Maidsafe CEO David Irvine has provoked controversy by successfully applying for a code patent to protect that innovations of his Safe Network project.
The Safe Network aims to build a new, decentralized internet infrastructure with no need for servers. Instead a peer to peer network will be employed, powered by its own cryptocurrency called Safecoins. Some users will then provide resources such as disk space to the network in return for Safe Coins, while others will purchase additional resources using the coins. To protect privacy and ensure maximum security all data is shredded and encrypted before being stored on the computers of multiple peers.
On Jauary 1st 2015 The US Patent & Trademark Office registered a patent application from Irvine covering the main innovations of Maidsafes Safe Network. In particular, it lays claim to intellectual ownership of the following:
A computer-implemented method of storing data of a first node on a peer-to-peer communications network in a protected form, the method comprising steps of: obfuscating the first node data by splitting the first node data into a plurality of data chunks; generating the protected form of the first node data by swapping data between the data chunks and encrypting the data chunks by applying an encryption algorithm; storing the protected form of the first node data on the peer-to-peer communications network; creating a public and private key pair from the first node data; and assigning a hash value for the public key as an identifier for the user of the node.
The application proved controversial in some quarters, provoking amongst other responses, a vitriolic article on Coin Telegraph accusing Irvine of going against the open source ideals of cryptocurrency to sign a pact with the governmental devil whose spying Maidsafe claims to be trying to protect us from.
Despite being still in a pre-launch test-net phase, however, the source code for the Safe Network is already published on GitHub and licensed under GPL3 – which restricts only commercial exploitation of the code.