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 it is the case 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 what decentralized file-sharing is 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 web servers to transmit high volumes of data and files.

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

For example, every time you access a website, you obtain information that the site stores on a centralized server. The HTTP application protocol enables this data transmission and communication between you and the server. If the server stops functioning, you cannot access the content on that website anymore.

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. There, 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. 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 that 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:

  • The information stored on multiple decentralized servers is permanently available.
  • The bandwidth never gets clogged allowing a sheer number of 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.
  • Decentralized file sharing is one of the fundamental features of the next step in internet evolution, 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 of people 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. Its users can now go from voluntary participants to incentivized 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, and it 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 in the future when Filecoin, Protocol Labs’ blockchain layer, will launch.

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 as a way of navigating around 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 kind of 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

How Can Crypto Trading Bots Help You Manage Your Investments?

Bots are computer programs designed to carry out specific activities automatically. They operate with the least amount of human input possible.  Crypto trading bots are automated programs that trade a single coin or a portfolio of cryptocurrencies. They trade on one or more exchanges on behalf of the owner or user.  Cryptocurrency bots can automate trading tactics to increase portfolio profits. Today, we'll take a closer look at this ever-expanding technology.  A Simple Way to See Crypto Trading Bots Artificial…

Can You Really Protect Your Crypto Investments Against Whales?

It is only natural that the price of BTC changes following whales' transactions. Because altcoins have smaller market capitalizations, this effect is even more pronounced on their prices. The ways whales manage to manipulate the market are inventive and can lead to heavy losses for small traders. In our guide, we look into the matter and reflect on how to protect a wallet against whales. Understanding the Concept of Whales The term "crypto whale" refers to a person or organization…

What Are Fractionalized NFTs?

Most people who use the internet regularly, whether for business or pleasure, are familiar with NFTs. Everyone in the crypto/blockchain community looks at these "Non-Fungible Tokens” with interest.  The only problem is that NFTs are becoming extremely popular and too costly to own.  In this context, Fractional NFTs, or F-NFTs, have entered the market to attract new investors. Imagine dividing a single NFT into smaller parts and making it available for purchase. This concept is the principle governing the growing…

Diluted Market Cap – A Beginners’ Guide

The value of a cryptocurrency is difficult to predict, especially if we are dealing with a new token. If you're looking to invest in cryptocurrency, measures like the fully diluted market cap can guide your choices.  The term "fully diluted market cap” will represent the core of today’s guide. We'll begin by defining the sector's market capitalization before moving on to more advanced notions. Market Cap in the Crypto Industry The total worth of an asset now in circulation corresponds…

Top Crypto Marketing Agencies to Promote Your Cryptocurrency Project in 2022

Nowadays, launching a crypto project can be a daunting task for most developers, especially considering the competition. This report claims that the industry amasses over 18,000 cryptocurrencies as of March 2022. Whether you focus on NFTs, DeFi, or any other crypto-related activity, you will have to face stiff competition. Fortunately, you can gain a competitive advantage over your peers with the help of crypto marketing agencies. These services cover all the promotional aspects your project needs to get into the…

The Difference Between Capped and Uncapped ICOs

Some ICOs decide to set a cap on how many coins investors can buy. However, some people choose to offer unlimited coins at the sale. Different teams can follow different strategies to obtain success in this growing market. Today, our guide aims to make a clear distinction between capped and uncapped ICOs. Understanding the Concept of ICOs An ICO (“Initial Coin Offering”) is a way to launch a new cryptocurrency. ICOs are a way to raise money for a project…

Is It Possible to Spot a Fake NFT?

Blockchain technology should have made life simpler for digital artists selling unique tokens of ownership to other people. A public ledger can give buyers a record of who owns a piece of art in perpetuity. Blockchain gave some artists a new chance to earn money. However, some artists admit that the last year's crypto boom has been a real mess.  Anyone can "mint" a digital asset as an NFT, even if they don't own it. How do you spot a…

Unstoppable Domains – A Beginner’s Guide

Unstoppable Domains are an intriguing and unique new option that is gaining traction in the crypto industry as more people become aware of them. Even though you may be inclined to dismiss them as simply another "crypto craze,” you may not want to be so hasty in your judgment. Whether you have your wallet or just learning about crypto, unstoppable domains have some unique advantages that you might consider utilizing for your website. This post will go over all you…

Understanding How Ripple’s Interledger Protocol Works

Payment networks are now fragmented and disjointed. Transferring money within a nation or between accounts on the same system or ledger is quite simple. The same goes for transferring money between accounts on a different network or ledger. In most cases, however, transmitting data from one ledger to another is unfeasible. Even in places where connections are available, they are often manual, sluggish, or costly. Ripple’s Interledger Protocol allows the routing of payments across multiple digital asset ledgers. Meanwhile, it protects both…

3 Meme Coins Still Riding the Meme Wave and Ready to Explode

With Elon Musk on the verge of buying Twitter, his pet crypto, Dogecoin, could rise to new heights of popularity and demand. However, DOGE is not the only meme coin ready to burst on the scene in 2022. Others are waiting for a signal to show the meme wave is not only alive and well but rising too. Meme coins started out as a joke. In a market dominated by raging bulls and bears shifting crypto prices by the thousands…