12 min read18th February 2023#IPFS #blockchain #Web3

The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a decentralized file storage and distribution system that is set to transform the internet as we know it. This technology has the potential to solve many of the problems associated with the current centralized internet, including data breaches, censorship, and the high cost of hosting large files. Let's find out why I think it is poised to power the next generation of the internet, also known as Web3.

At its core, IPFS is a peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol that enables users to share and access files in a decentralized manner. Unlike traditional internet protocols such as HTTP, which rely on centralized servers to distribute content, IPFS creates a distributed network of nodes that store and serve content. This means that files are no longer hosted on a single server, but instead are distributed across the network.

To achieve this, IPFS uses a content-addressed system, where every file is given a unique cryptographic hash based on its contents. In IPFS, files are identified by their content, which is hashed using a cryptographic function. The resulting hash is used as a unique identifier, called a content identifier (CID). This means that if two files have the same content, they will have the same CID, making it possible to easily deduplicate files on the network, reducing storage requirements. This hash is then used to retrieve the file from the network, rather than relying on a centralized domain name system (DNS). This allows users to access files from multiple locations, reducing the latency associated with centralized hosting. Each time a file is added or modified, a new CID is created that references the updated content, therefore content is immutable and versioned out of the box.

Another key feature of IPFS is its ability to cache files locally. When a user requests a file, their IPFS node will first check if it has a local copy of the file. If it does, the file is retrieved instantly. If not, the node will search the network for the file and download it. Once the file is downloaded, it is cached locally, making it available to other users who request the same file in the future.

Content on IPFS can be accessed using a web-based gateway or a local IPFS node. The web-based gateway allows access using a web browser, while a local IPFS node allows hosting and serving content on the network.

One of the key advantages of using IPFS in decentralized applications (dApps) is its ability to provide content-based addressing and versioning. This means that data stored on IPFS can be verified and authenticated by anyone, making it possible to create trustless systems that do not rely on a centralized authority for validation. Also, the IPFS protocol is open source and community-driven, which means that anyone can contribute to its development and use.

In my opinion IPFS will be a key ingredient in making Web3 a reality since IPFS is complementary to other Web3 technologies, such as blockchain and smart contracts. Blockchain technology provides a secure and transparent way to record and verify transactions, while IPFS can be used to store and share the data associated with those transactions. Smart contracts, which are self-executing code on the blockchain, can also use IPFS as a data layer to store and retrieve information.

Overall, IPFS is a key enabler of Web3 and has the potential to transform the way we think about the internet and decentralized systems. By providing a decentralized, peer-to-peer file system that can be used as a data layer for dApps, IPFS is helping to create a more user-centric, secure, and transparent internet. IPFS is a key component of Web3, providing a decentralized storage and distribution system for files and data. This is essential for building a web that is not controlled by a handful of large corporations but instead is owned and controlled by its users.