Thursday, 16 August 2018

Decentralised Exchanges

For those of you, who have been following the MaidSafe story you will know that the last 18 months to two years have been incredibly busy as we build out the platform.
We have been working hard to develop key functionality, such as our new consensus mechanism, PARSEC (Protocol for Asynchronous, Reliable, Secure and Efficient Consensus). While there are further significant technology developments imminent we are also fully aware there are a number of SAFE Network community members and crypto-traders, who want to understand the long-term strategy for our crypto-currency.

Safecoin remains a key element of the overall strategy for the SAFE Network (check out this short video to find out more), but we are also aware of the need to maintain the liquidity of our existing Omni asset, MaidSafeCoin (MAID). Currently, MAID is listed on the Hong Kong Based HitBTC, the US based Poloniex and the New Zealand based Cryptopia. We continue to examine opportunities to list MAID on other centralised exchanges to provide holders with as many options as possible, but like many in this space we have become increasingly concerned about the control that centralised exchanges can exert over their users, and their vulnerability to cyber attacks. Cyber security company Cipher Trace has reported that around $750million has been stolen in 2018 alone. Furthermore, we are very aware that using such exchanges is not in line with our overall mission to remove intermediaries from the management of our data, be that files or financial transactions.

Trustless and truly decentralised

Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise if we tell you we are now examining opportunities to work with decentralised exchanges. We believe the ethos of these platforms embodies what is driving us to create the SAFE Network.

Our mission is to build a trust-less and truly decentralised system for data and communications that removes all intermediaries from the management of our data. How financial transactions operate within the SAFE Network should clearly fit with this vision, because we regard financial transactions as a form of private speech that should be protected from surveillance by banks, governments, and other institutions.

This does not mean we are moving away from using centralised exchanges, because many users are happy with the convenience and support that these platforms offer. They are also a gateway for more inexperienced users looking for supported and easier to use tools. However, the weakness of the centralised system, especially having your data controlled by a third party, is a concern for MaidSafe, because we believe users should have ultimate control of their information.

Decentralised exchanges have been around for some time and the options continue to grow in terms of available solutions. We have chosen to provide some liquidity via initially and will examine other options in due course. In general, decentralised exchanges ensure users look after their own private keys, putting them firmly in control of their wallets, accounts and all their trades. These exchanges enable anonymous and secure peer-to-peer trading, where the exchange is a protocol, not an institution, where users must trust only in the open source code, not in the behaviour and actions of a company or their employees. ticks a lot of the boxes as it does not require registration or approval from a central authority and is both private and secure, so only users involved directly in a trade exchange personally identifiable information.

Encouraging Signs

At this stage we do not expect significant volumes to be traded, but we are encouraged by the growing number of enthusiasts and crypto-traders, who are looking at decentralised exchanges. Yes, there are aspects which need to be addressed, such as lack of liquidity and general user-friendliness. However, the speed with which cryptocurrencies have gone from niche to mainstream players suggests decentralised exchanges could fast become a credible alternative for users. As more users explore these platforms and more investment is made in the technology it will also help to raise their profile, educate potential users of their benefits, which in turn will help to increase the liquidity of these exchanges.

While we proceed with caution today we do believe such decentralised exchanges will have a significant role to play in the future of decentralised networks such as the SAFE Network. If we are to overcome the security vulnerabilities of centralised exchanges and fulfil the promise to users of greater privacy and freedom, then surely decentralised exchanges must be a consideration for the future.

By Maidsafe
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