Cointelegraph: How did you get involved with cryptography?
David Irvine: As an Engineer, I have always liked puzzles. Cryptography is the ultimate puzzle for me. MaidSafe required significant cryptographic algorithms and protections; this forced much more detailed analysis and thinking. In 2006-7 in particular, I had to throw myself into more detail and understand more about the various ciphers and their uses.
CT: What inspired you to start MaidSafe? Could you shed some light on this project?
DI: I thought the Internet had become a very unnatural design and could not bear to see people lose control of their identities and personal thoughts. I figured that with all the computing resource available in people’s personal computers that we could do a much better job with what we have. MaidSafe seemed like an obvious answer, rather than creating large server farms, use peoples own computers. Create a large network that all computers join and allow people to access this network and store their information there as well as communicate etc. The problems that required solving were pretty huge, as this type of design had never been attempted. There were some p2p networks and so forth but nothing that could create a large network driven by the people for the people. This had to be something controlled by math and not humans. Another great puzzle for us to work on and solve.
CT: As far as I understand, MaidSafe is to data as Bitcoin is to Money. Is this a fair analogy?
DI: Yes, I think it is. I see both systems as vast improvements to society. Removing the requirement for humans to do work and replacing this by math is very obvious. Math is correct and repeatable; and there are not many equations that become greedy and corrupt. The simplification of complex systems is a never-ending job and one we should all welcome. I find corruption, greed, ego and ownership of systems to be a very dangerous issue and one that does lead to death, starvation and mistreatment of people. To me we allow mass corruption and greed to continue on enormous scales and we have people getting rich while others die. I just think this is murder removed a few steps. If we do not see the death we cause then we can continue to steal and bend the rules selfishly. I feel very motivated to educate where I can and create better systems that take this ability to kill away from people.
CT: What type of impact do you think MaidSafe could have on the world?
DI: I think it will give everyone free access to the world’s data and data resources. This means education will flourish. The benefits of easier trade and communications between all the people of the world will allow us to move forward as a species in an inclusive manner. I used to talk about this while raising investment. When asked about returns, I would answer that Engineers can count and we are creating something that will disrupt trillions of dollars of business so financial returns should be simple. More importantly though is that if we give everyone free computing and somebody jumps from behind a bush in the developing world with a cure for cancer, let’s say, then what is the return? To me, this is what we can achieve with fair and inclusive systems.
CT: Cryptocurrencies have been receiving a lot of criticism for their vulnerability in regards to security i.e. theft of private keys, e-wallets, passwords etc. Could MaidSafe help improve the security of digital currency?
DI: Yes. Bicoin etc. are decentralized trade enablers, not data networks. As MaidSafe, now project SAFE is a data network it can provide protection of data and related services. This is it's purpose. Of course, we still have to consider broken Operating systems and OS's that are compromised by spyware etc. This is another part of the story and one I intend to tackle head on very soon.
Maidsafe provides user-friendly software and secures the sharing of digital resources.
About David Irvine
David’s main focus is on creating privacy security and freedom for all people. He enjoys programming (c++), physical computing, robotics and anything that he finds interesting and means making something that’s not been done. David currently lives in Troon, Scotland.