The Safe Network is an ambitious and exciting project to decentralize the internet and transform the way we store and access data.

It has been a long time in the making, with over ten years of development already completed, meaning that the original idea is older than Bitcoin. Back in 2014 Maidsafe ran one of the first big successful ICO crowdsales, raising $6.4 million USD to kick development up to the next level. I have been following them ever since and count myself as a big believer in the project’s potential.

The network is still in an early alpha release phase, and at times it has seemed like progress has been slow and difficult to see. But finally this week we saw a big announcement taking the network a lot closer to release: a new consensus mechanism for safe coin which seems to genuinely improve on everything else available at the moment.

The Safe Network is primarily an ‘autonomous data network’ for storing, sharing, publishing and streaming everything from music files and movies to complete websites without the need for central servers and with much stronger privacy and security than currently used systems. But its internal cryptocurrency safe coin is also an important part of the project, and with this latest announcement it is looking like it could give many of the top crypto’s a run for their money.

Consensus protocols are the way that cryptocurrency allow everyone to agree on who has what and whether a person making a payment has the right to spend those coins, without needing a central authority to keep track of everything and authorize payments. This is what makes them so revolutionary. But the often also add problems: slow speeds, low limits on how many transactions can be processed, and huge amounts of wasted electricity spent on mining to name a few.

PARSEC is described by MaidSafe as:

The world’s first (as far as we’re aware!) completely decentralised, open source, highly asynchronous, Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus mechanism.

What this means is that it is able to create network consensus without the need for mining, staking on coins by wealthy participants, or the use of nodes authorized by a central authority. It also manages this without using a blockchain, which you could argue makes it a truly ‘next generation’ cryptocurrency.

Here are some of the advantages:

  • No mining consuming large amounts of electricity and other resources
  • No proof of stake rewarded the richest participants the most
  • It is able to reach 100% certainty of consensus immediately, whereas PoW and PoS take time to reach an acceptable level of certainty and never really reach 100% (although they do get close enough for practical purposes).
  • It is highly asynchronous and requires no trusted set up procedures.
  • No permissioned nodes – everyone can participate at the same level with no central authority
  • High capacity

On top of all that Safe Coin will have strong privacy protections compared to things like Bitcoin, and zero transaction fees for making payments.

Since this is a highly technical subject I can’t really do it justice in this article, but if you are interested in learning more about PARSEC here are some links:

Whitepaper

Blog Post

Forum Thread