The Safe Network
In 2006 Maidsafe started building a network they called SAFE –Secure Access For Everyone. The goal is to decentralise the internet. Servers are points of failure, and this makes information valuable and accessible to third parties. Us humans have more computational power under the collective desks and on our laps that all the server farms in the world. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and better if we could distribute all the computational power? And do it on a network that isn’t owned by anyone, that can be built by anyone.
Safe Network Explainedn
The SAFE network is an autonomous network that repels human intervention of any kind; it cannot be controlled or “owned. It serves as a collaborative, decentralised “cloud” for secure, anonymous storage, communications and applications Advantages of the SAFE network include a low-cost, perpetual encrypted decentralised data storage exchange for contributing spare disk space to the network (farming). By encrypting all data, the SAFE network prevents data theft and surveillance by eliminating servers, plus encryption of all data and communications
A cryptocurrency (safecoin) will incentivise all actors in the ecosystem. An ecosystem which is aiming to one day support apps and websites, including all existing Internet-type services, but with privacy and anonymity assured.
The Safe network is an open source project that anyone can contribute to, and it doesn’t use blockchain technology. Data is still encrypted and added to a ledger. Decentralised trust is still possible using an algorithmic concept Maidsafe have pioneered called proof of resource to hash and verify the information.
As users save their data or interact with applications, their data is broken up, encrypted, and then distributed randomly throughout the network to other Vaults. It is not possible to identify which chunks fit together to comprise a file. These Vaults are independent and autonomous, each storing a small part of the encrypted data.
Is the SAFE Network a Blockchain?
Maidsafe isn’t a blockchain. It instead uses what’s called a Transaction Manager that holds each user’s account information in the nodes closest to it. This sounds venerable. A small amount of nodes containing all the information is easier to attack than an entire decentralised blockchain, isn’t it? Maidsafe says no. To perform a 51% attack on the Maidsafe Network takes 75% of the network, and it only exposes a limited vulnerability. 
This is all achieved through a consensus problem called ‘close group consensus’. As new data is added to the network, every node keeps a copy of that data. Data which is already encrypted. Safe also only keeps a few copies of each piece of data on the network. Each piece of data is allocated to a group of nodes (about 30).
“Changes to that data can only be made if there’s consensus by a supermajority of the group (about 80%) as to the true state of the data. Because only that relatively small group of nodes must agree on the true state of the data, safe is much more efficient than bitcoin.
self-encryption. Any data stored on the network is automatically encrypted by the client before being sent to storage. This means anyone running a vault is unable to determine what specific data they are storing since only the owner of the data can decrypt it. This makes it extremely difficult to create a second network containing malicious data and fool users into participating on the fake network.
An algorithm is used which determines how the group governing each piece of data is formed. Members of this group are chosen by the network in a way that is very difficult to manipulate. This makes it very difficult to attack the Safe Network.
Further reading on the Safe Network
The SAFE Network School podcast goes through the wiki and breaks down the concepts in it.
The Maidsafe Coin (MAID)
Maidsafe Coin is an intermediary cryptocurrency used to pay for resources on the SAFE network. The word ‘Intermediary’ is important. If you set up a node on the SAFE network and commit computational resources, you are rewarded with another token called Safecoin. This token does not exist yet because the full network isn’t running. Once the network is operational it will be possible to exchange Safecoin and Maidsafe coin at a ratio of 1:1. Currently, the Maidsafe coin exists to build interest in the project, distributing tokens and raising funds while the network is being built.
The user interacts with the SAFE Authenticator, which acts as a gateway to the SAFE network and provides a GUI to open and manage different applications. The Web Hosting Manager is used to manage web hosted contents in the SAFE Network. It is used to create services/websites and upload web content that can be hosted on the network.
The Maidsafe Team
The Maidsafe Team were started in 2006 by a Scottish engineer David Irvine. David is a privacy advocate. He is of the opinion that privacy is a basic human right, and he seems to honestly think that the centralised nature of the internet is fundamentally wrong.
They are a small team of 14 comprised of inventors, tinkerers, PHDs, engineers, and designers. There is a lot of experience here recruited from all around the world.
They profit by making the coin more valuable and by developing the core libraries. Anyone can contribute to the core libraries. You can go on github to see open source mechanisms. Most contributions are made by Maidsafe team, and they are rewarded for it in agreement with the incentive structure.
Why Invest In Maidsafe Coins?
It actually seems like Maidsafe is going to happen. The team has been hard at work on Maidsafe since 2006, and it is further along in its development than most other cryptocurrencies. The idea is powerful, and the use case disrupts an industry worth billions. Massive companies own the internet. They have access to data worth trillions. The team argues that this too rich a honeypot to trust to Google or Amazon, internet censorship and privatisation are on the agendas of world governments and it costs billions building the centralised infrastructure.
The main network hasn’t launched yet. Once it has, Maidsafe coins will be traded 1:1 for Safecoins. Maidsafe doesn’t have the hype of IOTA, Ripple, Ethereum, Stella, OmiseGo and NEO, but it has an active open source community who have been delivering slow but consistent progress for over a decade. I think Maidsafe is undervalued. It predated the bubble, made a mess of its ICO and never really gained much initial traction. This technological over promotional approach makes it a solid long-term hodl. As more developments are released surely Maidsafe will continue to attract attention.
Interested in Maidsafe Coin? For more information check out our Guide to Buying Maidsafe coin now.