MaidSafe as an alternative to Dropbox/cloud storage?

Will MaidSafe be a viable alternative to Dropbox and other cloud storage providers?

Specifically, can I ‘donate’ a chunk of my harddrive in exchange for having my own data replicated and backed up across the network? Would this be a cheaper, and possibly faster and more reliable alternative?


Yes to all of those plus anonymous and completely secure. Distributed across the network with multiple live copies at all times for redundancy. Think of it as the current Internet, cloud services, email, messaging, distributed file sharing and computation, crypto, and much more all rolled up into one. Check out for some good general overview. The systems docs are an awesome read if you have a somewhat technical understanding and here’s the right place to ask questions and engage in good conversation.

To address your specific question. You supply the network with resources such as hard drive space, down the road cpu and bandwidth can be provided as well. You will be considered a ‘farmer’ on the network and will be rewarded safecoins based on the data stored on your drive’s usage or “gets”. Since all files saved to the network are split into chunks the space you provided will have many users highly encrypted fragmented data being requested frequently earning you a fair amount of safecoins for you to spend on extra storage on the network. I don’t believe it’s been decided yet how much space will be given for free or if storage is matched per gb provided but the benefit here is great security and anonymity so that to me is worth something. Test net 3 is coming up upon which test safecoins will be implemented and a decision on how much storage will be given for free will likely be determined so def stick around. Then after test net 3 is beta launch.



That is probably the tip of the iceberg, but that is the exact most obvious application of MaidSafe.

I suspect it will be faster cheaper, and without a central server to raid or hack.


The other thing to think about in comparison to Dropbox is the additional security of being able to control your own data. Dropbox encrypt their customers data server side so they hold all the encryption keys and can view your data at will (I’m not saying they do, just that they could. These centralised services also lack physical security, so they could delete or corrupt your data. Conversely, the SAFE Network puts the user in direct control of their own data. It cannot be accessed or deleted by anyone else.

Many have debated and tried to estimate the cost of storage and we will only know for sure through testing and launch, I think the price will be more dynamic than existing services. But given that the infrastructure is provided by the unused computing resources of its users it is likely to be a small fraction of running and managing a data centre.


I think we were keen to be able to offer some space for free, but I believe it represents an attack (attacker automates the creation of millions of accounts and fills up their free data allocation and floods the network) and we are likely to require some safecoin in order to store any data.


Good insight @nicklambert. I need to dig into one of the threads where this has been discussed to refresh. The cost def mitigates the attack and for an average user storing data the cost really is negligible. Besides its a one time fee and data is stored permanently. Otherwise you are able to store as much as you provide correct? Or could you be given a fraction more for each gb you provide?? That would seem to me a good medium ground just thinking of it

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I was talking about costs to me personally, not about infrastructure costs as a whole, although that is another good consideration.

Dropbox is currently $10/mo for 1 TB of data. I’ve probably got about 250 GB of data on my computer that I don’t want to lose, but about 10 TB of harddrive space. I wouldn’t mind donating a good chunk of that space if it means my 250 GB is immune to fire and theft, with the added benefit of being able to be accessed from where ever I am in the world.

I do, however, like to shut my computer off at night to conserve power and give it a fresh start the following day. So I don’t know if joining the Safe network for only half a day would buy me enough Safe-rep to store my files, or if I need to invest in a low power server.

Speaking of which, how is that going to work? Is “farming” going to get me SafeCoins which I can then in turn use to “buy” Safe-storage? Or would my Safe-storage be proportional to my contribution?

If I’m buying Safe-storage, how would that payment work? Would a fee be deducted from my Wallet every month, automatically (and presumably disbursed to other farmers)? And what if my Wallet runs dry - would my files be deleted? Would I receive a notification of such impending deletion? Who would email the warning to me, without a central server?

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If Safe-storage space is proportional to how much space you provide, how would uptime factor in? What if I provide 5 TB of space, but only for 2 hours of the day? What if I provide a ton of space, great uptime, and rack up a lot of Safe-storage, then just disappear from the network. Are my files still guaranteed to be there?

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So by uptime I’m assuming you refer to bandwidth and the way you are rewarded is how you are ranked by the network. Your vault is ranked based on availability and bandwidth mostly I believe as to provide better reliability and performance. So having your computer go on and off would not be beneficial. Many will have dedicated pc’s on constantly with good bandwidth BUT I do believe the team have had these considerations as they want it to be beneficial for ALL users but at the same time have quality resources provided reliably. If you’re on a predictable schedule then you’ll prolly be ranked as such I assume just dependent on how long. If you disappear from the network and you paid for storage with resources then you’d be downranked for sure and at that stage I’m not sure what would happen to your data. If you had a good rank for a long time then your earnings would sustain you for quite a long while I would presume.

Think of it this way.
If you’re paying for Dropbox then instead purchase safecoins on the SAFEex crypto exchange that will be available at launch and pay for your storage. It will be at least comparable in price but most likely much cheaper. (1.Should be a one time fee & 2. Best security)

If you plan on being a part of the network and using it for messaging and like a new decentralized Internet then you already see the value in providing the resources to the network and by being a part of it get rewarded safe storage of all your files.

You do raise an excellent question that to be quite frank I’ve never considered because I just want to be an active contributor to this project, it seems like the next logical step and the best alternative. I never thought to just dump data and leave haha. This might be a good question for @dirvine or @nicklambert . In the meantime I’ll search the forum for an answer to that question
First thread I found

The safe-storage space is not proportional to space you provide.

The SAFEnet pay for each GET (chunk of data) given to the network and charges for each PUT (chunk of data) store in the network. Therefore, a computer on a few hours will get little benefit. Moreover, its rank will be very low so, that in spite of the offered 5TB, the amount of stored data will be very low too.

About your files…

How do you ensure that no pieces of data are lost after a user goes offline?

The SAFE Network automatically maintains a minimum of four live
copies of any piece of data at any time. As a users turns off their
computer, their vault managers (the group responsible for looking after
network nodes) notify the network and all the data chunks being held by
that data manager are recreated elsewhere. This process happens very
quickly, in around 20 milliseconds.

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@mnpenner :

Is “farming” going to get me SafeCoins which I can then in turn use to “buy” Safe-storage?

Yes, this is likely the model, for the reasons Nick mentioned.

Access to public data will always be free, only storing/uploading is charged. There is no ongoing fee, just a one off upload cost, so your data won’t be deleted if you pay to upload and leave it. No need to continue to farm etc.

Payment for storage will happen in blocks (e.g pay for 10GB capacity). Giving you a storage credit that is yours to use up all at once, or over time, as you wish. When you’ve used it up you’ll need to buy some more.

These are all things to be trialled in testnet 3, but this is the model that seems to answer the technical issues

UX Of Business Model

It’s really helpful to us to hear your questions. One of the things we need to do is improve the usability/user experience of this model. How easy is it to understand? How does it compare with other models (e.g Dropbox subscription)? Do people trust that it’s pay once, store forever?!

I think simply the fact that it is a different model creates a barrier to understanding and adoption that we will need to overcome by making it easy to understand and to trust, when people who already have expectations about how cloud storage works encounter SAFE Network. Most of whom won’t ask these question, they’ll make their decision based only on what is presented.

I’m sure @N1ckLambert and the team have thought of this, and when the technical options are clearer (testnet 3) it will become more of a focus.

@happybeing doesn’t your quote contradict @dirvine’s quote here ? I’m a little confused about how this works right now so not sure :slight_smile: .

I read David’s quote as a prevention from storage space hoarding and your quote implies to me that you can buy and use it whenever you want to.

I don’t see the difference.

Maybe the confusion is with “pay on PUT”? Perhaps clearer as: you must pay in order to PUT.

The way you do this is by paying to credit your account with an amount of storage that is then used up by uploading, storing messages etc (each PUT will shave a bit off what is left). Once exhausted, you need to “top up” again.

This avoids the problem with the cost of a single PUT being less than a Safecoin, and similar issues.

Well, that’s my understanding! :slight_smile:

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Ah I now see why I deleted my post first :slight_smile: . I was confused by the ‘storage credit’ what actually is safecoin. I thought you meant storage space with storage credit .

But that’s exactly what I mean by “storage credit”!

You decide how much storage you want and buy it in a batch, in units of let’s say 10GB. When you do that, you pay in Safecoin at the going rate. That is the point when your wallet gets debited.

As you store data your Safecoin wallet is not touched. If it was per PUT, how would you charge the wallet for 0.001 Safecoin (or whatever it works out)?

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This does incentivize hoarding and I thought that’s something we don’t want.

You say you buy it in a batch, but according to David the storage you buy and do not use will decrease (to prevent hoarding). Buying it in a batch and store later on incentives people to buy up all available storage space and sell the account with X GB storage space for example.

I’m probably misunderstanding something here so enlighten me :smiley:

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Like I said, that’s my understanding… Just based on what @dirvine has said, so he’s the guy to clarify. David, please review my explanation above and respond to @Melvin’s hoarding concern.

I can see problems for people trying to hoard in the way you describe - it will push up the price of Safecoin for example, making storage expensive to “pre-own”, but best for David to clarify first.

Yes this is something we are looking at now and discussing how best to explain these novel concepts concisely to non technical users. I think trust is something that we and the network will need to earn :slight_smile: As well as explaining concepts to users, giving them access to users support is also a key consideration here.


I think you will only hoard storage promise of space, so that is OK. The safecoin will be consumed by the network and farmed out.

So putting more into storage means you just gave to farmers more who will hopefully distribute it (well it’s distributed to them). When you need to use that space you hoarded (expensively) the network will ensure you get it even if it has to increase famers rewards to do so.

Hope that makes sense I know I am very bad at explaining this. It will be much clearer when we implement it as my head won’t be in routing algorithms :slight_smile: