All the way through the design and build of the SAFE Network, we’ve been guided by a core set of principles which act as the foundations of a new decentralised, autonomous internet. Here, we’ll explore them all in a little detail.
We’ve got 20 fundamentals…so let’s start from the beginning.
Fundamental #1: The SAFE Network will enable you to create an account and login anonymously and without intervention.
So what does this mean? This means that creating a new account and logging into the Network will never require a third party. By removing this requirement, you decrease the chance of being hacked by others attacking those third parties. We truly believe that on the Network, hacking and the theft of your data should never be words that are associated with our online lives.
Fundamental #2: The SAFE Network will enable you to securely and with no controlling intermediaries share information and messages.
In other words, there will never be any third parties on the SAFE Network who can read or store any information that a User sends — unless that User explicitly gives his or her consent. That’s vastly different to today’s world where your data is all stored by technology companies in huge data centres, who then use that data to lock you into their platforms so that they can track your every movement in order to sell that data to advertisers. Removing those data stores removes that particular security risk.
Fundamental #3: The SAFE Network allows the transfer of Safecoin to any other user free of transaction costs.
This means each User of the Network can use any of their identities as a wallet address in order to be able to send and receive Safecoin. And there should be no transaction costs attributed to the simple exchange of value. Take a step back and think about it: money is simply a mathematical construct that enables the transfer of value between two individuals. Data is far more important than money and considerably more valuable. So why should transactions on the Network cost money?
Fundamental #4: The Network enables users to anonymously create and share data worldwide.
The Network will always ensure that the User has the ability to send transaction messages and posts with temporary and single-use IDs that are not linked to any known identity on the Network. This avoids the problem we see today where your personal freedom and anonymity is removed the instant that you can be identified online.
All of your behaviour is being tracked by third parties which leads to you being pestered by advertising to sell you stuff you may or may not need...
But more seriously, it’s crucial that the SAFE Network gives everyone the right to interact within digital worlds without revealing any personal information at all. Reveal what you choose to those that you wish. It’s a default position that’s fairer for all.
Fundamental #5: The SAFE Network will let anyone browse content anonymously and free of charge.
It’s essential that the new decentralised web is built without barriers to entry. One of the most important foundations for a global, collaborative platform is that anyone can access public content for free at any time without having to create an account. In today’s world, you need to prove that you are authorised before you can access data: for example, if you want to set up an iTunes account, you first have to verify your identity before you’re able to use the service, plus you have to agree to their terms of service…(all 20,000 words of it). Not so on the SAFE Network. Here, everyone can browse public data without restrictions. That means public information is accessible to all, not hidden behind barriers and wordy T&Cs. Instead, it’s free to retrieve all data and information stored on the Network.
Fundamental #6: The SAFE Network allows you to associate multiple identities to your account.
How is this useful? Perhaps you want to donate to charity anonymously. No problem, you can use one identity. Perhaps you want to whistleblow on your employer which could lead to severe consequences. No problem, you can use another identity. Need to use one identity only once? No problem. You can easily throw away each identity after a single use, without the fear of it being traced back to you. This is especially pertinent in regimes where censorship is rife and the cost of speaking up could be your life.
Fundamental #7: The SAFE Network lets you send or receive Safecoin using any of your identities.
This concept is tied into #6: true anonymity requires the ability to transact without trace using the identity that you have chosen to use.
Fundamental #8: The SAFE Network must store data in perpetuity.
This is a key fundamental: it will be impossible to delete any published data from the Network after it has been uploaded. Why? Because it means that it will then be impossible to rewrite history.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to update data (for example, with new website content). You’ll simply do this via ‘append-only’ changes, i.e. there will always be a permanent public trail of versions that show the changes that have been made. So in exactly the same way as the Internet Archive today stores versions of websites even if they were published with mistakes, all public/published data on the Network will be immutable and available on the Network in perpetuity.
Fundamental #9: The SAFE Network will never require passwords to be on the Network or on the machines used by the Clients to access the Network.
Let’s start by quickly defining Clients. When you’re reading about the Network, you can think of ‘Clients’ as simply meaning the software that somebody uses to access the SAFE Network.
With that context, this Fundamental is all about self-authentication: the ability to sign into a decentralised autonomous network without a password leaving your computer at any point. Since it never sees your password, it can’t be hacked on the Network.
This is a significant step forward: instead of a futile attempt to minimise the risk of passwords getting stolen by a bad actor in their journey from machine to Network, that risk is simply removed by cutting that step out in its entirety.
Fundamental #10: The SAFE Network will allow any user on any machine to access the Network and it will leave no trace of that user on that machine.
This means a User isn’t restricted to accessing the Network by using a specific device. Once logged out, there will be no evidence (other than say the fact that the Browser software has been downloaded) that shows what that User has done on the SAFE Network.
Ultimately, any user should be able to pick up anyone’s internet-connected device and use his or her credentials to access the SAFE Network regardless of location around the world.
That’s it for the first half of our run-through of the SAFE Network Fundamentals. You’ll find Fundamentals 11–20 in Part 2 of this article.