I am constantly asked what MaidSafe is and I struggle to explain it and others struggle more to understand, if they can be bothered to listen. Understandably many people will not watch a 12 minute video or read hundreds of pages of technical information to ‘get it’.
Many people pigeon-hole this technology in the age-old tradition of trying to quickly understand it, so we get comparisons to Freenet, Tahoe, Skype, Tor, Wuala …. the list is endless, basically anything with data or distributed in the title is presented as ‘the same’. I see now readers will sense a frustration here.
I get frustrated, not because I think people are stupid, but because I think I am stupid. As Richard Feynman agreed, if you cannot explain something in short simple way, then it means you do not understand it enough yourself. I believe this is the case here.
I have been excited about bitcoin for a long time now and this excitement is not limited to what it can do for us all, that’s another story altogether. The excitement is more to do with what it is. Bitcoin is a distributed, decentralised system and that decentralisation is the key to its success.
The bitcoin community is educating itself and others at pace now. This exchange of ideas, comments suggestions and debates are all expanding peoples minds in bitcoin. All of these issues show the sheer strength of bitcoin (the network) and what it can achieve. Bitcoin’s future is immense and will continue to be further understood by later portions of society. This is great news.
If bitcoin is to be explained to a person using only the technical aspects then it would fail. Cryptography is not well enough known to be used as a way of educating people what bitcoin is. Alternatively explaining bitcoin by saying, it’s just money or currency will also fail, bitcoin is not that and it’s like comparing a tyre with a car.
What has helped is the early adopters feverish optimism and innovation. This has created bitcoin services, products, markets and opportunities. Now people all understand this. So bitcoin flourishes and grows, great!
Nowadays, people would not consider bitcoin being another version of dollars, Rmb, pounds, tulips or linden dollars etc. We all know it’s something completely different as it is a network run by maths, logic and has no possibility for human intervention. This is now starting to be understood as a good thing.
MaidSafe pre-dates bitcoin by at least three years, but has the exact same approach, but for data and communications infrastructure. This is why MaidSafe cannot be explained easily, this link has never existed previously and now with bitcoin’s popularity growing we can begin to make this comparison and distinction. So MaidSafe is not a ‘me too’ technology and in fact takes decentralisation slightly further as it has no blockchain component. This is just a small difference though, as far as people are concerned
MaidSafe is bitcoin for data
and that’s the easiest explanation I can think of.