IPFS — The next internet revolution


I post this video with regret. I have been fortunate to see Juan Benet speak a number of times in California and he’s a genius. His understanding of the history of the internet and the various underlying protocols is exceptional. The project he is working on — IPFS (Interplanetary File System) is not only intellectually interesting but potentially transformative for not only how the internet works but for various blockchain based projects being built such as OpenBazaar and the one I’m working on — RiskBazaar.

I post it with regret because this guy is too good for TED talks. He tries (half heartedly) to follow the TED format. He changes the tone of his voice and delivers a short(ish), digestible(ish) presentation on IPFS to an audience that look as if they listening to a talk in a foreign language. (And this is in the heart of Silicon Valley — San Francisco!)

We need to attract more developers into the blockchain and decentralized application space. So if you are a developer, please watch this and get an insight into the huge opportunities posed by the next phase of the internet revolution. If you are thinking of studying computer science or learning how to code, please watch this and hopefully it will inspire you to do so.

However, if you don’t fit into the above two categories don’t bother. Some people didn’t notice the slow tectonic shift that resulted in them using sites like Google, Facebook and Ebay on their phones. Some people won’t notice the next phase until they wake up one day and they are using various new applications built (most likely) on IPFS.

Towards the end of the presentation, Juan explains why it is called the Interplanetary File System:

“ Designing protocols that work across vast distances like planets makes it possible for people around the Earth that are in distant areas far away from the data center to connect as easily and nicely as people in the nice vast cities like this one. This is what we call the interplanetary principle. Design things for planets — planetary scale — and you will do very well on Earth.”

This is potentially the most interesting observation. There are a number of systemic problems that can’t be resolved within the existing system because the system is inherently flawed. There are already a number of excellent reasons for planet exploration and colonization (see this excellent Waitbutwhy blog for more details http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/08/how-and-why-spacex-will-colonize-mars.html) but potentially the most important one is that it encourages a level of thinking that is capable of building a new superior system here on Earth. Thinking big opens up opportunities for all to flourish.

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