Roo's All-In Giveaway, $300,000 in Prizes
1.9 k views

What is Decentralized File Sharing and How Does It Work?

If you are new to blockchain technology, you may have heard the term “decentralized file sharing” thrown around. It may seem like a familiar concept, and it should be if you downloaded a torrent file in the past 20 years.

Blockchain is a revolutionary invention that does not only provide groundbreaking innovations but also upgrades to previous technologies. As with most software and computing protocols, blockchain takes file sharing as we have known it over the years and takes it to the next level by making it decentralized.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at decentralized file-sharing and how it works!

Decentralized File Sharing Explained

In the last two decades, the internet has functioned on the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, enabling users to share hypermedia documents. It also supports communication between web browsers and servers to transmit high volumes of data and files.

All this information is stored on centralized servers, and its existence depends on the servers’ well-functioning.

For example, you obtain information that the site stores on a centralized server whenever you access a website. The HTTP application protocol enables this data transmission and communication between you and the server. As a result, you can no longer access that web site’s content if the server stops functioning.

Although it overhauled the internet when it first came out in 1996, HTTP is steadily becoming obsolete in the present-day blockchain era. The protocol’s dependence on centralized servers enables data providers to censor information and block data transfer.

Decentralized file sharing substitutes the single-server format by storing data on multiple servers (nodes) connected to a network. In this case, all of the servers contain the same information. If one goes down, the data remains accessible, and the network continues to support file sharing and transmission.

You may recognize this system if you have ever used a torrenting platform. Several computers provide access to large audio or video files, among others. Unfortunately, behind those computers (nodes) are people who voluntarily share the data, and if one day they decide to quit, the torrent file they were sharing becomes inaccessible.

Blockchain technology takes decentralized file sharing to the next level by incentivizing the nodes, or rather said, the people that constitute the network. On solid, decentralized platforms, multiple servers can access the network’s services and data to exchange digital rewards like cryptocurrency tokens.

How Does Decentralized File Sharing Work?

The way we use the internet now depends largely on centralized servers. However, the process of obtaining information from the web is quite simple:

As an internet client, you open a browser and type in a request, which can be anything from an URL to a query on a search engine.

Your query travels via the HTTP protocol to the location where the relevant information is stored, a centralized server.

Using the HTTP protocol, the server sends you the data or the files you have requested via the HTTP protocol.

This type of communication is straightforward, but it comes with several disadvantages. For one, you rely on the functioning of that centralized server to access the information you need. Secondly, depending on the server’s performance and the bandwidth, obtaining your request may be slow or ineffective.

Decentralized file sharing swaps this model for an improved one, known as peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing.

In this scenario, the files or data you request are stored and distributed among multiple servers (nodes) of a network. Each file is identifiable by a unique cryptographic hash, which is tracked across the entire platform. When you make a request, the system quickly encounters the nodes that withhold the most relevant unique hashes to your query and provide you instant access to them.

The Advantages of Decentralized File Sharing

With decentralized file sharing, everyone has something to gain, from the developers to the content creators and from the service providers to the regular internet users.

Here are some of the benefits of decentralized file-sharing:

  • First, the information stored on multiple decentralized servers is permanently available.
  • The bandwidth never gets clogged, allowing numerous users and channels to access the same data concomitantly.
  • The data stored on a decentralized network is encrypted and, therefore, highly resistant to censorship and oppression.
  • One of the fundamental features of the next step in internet evolution is decentralized file sharing, Web 3.0.

Examples of Decentralized File Sharing Protocols

As of now, two decentralized file-sharing services are well up-and-running:

BitTorrent powered by TRON.

BitTorrent is one of the most popular P2P file-sharing applications. Since its release in 2001, it has helped millions worldwide share files and data.

In 2018, TRON acquired BitTorrent and used it to launch the BitTorrent File System (BTFS), developed on top of the TRON network. As a result, its users can now go from voluntary participants to incentivize nodes and receive rewards in TRON tokens for their contributions.

The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS)

This peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol is the product of Protocol Labs, launched in 2015. The system aims to provide a cost-effective decentralized file storage solution to decentralized applications on the blockchain.

IPFS users should also be rewarded when Filecoin, Protocol Labs’ blockchain layer, launches.

Is Decentralized File Sharing the Future of Data Storing and Sharing?

To answer this question, you only need to look at a case of data censorship in recent history.

Between 2017 and early 2020, Wikipedia was banned in Turkey. The current Turkish administration is well-known for its overly controlling nature. It banned one of the largest collections of free information on the internet by deeming it a national security threat.

However, a group of white-hat hackers uploaded a version of Turkish Wikipedia and posted it using IPFS to navigate the ban. Eventually, in December 2019, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the ban violated freedom of expression and restored access to Wikipedia for the Turkish people.

Bitcoin live price
price change

This case is just a preview of how our rights to access information freely can disappear in the blink of an eye once an authoritarian government decides that it “benefits the nation.” This censorship power, which is still available through centralized file-sharing protocols, should not be reserved for a single person or an oligarchic group. Fortunately, blockchain-decentralized file sharing is a viable solution to the problem.

Stay up to date with our latest articles

More posts

Why SolidProof Stands Out in the Blockchain Security Landscape

SolidProof - a registered security company from Germany - has announced the imminent release of an updated version of its SolidProof Automated Audit Tool (SAAT). This unique blockchain industry product supports decentralized finance (DeFi) growth, enabling projects to minimize security threats. An upgraded SolidProof App is also ready to roll out with new and exciting features, cementing SolidProof’s place in the top tier of blockchain security providers. Increased Challenges for DeFi Security Decentralized finance has evolved on top of blockchain…

Top 5 Crypto Gaming Tokens to Buy for the Next Bull Run

Crypto gaming is one of the fastest-developing sectors of the blockchain industry. In 2023, it is estimated at $7.89 billion and is forecasted to reach over $300 billion by 2030. Some see it as the next ship to onboard for lucrative long-term investments. And after a closer look at it, we can easily understand why. The strength of the crypto gaming market lies at the crossroads of several technological advances, including blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and the Metaverse. Including new economic models,…

Top 3 Crypto Casinos in 2023

Playing at crypto casinos is a widespread practice in 2023. These online platforms feature all the classic casino games, like poker, Roulette, and Blackjack, besides modern interactive slots and sports betting. Players worldwide can make crypto deposits in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular cryptocurrencies for the chance to win substantial jackpots, bonuses, and rewards. If you are wondering how to choose a crypto casino, you have come to the right place. We selected three of the top crypto casinos this…

Using Open-Source Protocols for Developing Scalable Solutions on Blockchain

Blockchain technology's safe, transparent, and decentralized transaction platform might transform several sectors. However, building scalable blockchain solutions can be a challenging task.  This short guide will explore how to leverage open-source protocols to develop scalable blockchain solutions. The article aims to make it easier for developers to plan the realization of robust and secure blockchain applications.  Understanding Open-Source Protocols Open-source protocols, such as Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric, come from organizations and are available for anyone to code for free. Unlike…

How to Leverage Arbitrage Opportunities in Crypto Markets

Cryptocurrency arbitrage has become an increasingly popular investment strategy as the crypto market grows and evolves. Arbitrage involves taking advantage of pricing discrepancies between markets or exchanges to profit.  Investors can leverage profit opportunities by understanding cryptocurrency arbitrage while managing associated risks. In this guide, we'll explore cryptocurrency arbitrage and how it works. A Bitcoin-related example will help us illustrate the concepts of this strategy. What is Arbitrage and How Does it Work in Crypto Markets Crypto arbitrage trading is…

The Different Types of Copy Trading in Crypto

Are you interested in trading cryptocurrencies but feel intimidated by the complexity of the process? Copy trading is a great way to get into crypto without needing to be an experienced trader. With copy trading, investors can benefit from the experience and knowledge of more experienced traders, allowing even beginners to succeed. How does copy trading work, and which tips do you need to know to succeed? In this article, we'll explore all aspects of copy trading in crypto. What…

How to Spot an Unsafe Crypto Exchange

Cryptocurrency exchanges have become increasingly popular as they provide a platform for people to buy and sell digital assets. Unfortunately, not all crypto exchanges are safe or reliable.  With the rise of cybercrime and fraud, you must learn to spot an unsafe crypto exchange before investing your money. This guide will help beginners identify and avoid potential risks when selecting a cryptocurrency exchange.  The Role of Crypto Exchanges on the Digital Assets Market Cryptocurrency exchanges play a crucial role in…

A Guide to the Impact of US Fed’s Interest Rates on Crypto

The US Federal Reserve's interest rate is one of the world's most influential economic indicators. These rates profoundly affect global markets and investments.  But what impact does this have on cryptocurrencies? Today, we’ll explore how Fed interest rate changes affect crypto prices and why traders need to pay attention to them. We will also discuss how quickly these rates are increasing and what this means for cryptocurrency investors.  Observing the connection between US Fed rates and crypto assets allows you…

Unveiling the ERC-4337 Account Abstraction Standard – What You Should Know

The Ethereum blockchain is always changing and adding new features to make it easier to use. One of the latest developments is the introduction of ERC-4337. This account abstraction standard promises to revolutionize how users interact with Ethereum. This guide will tell you about ERC-4337. We'll explain what it is, how it works, and the good and bad things about it. We'll also talk about why you should use this new standard for smart contracts. By the end of this…

What Is Grid Trading in Crypto?

Crypto grid trading has become a popular strategy because of its ability to help traders capitalize on market volatility. Grid trading means you can produce consistent profits by taking advantage of price differences in different markets or time frames. By establishing buy and sell orders at predetermined intervals, you can take advantage of these fluctuations in an automated way. This guide will explore the different aspects of grid trading and provide an overview of its benefits, challenges, and more. Through…