The number of Safecoins in existence

I saw this quote from @nicklambert regarding the number of Safecoins in existence at any one point:

“it’s so anonymous that not only do we not know who our users are, we’ll only be able to estimate how many we have. And we’ll probably need to do that by trying to estimate how many [Safecoins] have been generated”

If there is no fix on the exact number of safecoins in existence then I’m guessing places like coinmarketcap will have to use the overall number of safecoins that will ever be mined for the purposes of calculating the market cap and just put an asterix by it. If so safecoin will instantly jump to a market cap of around $130 million come launch day.

Not sure how they will manage, they may be reliant on us to provide regular estimates. I personally think it is unlikely they would list a market cap with every coin being farmed, but it will be a challenge for them.

Perhaps an automated estimate (if possible and not too crazy to implement) might prove useful both for coinmarketcap and the community as a whole. Apart from anything else an estimate on how many new people/nodes are coming on board would be kinda cool to check in on

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The safecoin whitepaper says that “Approximately 4.3 billion coins will be produced during the life of the network.”

Nick says “it’s so anonymous that not only do we not know who our users are, we’ll only be able to estimate how many we have. And we’ll probably need to do that by trying to estimate how many [Safecoins] have been generated

How can we reconcile these two statements?

How does the network know when it’s done creating safecoins? What’s to prevent it from generating 8.6 billion coins?

There are only 4.3 billion Safecoin addresses. Thats in the code.

What is not known is how many safecoins have been generated, or who holds them. But you can estimate how many safecoins are in existence by taking a safecoin address that you hold, and then pinging up until you find the next occupied safecoin address. Because safecoins will be generated randomly across the address space, that “distance” between a safecoin address that is occupied and the next occupied safecoin address will allow you to estimate generally the amount of safecoins in existence.

But if and when all 4.3 billion safecoin addresses are filled, then the network will no longer be able to generate any more safecoins, until some more PUT requests are made.


So if I understand you, it will happen like this.

Every safecoin has a unique address. A safecoin address is an unsigned long integer which means it’s unique address must be between 0 and 4294967295. There’s where we get the 4.3 billion.

The network attempts to generate a new safecoin, and randomly picks a number between 0 and 4294967295 for it’s address. Presumably it then checks if that address has already been used. If it has not been used, the new owner is given the coin. If it has been used, the potential new owner loses the lottery, and gets no coin.

So we’ll get to a point when there are no more safecoin addresses left. The network, presumably, will keep trying to give people safecoin, but every time it picks a random number, it will find that it’s already been used.

So, the network will try forever, to give people safecoin, but at some point, it will always fail, because all addresses are already spoken for. At least, that’s what would happen if nobody ever spent safecoin, but of course they will. They will spend them to store data on the network. When safecoins are spent, they are recycled by the network and become available again to be awarded to another farmer if their address is selected as stated above. Thus there will always be available safecoin to farm, as safecoin are always being spent to store new data.

If I wanted to map out how many safecoins had been awarded, I could do it by pinging all 4294967295 addresses. However, even if the network responded to each ping in 20msec, that would only be 50 pings per second, which means it would take me 2.72 years to ask about every address. That means we need to select some small subset, such as 1,000,000 addresses, and use that as a statistical sampling. That could be done in 5.6 hours.

That makes sense. I just needed to think it through. Thanks for your response.


Yes, though it is more complicated by the fact that PUT requests recycle the address of the safecoin which has been used, but with a decent sample size, a reasonably accurate estimate can be had.

Actually, PUT requests are not when coins are recycled, not exactly.

The safecoins are recycled when people use them to purchase resources (storage cap, from which PUT requests are deducted) from the network.

Perhaps there will be other resources which will be able to be purchased from the network in the future (like computation cycles for supercomputing, etc.) but to start it’s just storage.

But that means there will ALWAYS be safecoin to farm. It’ll just keep getting harder with time. Also, once smaller units of safecoin is enabled on the network, those smaller units will be available as smaller, if more frequent farm rewards.

It’s actually a nice cycling which should reflect a good increase in sc value.

I believe safecoin will require more than 4.3 billion addresses as when safecoins are split into lower denominations they are assigned new addresses. That’s my understanding anyway. I think once the new vault language is cemented in and the guys have pulled together the networks components David will turn his attention to the safecoin implementation and we will have more definite answers to these very valid questions.


Usually if I want more storage, my coins go to those that provide this storage, right ? i didin’t understand when exactely existing safecoins will be recycled. (Does recycling mean: the coins’ address/pointer is deleted so they can be farmed again? )

Does that mean, that the maximum value of Safecoin is immediately linked to the value of the storage available to buy in the network ? If there is 100 TB of storage available, all you can do with your safecoin is buy a portion of this storage (in the beginning)

Isn’t it possible to use Safecoin as a means of payment in the SAFENetwork ? Like an Amazon Clone accepting SAFEcoins. ? Or sending coins from user A to user B without intermediary (P2P payment), like bitcoins ?

If you can use SAFEcoins to pay for goods and the only possibility to recycle coins is to buy storage, since value of storage cap is quite low compared to value of goods traded on the network, only very little safecoins will be recycled ?!

Please correct me whenever I am wrong. I just started digging into maidsafe and what I really like is the solution of having so many different passwords for every service on the net. And te secure autobackup of all my files.
Now having a global secure means of payment accepted by every user of the network would be a huge plus again.

You will be able to use safecoin to purchase other services not just storage. So you can purchase X amount of time on a VOIP service, for example.


No, the coins are destroyed on PUTs. The vault owners farm SafeCoin on GETs.

Definitely yes.

Eventually, yes, but I don’t believe the latter is a problem. The value of SafeCoin would be very high, so the farmers don’t need high nominal SafeCoin rewards to compensate their vault costs.

Could anybody answer any of the following questions:

  1. At what point in the production/issuance of Safecoin will the re-cycling mechanism “kick- in”. Ie is it only once all coins are issued?

  2. What’s the best guess/estimate timeframe for completion of total 4.3B coin issuance?

  3. What is the estimated percentage/volume/rate of re-cycling and will this be a diminishing or increasing amount - what graph line would it follow, or would it be a steady/fluctuating amount?

  4. Is the re-cycling just basically the same process as a fixed amount of cash circulating as a medium of trade in a Society - therefore every transaction post full issuance is “re-cycled”? Are my first 3 questions irrelevant?

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Recycling kicks in the moment the first Safecoin is spent on network resources. Every Safecoin is recycled the instant it is spent on network resources then it is reissued through farming.


I see, so the first 3 questions were irrelevant really. Thanks

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1 nano second to 1 billion years. The issuance of Safecoin is based on the farming rate. The more people put data on the network the more people will get data from the network the more farmers will be issued Safecoin. So, it all depends on network demand. The more demand on network resources the more Safecoins issued and vice versa the less demand on network resources the less Safecoins issued.

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None knows, since it will depend on the amount of farming and the parameters of the network SafeCoin issuance algorithm (most are currently not determined yet).

The percentage of re-cycled SafeCoin will probably on average diminish as SafeCoin is used more and more for other things than buying storage space from the network. Other than that it will fluctuate according to network activity. If there’s suddenly a large influx of new users that all start buying network space from the network, a lot more SafeCoins will suddenly be destroyed compared to before.

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True story :wink:

Yes, I was not quite grasping the concept but think I’ve got it now. cheers :smile:

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