What happens when an autonomous data network meets an autonomous trade mechanism?

BC_Logotype A breakthrough in decentralised trade. Bitcoin is changing the financial landscape and is very likely to do so at a speed we will not understand. Humans find exponential growth difficult, or perhaps impossible, to comprehend.

In the West or developed world we still talk regulation, stability and many more nefarious issues and unrelated complexities that bitcoin will thankfully never recognise.  Bitcoin does all this using cryptographically secure algorithms. These algorithms make sure that transactions are guaranteed and irrefutable.  In this respect bitcoin does it’s job and does it exceptionally well.


On the other hand MaidSafe is a fully decentralised autonomous data network. As with Bitcoin, MaidSafe uses cryptography to secure data and data based transactions, including communications.

Where is the synergy what does it all mean?

Both of these networks provide very valuable services. Bitcoin has already seen many projects sprouting from its tremendous start. I think these projects are terrific, but some are dangerous. I say dangerous as these projects attempt to use bitcoin’s transaction log technology as a panacea for all decentralisation. This in my opinion is very dangerous and incorrect.

The transaction log is data, peoples wallets are data, bitcoin is not a data network. It’s a network to facilitate trade. This includes money based transactions, contracts and other financial instruments, hopefully not to many or to complex, we all know where that leads.

The bitcoin network is fuelled by transactions and manages these transactions, this network has transactions at its core and the network is programmed to manage these transactions. I think of it as the network is designed to facilitate transactions and requires transactions to survive.

The MaidSafe network is a data network and manages data. It is fuelled by data and requires data to survive. It is designed to facilitate the secure manipulation of data, not the transfer of money. MaidSafe could be extended to do this, but why, bitcoin is already here. There should never be a need to re-invent a wheel and this is a classic example.

It should be obvious to the reader now, these systems are indeed unique, different and at the same time full of synergy. Wolves are not deer but in a world full of decentralised autonomous systems they are part of a larger system and live together. We call this system nature and bitcoin and MaidSafe form a part of this amazing conglomeration of complex and advanced system.

How exactly can they live together?

Entry into the bitcoin network requires, proof of work (i..e. mining) or transfer of fiat currency into bitcoin via an on-line exchange or direct cash transfer, in person or through ATM’s etc.

MaidSafe uses a different model for successful participation. This is the provision of physical resources. These resources are disk space, cpu and bandwidth. This is done in a way that means MaidSafe uses what users are not using (free space etc.).

Not everyone will mine bitcoin, so they buy them. Not everyone will be have on-line available disk space so they may wish to buy some. This is a terrific starting point, if people sell their unused space via bitcoin, it means information leakage is minimised, this is a good thing in a secure and privacy enhancing network.

Staying with that thought for a moment,  why should bitcoin only reduce the data leakage, why not completely eliminate data leakage?

As I said earlier, bitcoin has data, the blockchain and wallets. The bitcoin network is not a data network, it does not distribute and secure data! MaidSafe does though!

Securing wallets is “bread and butter” for MaidSafe and simple enough to understand. The blockchain on the other hand is another matter. Here are some initial brainstorming ideas:

  • Store the transaction log as a file on the network
  • Store each transaction separately
  • Store each bitcoin as a unique address
  • Store each mBTC as a unique address
  • store wallet addresses and allocate BTC to these

There is a multitude of ways to distribute the blockchain and some would offer complete privacy of transaction, whilst maintaining the integrity of the bitcoin themselves. This is a discussion for the bitcoin core developers and there are some projects looking at even more ways to achieve this. I mention it for completeness, it’s not a requirement in any way for these technologies to work together. 


Now it gets really interesting. In the bitcoin community there are already decentralised companies and communities being considered, these are called DACs.  Imagine for a second, if these communities could share data and communicate with a level of assured privacy, just as bitcoin assures transactions.

Imagine WikiLeaks and organisations similar to that being able to host their services and also receive donations securely and safely.

More importantly than this, we could be facing a time where innovators and entrepreneurs across the globe can start a business and compete on a level playing field. This means no infrastructure costs either in terms of payment ability or data infrastructure costs. A single person company in the middle of Africa could complete with any Silicon Valley start-up in almost any field. Incumbent operators who ignored this technology pairing could find themselves with serious competition at lightening speed.

The globalisation that has been discussed for many years may eventually be coming to fruition and bring with it a levelling of the whole worlds economies. I think that would be an amazing effect of these networks and their future iterations. 

By amortising innovation across the globe we will not only empower many more people, but we will increase the speed of innovation in all areas. The days of a countries children dying of simple medication and lack of water whilst others worry about how many televisions per room they have, will come to a swift end. As we remove these injustices we will all live in a more peaceful, secure and progressive world. I for one look forward to that a lot.

Enthusiastic human :-)

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Posted in bitcoin, MaidSafe
3 comments on “What happens when an autonomous data network meets an autonomous trade mechanism?
  1. thewebalyst says:

    Hi David,

    I’m loving your posts here having started on the MaidSafe blog – only heard about MaidSafe today in a comment on a post I made about bitcoin spelling the end of centralized services, middlemen, banking etc. What I’m loving is not just the tech and your understanding of natural systems (I was doing stuff with genetic algorithms in the late eighties), but also your philosophy. I get everything, pretty much, you say and feel a real empathy with you on all counts.

    I am though curious how you leap to your utopian endgame in the concluding paragraph above, so if you have a mind to write more on that I’d live to read it – sharing your ideal, but not as yet your optimism!

    I’m very interested in MaidSafe, back to reading up about it…



    PS also a boat man, but inland in my case :-). Just moved to live aboard.

    • David Irvine says:

      Thanks very much, I appreciate they are of some use to some folks. It’s good to know. My last para was really the notion that removing all infrastructure costs leads to less investment required. This means that more companies will be able to start around the world. I also hope this technology shares much more data with people than now and will allow kids in the OLPC and similar projects to innovate and almost no cost.

      I hope to make a post every week or so, I hope my writing improves though 🙂

      Boats of any kind are great and I miss the tranquillity. When I am a bit further down the line with MaidSafe and can get a break I will be out on the water as fast as I can.

  2. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr…

    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!

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