About that SafeNet Alpha announcement

Oh, how wrong I was in my previous post! It turns out MaidSafe folks have been investing their energy in getting ready to “get to the next level”: yesterday they announced the alpha version of SafeNet and got coverage on Techrunch. MaidSafe’s going places, folks!

So this is the great news of August… If you haven’t bought any MAID yet, now is your chance – before it takes off big time!

But first, some context:

… we announced the release of the alpha version of SafeNet and shared our vision for a distributed web. It’s a vision for the Internet that we’ve long held at MaidSafe; we believe its a necessary innovation to sustain a truly neutral, content-friendly network.

At that time we asked, what if more of the web worked the way that SafeNet does? Project Safe Network aims to answer that question with a web browser that powers a new way for web content to be published, accessed and consumed.

Since December, we have learned a lot. We also have established a growing community of testers, developers and publishers. More than 10,000 developers in fact, and an additional 3,500 publishers, looking to share our vision of how the Internet can work. These are technologists, academics and researchers. These are start-ups, agencies, and visionaries. And these are the people who will help us build the next 20 years of the Internet.

Cool, right? Yes, except that this comes from last year’s blog post for Project Maelstrom.

I confess, I cheated by changing the project name and company name to MaidSafe and SafeNet (from BitTorrent and Project Maelstrom), but I didn’t change the numbers of developers and publishers to make it easier to realize the quote isn’t genuine.

What does BitTotrrent’s Project Maelstrom have to do with SafeNet? Let’s see:

  • Web-over-BitTorrent
  • Decentralized, net neutrality and so on and so forth
  • Huge community awareness
  • Open Source

Project Maelstrom doesn’t have its crapcoin, but SafeNet alpha doesn’t either (and when/if it gets it, it won’t work). With all these great features and characteristics and thousands of developers, Project Maelstrom must be really popular, right? Not really. The project hasn’t had any blog updates in 2016. Elements of it are included in BitTorrent Pro (maybe – I haven’t bought it to know), but for all practical purposes Maelstrom is irrelevant.

Why would SafeNet be any different? It wouldn’t.

SafeNet Alpha

Now that the alpha is out, you might think it’s got distributed storage. It actually doesn’t. MaidSafe founder told Techrunch this:

“At the moment we are running a whole lot of vaults ourselves on DigitalOcean Droplets,” says Irvine. “But as we’re starting through alpha, the vault network at the moment wouldn’t be good enough for people to just run from a mobile phone or from a very bad Internet connection. It would have too negative an impact on the network.”

So just that you know, MaidSafe is currently your Squid proxy to DigitalOcean VMs. It’s true that you could access the same content faster without MaidSafe, but look at all the awesome features (net neutrality, privacy, security, etc.) you got. That must be worth something!

And you think user-provided vaults will be available soon, you’re wrong.

In other words, they can’t make a better Project Maelstrom until they get more money.

But why wouldn’t they enable user vaults now? Because unlike BitTorrent, their network is very complex (due to encryption and privacy features, data replication and of course Safecoin which they haven’t even begin to implement), so this isn’t nearly as simple as allowing people to seed downloaded torrents.

As always, MaidSafe’s Chief Optimist is dismissive of risks:

[says Irvine] “All we need to do is there’s a couple of things to polish off in the vaults, but there’s nothing left that’s technically a difficult challenge.”

This is what annoys me about Irvine. After years of making optimistic promises followed by outrageous delays, he hasn’t learned a thing and continues to shamelessly make outrageous claims.

It is possible, and indeed likely, that schedules slip. But as it happens, next time you learn and when you make your next prediction, you add some buffer to your worst case scenario. Or decline to do it altogether, to protect your credibility. Why on Earth would anyone trust their fund-raising presentations, schedules, and anything else?

Irvine answers this question in the next paragraph:

“Now we’ve proven this, all we need to do is commercialize it — and that part’s a lot easier than inventing the new Internet.”

There’s no need to trust them, it’s just been proven! All right then. And their next steps are…

MaidSafe says it expects a Safe browser to be released in the “next few weeks” — which will do away with that wrinkle.

Years ago they expected something to be released in the next few months. We’ll see.

“For now you can point your web browser at the launcher… and browse the Safe Network from your own browser. So you can browse people’s websites that they’ve created on the Safe Network… With the demo applications you would be able to, as a user, register a name… and create a website, create a blog site etc that people can then browse to.”

What we have here is an alpha version of Project Maelstrom, but with fake user-friendly domain names (.safenet is a made up (unregistered) TLD extension that can only be recognized when traffic is routed through SafeNet) and without the ability to browse the Web or intermingle SafeNet and clearweb content (technically it’s possible, but it ruins their privacy and security story).

I’m underwhelmed, but this is as good as it gets: it’s going to get worse if they ever get to a stage in which they enable user-side vaults and outright terrible if they attempt to introduce SafeCoin.

 

 

 

 

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