IPFS (Interplanetary File System) is a decentralized network protocol that is based on a distributed network, this to create a direct relationship with the p2p method (peer to peer), the purpose of this protocol is to store files or information quickly and safely. In this way, IPFS changes the traditional form of information storage from centralized to decentralized, bringing with it many benefits such as access to information without depending on a single storage point for its respective access, increased storage, control of use of your own data and among many other benefits.
History of IPFS
IPFS was born with the need to solve many problems that are seen every day in the storage of data on the Internet. A clear example is centralized storage, hoarding data in one place makes its use slower depending on the number of people, also if the server stops working there is no way to use the information until it is back on on going. It is also very common to use information to sell it to third parties, as is the case with some social networks where they sell information on tastes and preferences without the consent of the users. This system was born in order to solve many problems present in the current protocol.
The beginning of IPFS occurs in 2014, when Juan Benet, a software programmer, creates a company called Protocol Labs. In 2015, Benet announces a new technology that is already known worldwide as IPFS. As mentioned above, the central idea was to build a p2p network, in this way its users could store as well as distribute information to other users, in this way the protocol works in a decentralized manner. For the respective storage, the network uses the Distributed Hash Table (DHT) as well as the BitTorrent protocol.
How does IPFS work?
The system is created to search for the data by the content that is being requested and not by location, as it is commonly known. It is important to highlight that IPFS uses the DHT, this function is used to create a hash of the content that you want to add to the network, said hash is unique and will never be repeated, it also redirects the searches to the nodes where the information is found. requested. IPFS uses the SHA-256 hash, the same as Bitcoin, this due to the benefits it offers such as security, easy to use and does not require many resources to generate the hash.
The current protocol performs the following steps to perform a search:
- First take the web address and then query the DNS for the IP of the server location.
- Already with the IP in hand, the server information query is made and the respective download is started.
- After downloading, it shows us the information of said server.
This is how the traditional protocol works, content searches by location, in which it is necessary to know the address to which you want to query the data. In the case of IPFS it is different, as mentioned above, the protocol does this search by content. This system uses the following steps to perform a search:
- It is not necessary to know the address, only what is needed is searched in the system.
- The system sends the search that is being carried out to the network of nodes. This information is protected by encryption, hash and digital signature, this in order to protect the information and give access only to those who are authorized.
- After sending the search, the nodes respond with information on the available versions of what was requested.
- By choosing one of the results obtained, you can see both its content and its information history.
That is the way IPFS system works, for this reason it is known as content addressing since we simply indicate what we need and the network of nodes responds with the option to consult the data that is going to be required.
Advantages and disadvantages of IPFS
Some advantages of using IPFS are:
- Decentralized storage so it does not depend on a single place for access and is accessible at any time.
- It is scalable, so future improvements and functionalities can be added.
- Fast data storage and query.
- Greater storage capacity.
- There is no censorship of content, being decentralized it is impossible for any content to be censored.
Some of the disadvantages of using IPFS are:
- It is a new technology that when implemented will bring with it some complications when wanting to run it completely on the internet.
- It is still in the process of improvement and development.
- Being new technology and paradigm it may be difficult to use for some people.
IPFS Use Cases
Currently there are several cases of use of systems in which companies have decided to innovate using this new technology. This is due to the large number of benefits offered by this system, some companies that use this technology are: Audius, a platform that uses IPFS technology to store your data in a decentralized way where the artist can see who listens to their music so they have total control over it, another well-known company that is starting to use this technology to manage their files is Netflix.
IPFS protocol has also been implemented in various networks related to the blockchain. This is due to its storage capacity and large number of benefits that it can bring to these networks. Some of the networks that use this storage protocol are: Filecon, it is a decentralized storage network, the first blockchain network to implement the IPFS protocol in its network, Storj, is another decentralized storage blockchain network that also uses the protocol. Another great use case is with NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens), this technology is currently trending and is used for encrypted digital assets which uses IPFS for the storage of its data.
These are just some of the many systems that are using this new protocol that is just beginning its impact on the Internet.
What to expect in the future for IPFS
Technology is clearly changing and with more and more improvements, new trends come to replace current technologies, this in order to solve errors and problems that current systems have. This technology seems to be a great candidate for replacing the current protocol, so in the not too distant future, IPFS will be the main Internet protocol due to its scalability and great benefits that it brings to the web.