SAFE Network is a platform for storing data in an encrypted and decentralized way. Clients can be either "users" or "farmers". Farmers are responsible for storing, providing and manipulating data for users, and are rewarded with Safecoins for it.
To ensure privacy, data sent to the network is encrypted and divided into small pieces, which are sent to multiple "vaults" (farmer nodes). Therefore, a vast number of nodes are storing the same bit of data, ensuring it's never offline. Farmers mustShow more [+] rst go through a proof-of-resource to check for bandwidth and hardware to run a vault.
Unlike most cryptocurrencies, SAFE Network doesn't have a blockchain. They use "XOR Networking", which is a way of allocating a "digital physical location" to a vault. Each vault is "XOR located" and thus "XOR distant" from another. When data is uploaded to the Network, its split and distributed in a manner that they are kept by vaults close to each other. Close enough vaults always share much of the same copy of data pieces, and the probability of a data piece being stored by two vaults decrease as they distance. Vaults form groups and reach consensus among themselves. They also "group sign" actions that need to travel along the network (such as group forming, splitting or merging).
Nodes can become "elder vaults", able to vote (such for forming and splitting groups) and perform other special transactions. Elder vault status is reached as the node "ages" and by progressive proof-of-performance.