update 6 October 2021

InterPlanetary File System – Everything You Need to Know IPFS

Decentralization is creeping into every sector globally, making systems more efficient and secure. Web services and file transfer are also catching up on the trend. The number of people who use the Internet daily is high. By the end of this year, the amount of data gathered worldwide will be over 40,000 Exabytes. 

The enormous amount of information should have an efficient pathway to circulate to people who want access to it. Otherwise, there will be congestion leading to slow web access, low storage space, and bandwidth. That is the problem with today’s web.

IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) is a decentralized web network creating a superior web of tomorrow. In this article, we will help you understand what this alternative for current web options entails.

What is IPFS?

InterPlanetary File System is a peer-to-peer network enabling the storage and sharing of information globally. It aims to make internet censorship-free, speedier, and more secure. 

It is best to understand the existing internet protocol for transfer that has been in use to know about how IPFS came to be. 

HTTP

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) has been around since its invention in the early 1990s, acting as the ultimate tool for website loading and transfer of small files. Based on a client-server network, HTTP depends on data stored in centralized servers using a location-based addressing approach. That is with the help of the Internet Protocol Suite. The communication protocol is efficient in distributing, securing, and managing data while weighing servers and client needs.

Despite this, HTTP comes with several issues that are more visible in this era of technological advancements. Some are:

  • HTTP works around getting information from one server at a time. The same leads to inefficiency in data availability while searching and downloading by clients.
  • The protocol further has censorship issues due to centralization, which has a significant bias.
  • File duplication in HTTP leads to the overloading of bandwidth space, which is already expensive to come by.
  • Web pages last for a short while; thus, a weak history of the information found on the Internet.
  • Low connection and download speeds that have improved insignificantly from 2KB to 2MB in over 20 years.
  • Privacy and security issues since the information circulating through HTTP is not encrypted and has exposure to virtual threats
  • Encrypted information through Secure Sockets Layer requires considerable computational power for decryption making the process energy efficient if a client does not have a superior SSL terminator

Components of IPFS

Contributions of many developers led to the formulation of IPFS’IPFS’ complex architecture. It aims to cater to the shortcomings that the HTTP communication protocol presents; an ongoing project by Protocol Labs is still in its beta stages. The main components that make IPFS a superior network are:

  • Distributed Hash Tables (DHT): It is a decentralized data structure, keeping track of the availability of information based on who has it. It checks between nodes to ensure access to data during searches. It presents scalability and fault tolerance being functional even when nodes fail or leave the network.
  • BitSwap: IPFS utilizes a general version of BitTorrent, a sharing network that acts as a marketplace for data. The network splits files into blocks. Bitswap provides content for peers when a large number of nodes run through it. They then send wants that determine files entailed in blocks. Peers will receive fewer wants if the content is identical. If there is a delay, more peers get more wants.
  • Merkle DAG: The component combines Merkle trees and a Directed Acyclic Graph. Merkle trees ensure the authenticity of data by arranging data blocks using cryptographic hash functions. A DAG, on the other hand, ensures topological information is not cyclic. They provide a system to organize data blocks using hashes in a DAG, ensuring it can distinguish content uniquely with no alterations.
  • Version Control System: It is a feature similar to Git that allows duplication, editing, and storage of files, which are later merged with the original one. History of the data and changes is permanently available in the network and accessible to overlay networks. As a result, the data is censorship-free and up to date.
  • InterPlanetary Name Space: It is a self-certifying file system (SFS) utilizing public-key cryptography to accept content published by clients. The feature allows for authentication of data during exchanges. 

How IPFS Works

Once a file is present on the network, it receives a cryptographic hash to identify it uniquely and the blocks within. The system goes ahead to get rid of identical content while tracking history. Nodes select only the information they need. 

Using DHT, the network can identify which node has what type of information. When a user performs a search, the network goes ahead to reveal information stored behind a specific file’s hash. Merkle DAG system then connects file structures, which makes records available to users through a human-readable name provided by IPNS.

Why is IPFS Important?

IPFS presents a revolutionized web structure compared to HTTP. The diversity of who can use the IPFS system is notable. Users are yet to explore every inch of the versatile network and know its advantages. Below are a few.

  • Inexpensive: It has lower hosting costs encouraged by a peer-to-peer network ensuring inexpensive bandwidth by eliminating duplication of data hence saving on space.
  • Efficiency: IPFS provides high performance since servers face low interruptions while ensuring extensive data available through the utilization of several nodes at the same time.
  • Decentralization: eliminates control of data output by biased internet service providers ensuring censorship-free content. Furthermore, security threats cannot affect the entire system, only specific nodes maintaining functionality. Software developers also keep on upgrading nodes, improving their security.
  • A web independent of Internet connectivity: The feature allows access to content offline or in low connectivity. Also, if nodes go offline or encounter problems, their content is still available to users.
  • Archiving: The IPFS network ensures that data files and any changes made to them are available permanently over time. Even though editing is possible, the system also ensures that there is no duplication of the original data.

Implications of IPFS

As stated earlier, IPFS is still undergoing development despite its extensive use by people. However, it has a few challenges that developers are dealing with actively. One of them is the security implications that come along with the incomplete project. Nonetheless, any vulnerabilities are taken seriously to sustain a secure network. They encourage reporting of any suspicions immediately to their security department.  

Some features like IPNS are slow with a poor user-interface, which users expect to improve as development continues. The whole idea behind IPFS is a complex concept for the typical user to understand, which might discourage use. Lastly, there needs a significant focus on ensuring long-term data backup in case nodes decide to delete original files.

Conclusion

A new age of web development has dawned upon us with the introduction of IPFS. The platform aims to settle issues presented by the use of HTTP, including slow connection speeds, centralization, and duplication. It offers a flexible system for a variety of applications, including by researchers, archivists, service providers, and blockchains, among others. 

Btc
Bitcoin
$62.609
price
1.6603%
price change
BUY NOW

Nevertheless, several areas need polishing yet to ensure secure and user-friendly services to clients. Easier and faster file searching and file sharing, with great content delivery, is the end game. All the same, we expect a massive evolution into a different Internet world once the project is complete.

More posts

Earliest Cryptocurrencies with DeFi-like Characteristics

A recent Chainalysis report shows how Europe accounts for 25% of the world's cryptocurrency transactions. The news came as a surprise to many. However, Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is the center of these crypto transactions. So, it takes about 50% of the total amount from the region's trades. DeFi is an innovative niche that many enthusiasts still have not explored fully. Nevertheless, numerous smaller crypto assets with similar characteristics to DeFi tokens already exist. Binance Chain, PancakeSwap, and Uniswap are examples…

Which Altcoins Made The News in H1 of 2021

Altcoins are constantly jostling to make a mark in the crypto world. After Bitcoin and Ethereum, the race to be the third cryptocurrency force keeps heating up every year. Many strong contenders with different use cases promise more than what the big two currently offer. As a result, many are making their mark in a big way, for good and not so good reasons, as long as they stand out from meme coins that ride the celebrity popularity wave and…

Top Altcoins with the Most Potential For 2022

In 2017, altcoins became a thing when thousands of Bitcoin competitors flooded the market. Today, many altcoins have evolved beyond expectations and are stand-alone products with unique real-world applications. Furthermore, they provide an opportunity for investors to diversify their portfolios. Identifying the best cryptocurrencies to invest in can be overwhelming for most newbies, primarily since thousands of them exist. We bet you're having difficulty finding the most promising altcoins in the crypto space. So, this article should help you get…

Institutional Investors who have Expanded their Portfolio in 2021

Cryptocurrency and blockchain investments from the first 9 months of 2021 have surpassed last year's grand total. In the first half of 2021, the worldwide crypto and blockchain activity was $8.7 million, more than double last year's figures. It is a significant sign that institutional money is streaming into the crypto space. Furthermore, it increases the investor base, and thus the institutional awareness and knowledge of this sector are also surging. The "institutional adoption" of crypto is already underway. Today…

Understanding Cardano, IOHK, and EMURGO

Cardano is the first decentralized public blockchain platform that developed on a research-first driven approach. Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of Ethereum, created it in 2015 and later launched it in 2017. It comprises a development team of global researchers and engineers. This platform's development continued thanks to academics and computer scientists and their peer-reviewed papers. The Cardano ecosystem involves three founding entities that work together. These partners are EMURGO, IOHK Company, and The Cardano Foundation. Cardano in a Nutshell Cardano…

Billionaires Who Have Publicly Showed Interest in Cryptocurrencies

The cryptocurrency boom of 2017 saw a rise in their acceptance from prominent economic figures. Since then, their volatility hasn't stopped significant investments in them. Today there's a push for their global mass adoption. Industry-leading lights and renowned celebrities have expressed their support for the assets. Nothing best captures this reality than Forbes's recent list of the world's wealthiest people. It indicates a growth in the number of crypto billionaires over time. From an asset that courted controversy and skepticism,…

Which is the Most Crypto-Friendly Country in Europe?

When cryptocurrencies made their first appearance in the financial world, many people were skeptical about them. Governments mainly felt threatened because the digital currencies dispelled the need for central banks. A little over a decade later, cryptocurrency mainstream adoption has made strides. However, many jurisdictions remain hostile toward digital currencies.  There's no denying that cryptocurrencies present several advantages, which is why many enthusiasts and investors are jumping on board. However, for mainstream crypto adoption to go globally, jurisdictions must accept…

Crypto Signals to Stop You from Succumbing to FOMO Woes

In the case of cryptocurrency, FOMO is popular due to enormous and rapid gains. However, as more people realize these great opportunities, they are afraid that they will miss them. When you think that you can win a particular cryptocurrency, you begin to buy it in huge numbers. As numerous investors and traders believe that blockchain and crypto are in the early stages and have excellent development potential, FOMO appears to be more than just a driving force in the…

Understanding Ethereum’s Solidity Programming Language

Ethereum is a cryptocurrency capable of storing value and making payments. However, that's not all. It is also a fully-fledged platform for creating smart contracts, and this is where Solidity comes in. Solidity is a high-level language for implementing smart contracts. It gets its inspiration from C++, Python, and JavaScript and should target the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This article will uncover all about the Solidity programming language and how it works. But first, we'll look closer at the Ethereum…

Hedera – A Comprehensive Guide to a Revolutionary Consensus System

Blockchain is the digital environment supporting cryptocurrencies and decentralized app (DApps). You may know it as one of the greatest innovations of the 21st century. However, this remarkable invention has its shortcomings. For instance, it is difficult to scale and consumes too much energy, making it bad for the environment. Fortunately, some projects aim to solve these issues. One of them, Hedera, has come up with a potentially better alternative to blockchain: Hashgraph consensus. Consequently, Hedera used it to open…