The development team at MaidSafe, a protocol to decentralize the Internet, is turning to the community in search of an official design for the network’s “engine oil,” Safecoin.

The winner, whose design will be picked by company employees and members in the MaidSafe forums, will win 5,000 Safecoins and a cash award of US$700. Designers are to enter their submissions for the cryptocoin’s logo on the site 99 Designs.

The basic groundwork for MaidSafe actually began in 2002, long before the first blockchain-based currency Bitcoin was released. MaidSafe’s concept creator, David Irvine, was seeking a way to run the Internet without the hassle and risk of servers. The project’s name is actually an acronym, standing for “Massive Array of Internet Disks with Secure Access For Everyone.”

Fast forward a decade and cryptocurrencies come into use. MaidSafe’s later developers realize that a native token would be the perfect tool to incentivize users around the world to loan out their computers’ storage space and processing power to run the network. Safecoins were born out of this idea.

Unique among other cryptocoins, Safecoins are not blockchain-based but are rather embedded into the SAFE network’s own transaction manager. MaidSafe’s contest press release explains:

“The transaction manager enables millions of transactions per second with confirmations occurring at network speed (in seconds). On SAFE, the transactions are not chained, only retaining the existing and previous owner, and therefore providing each user with complete anonymity.”

Safecoins can of course be purchased (as USD$8 million’s worth were during the crowdfund), but they first and foremost serve to maintain the network as rewards for “farmers” and “builders.” Farmers are like Bitcoin’s miners, but instead of solving math problems to generate blocks, MaidSafe’s farmers will be those lending out their computers’ power and space.

Builders will be those who contribute code or fix bugs on the network. Builders submitting complete applications will be rewarded every time another user deploys their app.

(The contest winner’s receipt of 5,000 Safecoins is no small feat, either, as the coins sold out completely within the first five hours of the April crowdfunding campaign.)

What kind of apps are expected to be available? Nick Lambert, Chief Operating Officer at MaidSafe, says:

“The SAFE network can provide every type of web service that exists on today’s centralized Internet. Video streaming, encrypted messaging, VOIP, storage and collaboration, exchanges, etc.”

The contest is live now. Designers are advised to create an account at MaidSafe's 99 Designs page to submit their entry. If you’re still unsure how the SAFE network functions, check out this promo video:

Did you enjoy this article? You may also be interested in reading these ones: