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The SAFE Network from First Principles

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Eiko Yoneki.

The SAFE network is an upcoming fully peer-to-peer platform that combines a peer-to-peer system, modern cryptography, and a crypto-currency to create an autonomous and self-managing network to securely store data in a way that will empower users by preserving their privacy. In “The SAFE Network from First Principles” series of lectures, the core ideas and algorithms of the system are progressively introduced in a way that should be accessible to a general public without a Computer Science background. This presentation focuses on efficiency and scalability issues behind the system and introduces the notions of Identifier Space, Closeness, XOR -Distance, K-Buckets (as pioneered by Kademlia), and it ends with a comparison between the BitTorrent Distributed Hash Table and the SAFE Routing layer to show how the same ideas can be used for achieving different purposes in peer-to-peer systems.

The SAFE network is built by MaidSafe, a Scottish start-up based in Troon that spent the last 8 years going through multiple iterations of the plateform to find a financially sustainable way of building it as a business without compromising the vision of releasing it as a common good. They raised several millions of dollars in Bitcoins in April 2014 to fund the last stretch of development before the first beta release, through a community pre-sale of their internal crypto-currency that will be used to buy services from the network once it goes live.

Bio: Erick Lavoie ( is a PhD student from McGill University. His PhD project consists in building a peer-to-peer computing infrastructure using web technologies for numerical computing that scientists using numerical languages, such as MATLAB , can transparently leverage. His is an active community member of the MaidSafe forums and has been touring Europe since January 20th in order to extract, validate, and improve the core academic contributions behind the SAFE network design, have them critically reviewed by the leading members of the research community, and adapt them to his own project.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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