connections, with connections into and out of China also very strong (88% success rate overall), we’re happy to say that people are able to connect to each other directly! We also found some interesting evidence of issues out there that support our fundamental stance that all data on the new decentralised Internet needs to be encrypted.

SAFE and Solid

Great progress was made in 2018 between Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s SOLID project and the SAFE Network. By building the framework to ensure that data is saved on the SAFE Network in a way that is compatible with Solid’s semantic web approach, we’re able to ensure that our shared visions of total user control of data and excision of the third party aggregators who currently control and use our data in ways that we don’t intend are able to fit snugly together.

Videos

We released a range of video content this year — from explaining the difference between the SAFE Network and blockchain-based storage, to a couple of videos funded by the Community Engagement Programme (talking about the currency of the SAFE Network and the Proof Of Resource mechanism).

Community

The Community really took strides forward this year with regular meetups in London, Chicago and Brighton. Community member @fergish continued to forge ahead with his SAFE Crossroads Podcast. And it was fantastic to see the SAFE Network Primer being produced in January by the community, giving newcomers a straightforward document to take a look through when they first explore the project.

New Websites

There are now three key websites: we released safenetwork.tech (for newcomers, privacy advocates, journalists), SAFE DevHub (for developers and more technical types) and then we’ve reduced the prominence of maidsafe.net to reflect the primacy of the Network and community over MaidSafe as an organisation. That brings it more in line with the ethos of the project, whereby the Community run the forum and a number of the social channels such as Telegram and Reddit.

Publicity and News Stories

It was an exciting year for news stories. First, we were able to talk about the fact that David, Viv and Nick had been acting as advisors to HBO’s hugely popular ‘Silicon Valley’ show. And Hollywood continued to sniff around the Network with the appearance of the SAFE Network in unexpected places — not least ‘Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet’.

MaidSafe Team Growth

The MaidSafe team has continued to grow over the past twelve months, not least with the opening of a new office in Chennai, India. We’ve had 12 new starts around the world in the past year, a growth of 26% in the total headcount. Most have introduced themselves here in case you’d like to get to know the team a little better (you’ll find them on the safenetwork Medium publication).

Community Apps

We saw some strong growth in app development from the community during 2018 — from the JAMS! music project, to SAFE Drive, Project Decorum, SAFE-CMS, SAFE-Search and SAFE CLI Boilerplate amongst many others. Particularly given the Android release this year, we’re looking forward to seeing this area really grow in the future.

So: What’s Next?

2018 saw huge steps forward for the SAFE Browser (including the most recent v0.11.0 release), Web Hosting Manager, the rebooting of the RFC process (such as suggestions for XOR URL’s on the Network) and far too many other areas to mention.

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Building the SAFE Network. The world’s first autonomous data network. Privacy, security, freedom. Join us at https://safenetforum.org/