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IPFS - Innovation In Web Protocol

BitForex Editor
Sep 07, 2020

Imagine going on the internet and trying to make a request for information (a search) but instead of the usual HTTP(HyperText Transfer Protocol) precursor in the URL, IPFS appears. Yes, IPFS acts similarly. This new system comes with an upgrade to the flaws of HTTP. In full, the acronym stands for InterPlanetary File System. It should have originated from somewhere.

A Brief History On IPFS

IPFS was set up by American computer scientist Juan Benet and his company, Protocol Labs in 2015. The alpha version of the open-source network was released in February, and, by November of the same year, its use had spread like wildfire. This invention suffered a fair share of opposition, notably, from Spain. The last quarter of 2018 saw the file system declared as illegal in the country, a declaration subsequently overturned. Likewise, there were target phishing attacks on IPFS which were boldly rebuffed by its solid security. However, the growing popularity of IPFS has rubbed off on Juan. He was named on the "40 under 40" list of the Fortune magazine, in recognition for the IPFS work.

The Operations Of IPFS

It is no news that HTTP rules the internet currently as per peer-to-peer network protocol, but what does IPFS do differently? Surely, IPFS allows one to watch videos, the source for information, downloads files, and so on—no drift from the usual. A break from the norm, IPFS provides a decentralized system for file sharing so you are not stuck on the offerings of a single server but can access information spurn from an interconnection of computers. On the other hand, HTTP would carry requests to its specific servers, probably miles away. The network is very secure too. Since attacks are aimed at breaking into a central server—and there's none there—attempted breaches are like shooting blanks. Information is obtained from the closest node to users which enables the network to serve users in real-time.

The use of nodes instead of servers makes IPFS an enviable system. Normally, a slight change in data will include interactions with the servers and other computers. In contrast, the link between computer nodes in IPFS ensures that each computer is updated in little time. With this feature, less bandwidth usage saves resources as regards time and money.

While HTTP goes on from accepting an inputted URL to forming an IP address before going on to find out file locations. IPFS, rather, identifies contents by cryptographic hashes peculiar to them. A hash is a "unique fingerprint" assigned to every content. First, the hashes look for nearby nodes with a copy of the required information and, if no one is found, proceeds to obtain from the origin of such information—from the host. Do not be scared that you will get the wrong file; cryptographic hashes are specific and unmistaken.

Upon the download of a file, a user can automatically become a host too, by the presence of the file on his computer. Besides, clients can choose the files they want to host. One can purely host his own contents and put it on IPFS for other users to access

Moreover, you do not have to cram hashes in your head in the bid to look for a file on the IPFS network. Every file can be uncovered  by human-readable characters labeled on them by the IPNS( InterPlanetary Naming System)

IPFS And The Blockchain

These features have made the network compatible with the blockchains of various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and so on. IPFS optimizes the activities of these blockchains by filling the preexisting loopholes. The network covers the storage of huge data and preserves the decentralization integrity of the blockchain without compromising the simplicity of the data. IPFS only requires certain data such as the addresses of the sender and recipient alongside other transaction details like the amount involved. Asymmetric encryption (GPG), in liaison with IPFS, can enhance storage, coding, and exchange of bogus data on the blockchain.

The Filecoin, also an initiative of Protocol Labs, is used to secure financial networks. It comprises of multiple puzzles which are only solvable with bits of data available across the millions of nodes on the IPFS. This whole process creates an almost impenetrable algorithm because there is so much data across the web, so which ones, exactly, are needed? The Proof of Work algorithm rewards nodes with good connectivity and considerable data in-store eventually. Primarily, the Filecoin protocol is built on a blockchain creating a Decentralized Storage Network. Two types of people exist here: miners and clients. While the miners earn from storing and serving data, the client's spend to store and retrieve data.

On the whole, IPFS gives the web a newer look compared to its appearance in the past. It offers efficiency in relating information and cost. The fact that every user computer—now or before acts as a node in its network is wonderful. Your information gets to you in lightning speed time. Expenses on bandwidths are, equally, slashed by over half.

In addition, IPFS shows resilience in retaining data placed on the network, beating the limited span on the day-to-day web. It goes on to promote interconnectivity also, allowing users to communicate with one another directly. Evidence is seen where two people can exchange information secured with private keys. Yes, security! This superb peer-to-peer protocol protects your information and identity, as well. Internet connectivity issues cannot make you stranded with IPFS. The sort of networks IPFS upholds ensures continual availability of information.

IPFS offers various innovations to help its users like;

IPFS Desktop: For file storage and sharing.

Command Line Install: For coding purposes

IPFS Companion: As URL support on the browser

IPFS Cluster: A tool for managing large data

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