Why is the Hard Drive for Blockchain and the Internet known as IPFS?

Vinyl-Davyl
5 min readOct 26, 2023

A decentralized protocol that enables secure and efficient peer-to-peer storage and transfer of files on the internet, using blockchain technology

Introduction

In the world of blockchain, data storage has always been a challenge. Traditional centralized systems often face several limitations related to security, privacy, scalability, and censorship. To address these concerns, a decentralized storage protocol called the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) was introduced.

IPFS is a peer-to-peer distributed file system that enables secure, efficient, and reliable storage and retrieval of files on the internet. It aims to create a permanent and decentralized web by allowing users to store and share large amounts of data without relying on centralized servers.

In this article, we will provide an overview of IPFS, including its architecture and how it works with blockchain technology. So, let’s dive right in!

What is IPFS?

The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a protocol that enables users to store and access files in a decentralized manner. Juan Benet developed it in 2014 as an open-source project with the goal of creating a distributed version of the web where data is not controlled by centralized authorities. IPFS is similar to BitTorrent, but instead of sharing files, it shares content-addressed blocks.

IPFS utilizes a content-addressed system that assigns a unique hash to each file or object based on its content. This makes data immutable and tamper-proof, and the hash serves as a universal identifier that allows files to be accessed from anywhere in the network. The beauty of this approach is that it eliminates the need for centralized storage and management, making it a fascinating and innovative technology. Now, let’s take a closer look at its architecture.

Architecture of IPFS

The IPFS network is structured as a distributed, peer-to-peer network of nodes, where each node acts as both a client and a server. Each node stores parts of the file system, and every file is broken down into smaller chunks called content-addressed blocks. These blocks are then distributed across the network and stored on different nodes.

When a user wants to retrieve a file, they send a request to the IPFS network, which locates the relevant blocks and returns them to the user. The user’s node then assembles the blocks into the original file.

One of the unique features of IPFS is that it allows users to access files even when the original source is no longer available. This is achieved through content-addressing, which assigns a unique hash to each file based on its contents. This hash can be used to retrieve the file from any node in the network, even if the original copy is no longer available.

The following diagram illustrates an example of data sharing on IPFS by an individual or owner. This illustration highlights the ease and convenience of using IPFS for data sharing, as well as the benefits of decentralization in securing and managing data.

Overall, IPFS is a remarkable technology that provides a decentralized approach to storing and sharing data. Its content-addressing system and distributed architecture ensure data immutability, tamper-proofing, and reliable accessibility.

The illustration demonstrates an example of how an individual or owner can share data using IPFS. The owner first uploads the data to IPFS, which generates a unique content-addressed hash based on the file’s content. This hash serves as the data’s unique identifier and enables access to the data from any location in the network.

Next, the owner shares the hash with other users who wish to access the data. These users can use the hash to retrieve the data from IPFS without requiring a central server to store and manage it. This decentralized approach to data sharing ensures the data is immutable and tamper-proof, making it more secure and reliable.

How does IPFS work with Blockchain?

IPFS and blockchain are both distributed technologies that share a common goal of creating a secure and decentralized web. These technologies have multiple overlapping use cases, and combining them can lead to a more robust and resilient system.

IPFS can be utilized in a blockchain network to store data off-chain, reducing the load on the main chain and improving overall scalability. For instance, smart contracts can store large amounts of data on IPFS, while only the data’s hash is stored on the blockchain.

Furthermore, IPFS can be employed to store metadata related to transactions or other blockchain-related data. This metadata can be accessed by anyone on the network, increasing transparency and accessibility.

Another valuable use case of IPFS in the blockchain is in building decentralized applications (DApps). DApps often require extensive data storage and distribution, which can be a challenge with traditional centralized systems. By utilizing IPFS, developers can create fully decentralized DApps without relying on centralized servers.

Let’s now move on to discussing the use cases of IPFS⚙️

Use cases of the IPFS?

The benefits of IPFS have resulted in its widespread adoption by major technology companies, including Cloudflare, Chrome, and Netflix. By utilizing a decentralized network for data storage, it becomes possible to optimize the functionality of all online processes, eliminate the need for centralized servers, and improve security. Along with these advantages, IPFS has several other use cases that different companies are effectively implementing:

  • Microsoft ION: A secure and scalable global digital identity system, built on Bitcoin and IPFS, for electronic identities.
  • Brave: The decentralized merchandise store hosted by this search engine is powered by the Origin Protocol and IPFS.
  • Opera for Android: By default, mobile users can navigate ipfs:// links to access data on the IPFS network as it supports IPFS.
  • Wikipedia: Allowing users to access Wikipedia from jurisdictions where it is censored, It uses IPFS to create mirror versions of its website.
  • Filecoin: Based on IPFS, It uses IPFS to create a cooperative storage cloud.

These use cases demonstrate the versatility of IPFS and its potential to revolutionize multiple industries beyond data storage and retrieval. As more companies adopt this technology, we can expect to see new and innovative applications emerge that take advantage of IPFS’s unique features.

Conclusion

InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a groundbreaking protocol that enables decentralized storage and retrieval of files. It offers a distributed version of the web where data is not controlled by centralized authorities, which makes it more secure, efficient, and reliable.

The rapid evolution of IPFS and blockchain technologies makes it possible to create a more robust and resilient system by combining them. The integration of these technologies can lead to new use cases and applications that were previously not feasible with traditional centralized systems.

As blockchain technology matures, we can expect to see even more innovative applications of IPFS in the years to come.

I hope you found this article informative and insightful. Please follow me for more updates on similar topics and the web in general. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to seeing you here again in the future.

Until then, Merci! ❤️

Vinyl Davyl.

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Vinyl-Davyl

Software Engineering! knife talk only🧘 JavaScript, Typescript, React.js, Vue.js, Node.js and the web! Come and explore this world of SWE with me!