Not all network effects are created equal

Bitcoin, in part due to the barriers to entry to own Bitcoin (due to distribution model of centralised mining) and complexity of use (now improving), has seen growth from 0 to around 500,000 users in 6 years. Compare that to the growth rate of WhatsApp, which has now has nearly one billion users in 5 years and you get to see that not all network effects are created equal. In this case it is worth noting the 20x network effect ‘velocity’ difference.

There’s the potential for the growth curve of the SAFE network to be more along the lines of a social network, as looked at in some ways, that is exactly what it is.

Imagine a billion people using the network in 5 years (possible, and IMO not all that improbable), all with a safecoin wallet built in! The network effect at that moment would be far larger than Bitcoin and at a certain point this could perhaps cause safecoin to be the de facto crypto currency/digital cash of the world. Of course Bitcoin could still be the digital (extremely volatile) equivalent to gold but the value of one safecoin could well be $1-$10 (or perhaps more) within a relatively short time period… maybe :slight_smile:

Of course the value of SAFE network goes far beyond the inbuilt value exchange mechanism but by looking at it through this filter is definitely interesting.


I fully agree, if everything goes well I expect this to happen.


Even if the SAFE network was used only as a cryptocurrency platform, Safecoin has more network effect potential than Bitcoin it seems to me, unless the burdens with long transaction times, blockchain bloat, need for cold storage etc are solved for Bitcoin.

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Those are not barriers to entry. You could buy it on the market then, you can today, and you’ll be able to tomorrow.

It’s true that network effects differ (or, perhaps more correctly, that some products/services exhibit a greater effect than others).
Not everyone needs bitcoins, but billions of people store their data online today.
At the same time Dropbox as far as I can tell has a fairly weak network effect (if someone shares a link you may be prompted to install a Dropbox client, which makes you more likely to use Dropbox to store/share your stuff, etc.), so nothing is certain.

It could be that the network effect of earning some coins from sunk HDD cost would be the thing that will make people install MaidSafe and so on. But a Bitcoin-linked kind of storage network could also take off because there’s a lot of exchanges and other infra that could make the adoption faster. In more generic terms (Bitcoin vs. specialized decentralized and distributed storage platform), what will matter is the quality of execution.
Multiple solutions can coexist even if they cater to the same market (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, etc.), and with time there will be specialized solutions too.


Speaking of network effect, I just saw this article:

It’s far more likely that something like that is going to be SAFE’s killer app, not Bitcoin’s. SAFE can do a better job than Bittorrent because the streaming speed/quality won’t be dependent on the torrent’s popularity (amount of seeders), thus offering a far more complete library. Since Bittorrent is a direct P2P protocol, it doesn’t obfuscate the users’ IP addresses nor does it encrypt content, while SAFE does. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re going to see major action undertaken to prosecute users of Popcorn Time, because this is a major threat to commercial streaming services. If that happens, the SAFE alternative would be a far safer haven.


This is right and this is where I see the payment model being paying to encourage future works and only if and what people feel comfortable paying. The killer app is as the name implies safe universal access for all. What will drive the currency and network uptake is freeing the capital by breaking the gateway/pay-walls of broken regressive media. It reverses an enclosure movement and ends the profit of those who profited from restricting access with an artificial scarcity and digital divide. It puts price control in the hands of end users where it belongs.


You have to consider that accepting SAFE for what governments consider illegal services would in fact constitute a greater risk for “commercial” SafeNet content providers.
If you’re (according to laws of most countries) illegally seeding copyrighted content, you may be able to get away with it (cease & desist, warnings, etc.).
If you’re selling it (i.e. a gated MaidSafe site), then you’re running a high risk of being sued. If they ever find you. They probably won’t, but it just doesn’t seem like a good risk/reward ratio. Because anyone from the rest of the world can download the content and compete for the same market using a lower price without the same risk of getting caught, it would be tough to actually make money.
Without any barrier to entry, the cost of keeping the site up to date is the cost of distributing content and the lowest price possible (well the lowest price possible is $0, if there be a Safecorn site that’s public and community maintained and everything’s free).

I commented on that in one of earlier Popcorn related posts: Popcorn performs “ordered fetching” of video/audio chunks so you get the content in the right order. With this optimization (which has been available in the commercial edition of Vuze for years now) you can start watching almost instantly - there’s no need to download the file first.
MaidSafe may be faster and maybe there are embedded browser players that could be used to the same effect, but it’s premature to say that MaidSafe would have advantage here.

One of main advantages is that people (aka farmers) have a financial incentive to keep the stuff online, so the availability of content should be much better on MaidSafe.

MaidSafe to some extent splits Bitorrent’s “initial seeder” role into the role of the PUT-er and farmer. In this world as a PUT-er to a gated paid or public (free or paid) site you’d have the same risk (but better anonymity) as the initial Bittorrent seeder. Farmers would be safer, because they wouldn’t know what they’re storing, but since they’re getting paid, who knows.
If one sees a research estimate that 13.8% of SafeNet earnings come from (what’s considered) illegal downloads, what does that mean for him as a farmer?

I think users will come to SafeNet because content will be more readily available. Many don’t seem particularly concerned about legal risks, but for those who do MaidSafe would be a better choice.

Who in his right mind would run a publicly registered company that provides illegal services on the SAFE network? Either you do it without revealing who you are, conducting all your business on SAFE only, or you don’t offer anything that your government considers illegal.

SAFE can do this as well, the chunks are listed in order in the datamap, so it’s possible to write an app that fetches them in order. The datamap’s size is I believe 1 KB per chunk, so if you’re going to watch a video of 1 GB, the datamap is 1 MB. You’ll have to fetch that first, to know the ID’s of the chunks and how to decrypt them. After that you can immediately fetch the first chunk of the video itself. Depending on the quality of the video, you may only need one or perhaps a few chunks as buffer to start playing. For example, a 720p video with decent encoding can be about 3 seconds per MB. This means that after downloading say the first 2-5 MB the media player can start playing the video. The other chunks will continuously be fetched in the background to keep the buffer filled.

The interesting thing is that, as far as I can see, it should be pretty much impossible to make such an estimate with any credibility. The data just will not be available to know, from a network perspective, what is being done on the network. There is no way to determine what a farmer is being rewarded for. Super-rapid response for a file might be an indicator of its being popular, but that’s about all.

This fact itself will call for wild condemnation, but if promoted right, many should be able to see this as a feature, rather than a flaw. That, of course, doesn’t mean that “authorities” won’t throw bogus estimates around to tarnish the image of the network, but even that could be good promotion.

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My question is as a user/farmer, Use a service like “netflix” or “apple itune” on the maidsafe network for the latest movie by downloading and paying for the content will some of the data go on my farming free hard drive space and in turn will I become apart of the content provider and payed safecoins by providing bandwidth to the service? As a network effect for users this would be massive pull factor to use maidsafe.

Only if some chunks of the file happened to be stored in your vault. But you’d never know either way and it wouldn’t matter either to the network or you. You’ll get the data requested; your vault serves up what it has when asked and is randomly rewarded with safecoin for doing so. That’s all.


Data is stored as chunks and will always be stored within a vault, for which you specify location and quota preferences.

The network has de-duplication, so if you downloaded that netflix movie onto your HDD and then copied it across to your vault un-modified…it would still look like your movie, but would not make it onto the network and would only be a pointer to the Netflix original and they would get paid when you access it.

De-duplication is great…think of all the stuff you’ve downloaded over the years and which still resides on your drives. Now upload everything you’ve got onto the network…it’s all there for you, but which of those files was the first onto the network…only the first/ unique data wins the SAFEcoin.

So once your data is up and you have full confidence it is safe and accessible, you can go ahead and wipe the drives and set them up as farming nodes, storing random chunks. You might not end up paying as much safecoin as you thought to store on the network, because of all the de-duplication that is going on.


Deduplication is a strange idea in a way. Mulah Nasruddin walks into a shop and asks, “have you seen me before?” Shop keeper answers “no.” Nasruddin: then who did you know it was me?
Deduplication will be at best relative even on the same physical network because forking of the network.

Would there be any advantages to a system that did not care about deduplication? Would it simply be impractical? Would exponential spam arise?

It’d be plain inefficient in terms of storage. Depending on how it would not care about deduplication, it would also be slower. If non-self-encryption would be used, routing wouldn’t work as well. Your GET might pass a node that actually has the data you requested, but because it has different encryption the request would be passed onward rather than replied to with the data that that node has.

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