Review of MaidSafeCoin (MAID): Building a Decentralised Data Network
The MaidSafeCoin is actually an interim coin being used on the alpha version of the SAFE (Secure Access for Everyone) network. Eventually the MaidSafeCoin will be exchanged for SafeCoins, once the SAFE network is out of alpha and beta.
The goal of the SAFE network is to give a safe and improved internet experience free from the centralization that comes with the internet being dominated by a handful of companies.
By creating a decentralized internet architecture the SAFE network hopes to eliminate the need for human involvement with private data. Eventually the SAFE network hopes to provide its service free of charge for everyone, and improve security, freedom and privacy.
In this MaidSafeCoin review, we will take an in-depth look at the project by covering such topics as the technology, team, use cases and token prospects. Let's get to it.
The MaidSafe Company
It’s interesting to note that MaidSafe.net was founded in 2006, long before even Bitcoin had been created, let alone the increasingly large cryptocurrency ecosystem. The company was founded by Scottish engineer David Irvine, and is headquartered in Ayr, Scotland. The original reason for founding the company was to provide a secure data and communications platform, although the mission has expanded dramatically since.
The name MaidSafe may sound strange to some, but it’s actually an acronym that stands for Massive Array of Internet Disks, Secure Access for Everyone. The MaidSafeCoin is a token based on the Bitcoin network that will be swappable for SafeCoin on a 1:1 basis once the SAFE network is live.
MaidSafe currently has 35 core members scattered across the globe, and comprised of “thinkers, inventors, tinkerers, PhDs, engineers, and designers”. Additionally, the 2014 ICO for MaidSafeCoin stated there were more than 500 developers helping with the project on a part-time basis.
The project previously offered both open source and commercial licensing of its code, but has recently switched to just open source in an effort to attract more developers and to keep the project free and diverse.
“We always see the SafeNetwork a bit like a public utility,” says Nick Lambert, COO at MaidSafe to TechCrunch. He went on to say:
In terms of once we’ve got this thing up and launched we don’t want to control it or own it because if we do nobody will want to use it — it needs to be seen as everyone contributing. So we felt it’s a much more encouraging sign for developers who want to contribute if they see everything is fully open sourced and cannot be closed source.
The SAFE Network
The goal of the SAFE network is to provide a secure peer-to-peer network that is also data-centric and autonomous. The network was designed to be locally encrypted and have data broken up and then distributed and replicated as needed across the network. The entire network is meant to be decentralized, and rather than using servers it relies on the resources provided by every user in the network.
When complete it will provide all of the existing internet services, but will also be decentralized, self-correcting and self-managing. For example, with the current centralized model if there is an increased demand for bandwidth or storage space all of those needing the resource generally see decreased performance.
With the SAFE network resources are allocated as needed, so an increased need for bandwidth will actually have improved performance as the network allocates more of the needed resource.
Additionally, the SAFE network will keep data in the hands of the owners rather than trusting it to third-parties. This is handled through several network features as explained below:
In order to access the network with the SAFE Browser, you will have to self authenticate. This basically means that there will be no middle man that will be the gateway between you and the network.
With the safe network, a user’s PIN and keyword are for that person’s data, which never leaves your machine. Data is decrypted locally so that no one needs a record of your files or permission to access it. Moreover, to retain anonymity, the IP address of the person that is logging in from is hidden by SAFE's self authentication technology.
Files uploaded to the SAFE network are broken up into chunks (C1, C2, C3). These chunks are then encrypted on your local PC making use of the AES-256 encryption algorithm. Because they are encrypted locally, there is no chance of keys or passwords every leaving your machine.
Once these chuncks have been encrypted they are randomized and distributed across the SAFE network. The network will maintain the minimum number of live copies of each chunk at any given time. So if chunck were to go offline, it would be noticed immediately by its replicates and a replacement would be produced.
Once you want to access your files, you will log into the network and the data map will retrieve the map from the network and re-consitutue the files. This will also happen simultaneously which will save disk space greatly accross the network.
Decentralized “opportunistic data caching”
Decentralized network means that it is stored all over the world on different devices, making it harder to attack. It also means no third party will have access to it. Opportunistic caching means that as more copies of data are created closer to where the data is being requested, speeds up popular websites and data feeds, rather than slowing it down as it does today.
Data availability & built-in redundancy
Duplicate copies of each chuck of data is available at all times. This constant movement of data, churn, makes the SAFE network secure because hackers have no central point to target for data.
The SAFE network will incentivize users to make their unused resources available by compensating them with SafeCoins. In this way users can make excess processing power, storage and bandwidth available to the network and get paid. This is similar to mining, but is instead called “farming” in the SAFE network.
Of course there is always a concern that the data being shared could be lost be the farmers. The SAFE network protects against data loss by using Proof of Resource. The PoR mechanism requires resources that are not committed to the network to have smaller earning potential, and they can even be rejected from the network by something called Close Group Consensus.
You can already test the Alpha version of the SAFE network by logging into the SAFE Authenticator that’s included in the SAFE browser. This allows you to privately and anonymously access the existing SAFE applications, which include a web browser, a desktop email tutorial and a web hosting manager.
MAID Token Price History
MaidSafe conducted a crowdsale in 2014 with the intention of raising $7 million in 30 days. Instead it took them 4 hours, making it one of the most successful crowdsales of the time. During the sale they sold just 10% of the total coin supply, but unfortunately much of the money they raised was in Mastercoin, which is a cryptocurrency that has few traders and is quite illiquid.
The company raised an additional $1.7 million in Bitcoin and cash in 2016.
The MaidSafeCoin itself remained around the $0.02 level from 2014 through early 2016. Throughout 2016 it traded between $0.05 and $0.10 for the most part. The beginning of 2017 saw the coin begin to take off along with the broader cryptocurrency market and by January 2, 2018 it hit its all-time high of $1.17.
Since then it has remained range bound between $0.224 to $0.49, which is better than the broader market, which has seen most cryptocurrencies slowly and steadily sinking throughout 2018. As of August 2018 it is nearer the bottom of that range and trades at $0.308786.
Where to Purchase and Store MAID
MaidSafe recommends using Omniwallet for storing or transferring your MAID tokens. For the best security you should store your coins offline using the Omnicore offline alternative.
SAFE Network Roadmap
The SAFE network is currently in phase 2 alpha testing, and there are a total of 4 alpha phases planned before the network goes live.
People are starting to create different apps against that network. There are a couple of storage style apps… There is encrypted email running as well, and also that is running on Android. And we have a forked version of the Beaker browser — that’s the browser that we use right now. So if you can create websites on the Safe Network, which has its own protocol, and if you want to go and view those sites you need a Safe browser to do that, so we’ve also been working on our own browser from scratch that we’ll be releasing later this year… So there are a number of apps that are running against that alpha 2 network.
Additional phases include a secure autonomous network routing layer and secure autonomous data services, testing of Safecoin, and real-time network upgrades.
Having been in development for three years prior to the launch of Bitcoin, there’s been a lot of thought and effort put into the SAFE network. It is an extremely ambitious project, with a great deal of community engagement and support.
This is all encouraging, but it does look as if it could be some time before the SAFE network is ready to go live. Afterall, it’s been 12 years already and so far the network is only in stage 2 alpha testing, with a limited number of applications available.
Still, it seems to be a very solid project, and if it takes another decade to be completed that might not be so bad if it actually does deliver on the promise of replacing the currently centralized internet with one that is free, secure and private.
I’ll be keeping an eye on the SAFE network and the developments of the MAID coin as it seems to be one of the better decentralized network projects in development.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.