MaidSafe, the UK-based company attempting to create a crowd-sourced internet, has detailed the main stages that will be involved in its process leading up to the release of the peer-to-peer network. Using hard drive space that users set aside for it, the SAFE (Secure Access For Everyone) network will fill up with data over time, removing the need for servers and granting the un-hackable and un-censorable advantages of a decentralised system, with failsafes built in to avoid data loss. Downloading the MaidSafe software will give access to messaging, apps, e-mail etc. whilst allowing users to earn the systems currency – safecoin – as a reward for allocating storage space.
In the Alpha stage of development, the core network and fundamental functionality is provided via an initial implementation in the first public testing phase. This phase will last an indeterminate amount of time as new features are tested and the performance of the network will decide when it progresses. There are stated to be several alpha releases planned, each improving on the last. Alpha 1 will come with public ID management, public and private data storage, vault configuration and desktop installers (64 bit Windows, Mac and Linux).
Following the alpha release, the beta version will be where alpha implementations are reiterated and improved, based on user feedback. The release candidate version is next, where the fundamental feature set is stabilised to provide greater security, resilience and efficiency before finally, the full version is released.
Core features to be expected in alpha phase have been stated as:
- Contact management
- Test safecoin
- Vaults running on ARM architectures
- Launcher UI
- Safecoin wallet
These are the areas that the beta stage will focus on refining before the release. In addition to these processes, MaidSafe has told users to expect the ongoing release of APIs that reflect access an increasing network functionality, as well as example applications that showcase features of the network to end users and also act as tutorials to developers.
After the release, Maidsafe intend to continue to provide additional functionality, both with and without the assistance of other developers. Some features that have been mentioned so far are tools allowing paying of the producer, smart contracts, autonomous updates and computation handling, although many more could follow.