Distributed Platform Overview
MaidSafe consists of two key parts: the network and the client applications. The network is under active development and aims to be released by the end of 2014 (but for the time being is available for compilation from source via github.com). Example applications will be made available throughout this time to teach developers how to use the SAFE API and to enable them to build their own applications.
The SAFE (Secure Access for Everyone) network can be best described as a fully distributed data management service. This network manages static and dynamic data as well as communications. Importantly the data held is either :
- Encrypted by clients
- Cryptographically signed by clients
In either case the network cannot decrypt any of the data on the network. This can be thought of as a decentralized server that performs the tasks of today's httpd, ssh, scp, ftp, smtp, pop3, imap etc. servers.
The SAFE network is made up of unused hard drive space, CPU and communications capabilities of commodity computers. These computers are likely owned by the very users of the system, but need not be limited to that. Each computer will effectively mine for credits which can be traded for many other goods and services. These credits are called safecoin.
SAFE network client applications access this network via some innovative steps including:
- Self encrypting data
- Access and create cryptographically secured id's on a decentralized PKI
- Self authentication (click here to download the white paper).
Client applications can access, store, mutate and communicate on the network. The clients allow people to anonymously join the network and cannot prevent people joining. Data is presented to clients as virtual drives mounted on their machines, application data, internal to applications, communication data as well as dynamic data that is manipulated via client applications depending on the programming methods employed.
Examples of client apps are; cloud storage, encrypted messaging, web sites, crypto wallets, document processing of any data provided by any program, distributed databases, research sharing of documents, research and ideas with IPR protection if required, document signing, contract signing, decentralized co-operative groups or companies, trading mechanisms and many others. The clients can access every Internet service known today and introduce many services currently not possible with a centralised architecture.
These clients, when accessing the network, will ensure that users never type another password to access any further services. The client contains many cryptographically secured key pairs and can use these automatically sign requests for session management or membership of any network service. Therefore, a website with membership can present a join button and merely clicking that would sign an authority and allow access in the future. Digital voting, aggregated news, knowledge transfer of even very secret information is now all possible, and this is just the beginning!