Update 16th March, 2023

This week, we’ll take a bit of a deeper look at the whys and wherefores of a potential payment network.

General Progress

@qi_ma and @davidrusu have been battling some nasty memory bugs in sn_consensus and their knock on effects which have been delaying the integration of some membership improvements. That work is looking good, and is almost in.

@roland has been continuing to improve tests alongside learning more about OpenSearch, so we can leverage that tool for upcoming test networks.

The new consensus algorithm integration has begun. This should speed and shore up network decision making.

@bochaco has been working on establishing patterns for node interaction from the user. For example, allowing remote procedure calls to be made to do fun things like provide network analytics, as well some more test-network specific functionality like causing byzantine faults (pausing a node), restarting nodes and more.

The Payment Network Approach

We thought it might be useful for us to probe a bit more into what we mean when we talk about a payments only Network, how it relates to the test network we talked about a few weeks ago, and why we are looking at the potential of a launch strategy that starts at payments, and then adds features as we go.

First off, when we are talking about a payments network, we are still talking about the very same Safe Network. It’s the same underpinnings: same nodes, same codebase, consensus and everything else. It’s just in this case, we are looking at that data network only utilising those mechanisms to support the transfer of payments, storage of data relating to those transactions, the management, transmission and security of data around them, and other data processes that support the user experience and utility of the transactions.

The utility token at the centre of this is the Safe Network Token (SNT). This is the engine oil of the Network itself, and is necessary to run the underlying economy of the Network whether or not the Network is dealing with specific payments data, or any and every data as the full Network will.

So this SNT system, and its shiny new protocol utilising Digital Bearer Certificates (DBCs), needs to be complete, robust, and most importantly understood, adopted, and integrated into the wider economy in order for the full data Network to be broadly accessible, resilient and as useful as possible.

There are real advantages in launching in an incremental, iterative way, and why a payment focused network is an excellent candidate, worthy of exploring. It allows us to forge some resilience to the network and its economy ahead of when it will be needed most, and it enables us to directly demonstrate the power and potential of what we have all invested so much of our time and energy into. It’s creating something genuinely useful and getting there faster than we might otherwise with minimal—if any—duplicate work.

Just as an example of the value that it could bring if done right…

We see real potential in this payment network bringing the advantages of DBC to not only the underlying utility token, SNT; but to allow having it handle multiple currencies on top which could be natively atomic swappable… including to the SNT that handles the data payment and node rewards. Then layer this with, say, a global Network wide NRS system for usernames and addresses… and well, you can see how exciting things could get from a UX perspective.

It’s worth noting that the challenges of developing and launching a project as complex as this is strongly chain-linked. Where it all must work, or nothing will work. So finding strategic solutions where groups of these links can be taken as discrete elements, finding advantage, and reducing risk over all, is worthy of deep and close consideration. So that is just what we are doing.

You’ll be pleased to know that we have no concerns from a legal or administrative point of view, and none from the various test networks and test tokens required either. So part one of the evaluation is complete!

The rest looks a bit like:

  1. Legal/Admin Assessment :white_check_mark:
  2. Technical Scoping
  3. Live Payment Testnet(s)
  4. Testing MAID Airdrop/Redemption
  5. Getting Ready for Go-Time!

We’ve said before, and don’t mind repeating, that the vision and objectives of the Safe Network and the project as a whole remain the same. But launching them is unlikely to be punching down on a big red button and putting our feet up. There are many moving parts, both technical and human, and external factors to consider too. So we can anticipate an incremental and iterative approach that steps towards that vision, in as sure-footed a manner as possible. And before you know it, we’ve reached the summit.

Under the Hood of Payments :oncoming_automobile:

The full Safe Network will rely on the payments for storing data as well as transacting. The payments however do not rely on the data types chunks and registers of the Safe Network. The payments are stored into their own, separate, data type.

So when we code the payments network, at a high level what we do is simply choose not to expose the APIs of chunks and registers. The payments APIs however are still exposed, and those are the APIs that we are currently focusing on developing. The focus allows us to complete that part faster, and since we can see a way to run the network with only payments, it also means that we can see a running network with a functioning feature, faster.

That’s feature in singular, counting payments as a single feature. It’s the essential feature without which the other features of chunks and registers cannot function in a real network, since they need to be paid for.

Now, the network relies on resource usage to drive rewards and growth, and the resource usage we measure is storage space. However, the network doesn’t care what type of data we fill that storage space with… Register, chunks, payments. It’s all data.

We have generally been talking of only chunks and registers as data, and considered payments something else, which is not entirely correct under the hood. And that’s perhaps why many have been wondering how the network can be secure “without data”. The answer is that it’s still running with data, but it’s the transaction data only. :money_with_wings: :computer:

So, when we have a payment network, it’s the same network, same code that stores data, expands when more space (nodes) are needed, same membership with Elders and Adults.
It’s just that it only has the bare essentials exposed to make payments. So we can focus on that aspect first… with the aim to expand into the full chunk and register storage and payment thereafter.

Useful Links

Feel free to reply below with links to translations of this dev update and moderators will add them here:

:russia: Russian ; :germany: German ; :spain: Spanish ; :france: French; :bulgaria: Bulgarian

As an open source project, we’re always looking for feedback, comments and community contributions - so don’t be shy, join in and let’s create the Safe Network together!


First hehehehehe

I love the approach and support it 100%


Second the best :joy:

Can’t wait to see how the payment only network compares to others :clap:t2::clap:t2::clap:t2:


Fast! i didn’t even have time to pin it before you were in there :smiley:


When dod you manage to reply? I was just refreshing


Fifth is best now to read


Thanks so much to the entire Maidsafe team for all of your hard work! :horse_racing:


So if we want to plan a launch get together July? or August :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


So free transactions? How are the nodes rewarded, or are they?


Nice update Team!

Excellent! This wraps up most of the concerns put forward this past week I think.

Yep. But for clarification. Transactions on the network “were” going to be free and users were only going to pay for data - so this can be confusing. Not sure, at least for the payment-only network until the full network, if this means users will pay for the transaction data and then with advent of full network, this payment will go away … or if the nodes will simply be paid out of the network’s long-term slow-release token chest.

It might be useful to come up with some shorthand names for each of the future network pieces that are to be added in over time. As it is now we have Fleming and Maxwell. Perhaps something more specific to each piece could be helpful in explaining and so also in building excitement around launch of each. The ethereum community has names for each new feature they launch and it helps with their marketing and in general helps people (who aren’t keeping super close track of the project) quickly remember what’s coming up by using shorthand names for things.

All up a really nice switch up of my expectations going forward. It’s been so long since anything solid manifested in the roadmap and this looks to be a really solid plan moving forward which is SUPER EXCITING !!!

Thanks to all the team for this update and their continued efforts!

So I had a few goes with stable diffusion using “crypto payment network gold” as my keywords … this one was the best I got:

Cheers all! Off to bed.


Thanks team MaidSafe for a storming update and of course the work going on to bring this to the world. :pray:t3:

When we first began discussing the possibility DBCs could be used for multiple token/currency support, it was apparent that this could get very interesting very quickly.

Atomic swaps and the ability for anyone to issue a token could be game changing. I’m guessing that someone could then create an app to operate as an order book, holding arbitrary swap offers on the network, which are then matched by the app and automatically submitted to the network for execution (re-issued to the new owners).

Add the ability to wrap a crypto asset in a DBC locked by the network and you can trade any off network digital asset (cryptocurrency, NFT etc) natively on the network without intermediaries, so fully decentralised swap of arbitrary digital assets: bitcoin for SNT, SNT for ETH, Bitcoin for Doge and so on in any combination.

Oh, and throw Safe DNS Names in as well, in fact ownership of any data stored on Safe could be traded using such an app as long as the network supports swapping of those types, and for off network assets, wrapping of those asset types.

EDIT: Actually this is even bigger than it sounds :thinking: yes amazing but read on…

Safe Network will do this at scale, lightening fast, with no transaction fees and with minimal energy use because it doesn’t use Blockchain. Thank you DBCs and nodes running on legacy hardware!

This means off Network assets can migrate to Safe Network (by being wrapped in DBCs making their Blockchain existence redundant).

Bitcoin could become effectively a Safe Network asset, because why would you ever need to move it on the Blockchain once it is on Safe and anyone can exchange it cheaper and more efficiently on Safe?

Services currently using blockchain currencies and tokens will migrate or die. :partying_face:

Wake me up, I’m dreaming!


When I see the more technical members of the forum get excited it makes me more excited thanks @happybeing :partying_face: will the transactions on the payment network still be anonymous?


Sounds tantalising! Great work and thanks to all the team, as ever. Keep murdering bugs and sledge-hammering out the wrinkles, it’ll get there.

I wonder now that some of the legal and admin stuff got a greenlight, if we’ll be hearing about the Bamboo Garden Fund again soon :slight_smile: that’s another juggernaut waiting to take off.

Perhaps best waiting for a bit more clarity and certainty regarding the actual form of this hypothetical payment network first… nonetheless, it’s not hard to imagine people popping up with really interesting ideas to try out on top of this thing if all goes well (as @happybeing alludes to above).


hey I want ask, you need payment network on, to have full functional network? I mean of course but data network is now working yes or no (because you focus on payment network…)? I know its not too much separable, but get my points I guess.

and about coin swaps, I am not understand benefits vs actual normal coin swaps services, its more about anonynimity and less fees? thx


Great update, and helpful clarification of the nature of the payment network.

Regarding transaction fees on a payments only network, if they were free / too cheap, what utility would there be for SNT in that context?

Might it be possible to have higher transaction fees (though still very low vs blockchains) for payments while the network is ‘payments only’, and then reduce them if required once there’s huge utility for SNT when it’s used to store general data?

Also, within the payments data type, I wonder if there could be sufficient capacity on each transaction to be ‘abused’ a la ordinals on the Bitcoin Blockchain? This would allow some data for JPGs / NFTs etc, and this space could be paid for in SNT?

If this can be achieved safely and securely it’d be amazing & Safe could host the ultimate DEXs and be the ultimate L2 for Bitcoin / Ethereum / other blockchains.

Has anyone fleshed out how locking up blockchain based assets with corresponding DBC issuance on SAFE in a way that is auditable and secure could be done? Could be a great project, and worth investing in, e.g. with the Bamboo Garden fund as JayBird has mentioned.

Overall, very excited about this way of progressing. I hope this payments network will be transformational by enabling hugely flexible, scalable, secure, private, cheap, and decentralised digital currencies & trading infrastructure… and then add storage of any data and by golly that will be an immensely powerful network!

Keep up the amazing work :smiley:


Yes, I can can’t contain my excitement! A great update, congratulations team.


GPT4 Summary:
The team has been making progress on various aspects of the Safe Network, including fixing memory bugs, improving tests, integrating a new consensus algorithm, and establishing patterns for node interaction.

The Payment Network Approach consists of launching a payments-only network, while maintaining the same underlying code and infrastructure as the full Safe Network. By focusing on the Safe Network Token (SNT) and Digital Bearer Certificates (DBCs) first, the team aims to build a resilient network that can be integrated into the wider economy more quickly.

This incremental approach offers several advantages, such as reducing risk and demonstrating the potential of the network more rapidly. The payment network can potentially support multiple currencies, atomic swaps, and a global NRS system for usernames and addresses, making it an exciting and useful project in its own right.

The development process involves several stages, including legal/admin assessment, technical scoping, live payment testnets, testing MAID airdrop/redemption, and finally, getting ready for launch. The Safe Network project’s vision and objectives remain the same, but the team anticipates an incremental and iterative approach to reach the summit.

Payments are stored in a separate data type and do not rely on the data types chunks and registers of the Safe Network. By focusing on the payments APIs and not exposing the APIs of chunks and registers, the team can develop the payment network faster. The payment network will function with transaction data only, but it will still expand and operate using the same membership with Elders and Adults as the full Safe Network.


Me too, i think this is a very good and smart approach. Cheers to you ingenious masterminds!


I’d say that’s a good question, though I just kind of assumed that there would be farming rewards for storing and providing transaction data. I think I saw reward flows being worked on recently on GitHub.

Looking forward to the details that will surely follow over the coming weeks. Exciting stuff!