How the IPFS Concept Can Change the Internet and the Storage Distribution
The Interplanetary File System — a New Internet Protocol, Designed to Upgrade the Web and Maybe Even Replace HTTP
Most of us already know and have observed this on many occasions — the manner in which we apply and implement technology impacts us, as human beings, on multiple levels, including socially and politically. And as you might have guessed from the title and the short introduction, this also applies to the Internet. The World Wide Web, as we know it, is at the foundation of our businesses, our social lives, our communications — we use it for everything. Is there anything wrong with the Internet, in our present day? Why would we need this new internet protocol? To provide answers to these questions, we will present in this article certain topics — we will understand what’s the internet’s current context, we will see why HTTP is inefficient and expensive, how IPFS works, how IPFS aims to replace HTTP and how is IPFS (as distributed storage) already useful nowadays; finally we will look at a practical example of how this is already implemented.
How does the Internet operate now — the HTTP protocol
In the HTTP protocol, when you request a file, you provide a URL, and the first thing in this URL is a domain name that resolves to the IP address of the server that is hosting that file. Then, the client is initiating this journey through the network to go and find the server where the file is located — this is called location-based addressing. Simply put, this means that every time you request a file you specify the location of the server and then you go to that server to retrieve it.
Why is a change needed
Unfortunately, today’s internet has a lot of downsides:
- Because it makes users download a file from a single computer at a time, it increases bandwidth costs; moreover, imagine that server becomes unavailable — users have no one to turn to, to download the file they need. This makes it inefficient and expensive.
- A lot of pages, files, and websites become unavailable or are deleted, every day. This means our history, our work, cannot be found anymore and is forever lost.
- Its centralized way of working has a lot of limitations that affect progress — for example, many users rely on a single location, one single origin server
- As users, we are addicted continuously to the backbone (to being online) — we cannot make changes to a document we are all working on, in a single office, if the central server (for example) is down.
What is IPFS and how does it work?
The Interplanetary File System is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol that was designed to make the web faster, safer and more open — to do so, it creates a permanent and decentralized method of storing and sharing files.
Released in 2015 (in alpha), the IPFS protocol took advantage of the Bitcoin blockchain protocol and network infrastructure to store unalterable data, remove duplicate files across the network, and get address information for accessing storage nodes to search for files in the network.
As we stated before, the root of the problem with HTTP is that is location-based addressing; with IPFS, instead of using location, you address your request with the content itself.
Let’s look at the process:
- Files and all of the blocks within the file receive a unique fingerprint (cryptographic hash).
- IPFS eliminates duplications across the network and tracks version history for every file.
- Each network node stores only content it is interested in (plus indexing information)
- Searching for certain files translates into asking the network for nodes that keep the content behind a unique hash.
- Files can be found by human-readable names using a decentralized naming system — IPNS.
IPFS can be used by researchers, service providers, content creators, archivists, the developing world, and blockchains.
“IPFS and the Blockchain are a perfect match! You can address large amounts of data with IPFS, and place the immutable, permanent IPFS links into a blockchain transaction. This timestamps and secures your content, without having to put the data on the chain itself.” Let’s have a look at how has this concept been already utilized.
Distributed storage, already implemented in FortKnoxster
FortKnoxster is a modern cyber-security platform, designed to provide secure and encrypted communication solutions. The platform presents itself as an E-a-a-S solution (Encryption-as-a-Service) and has a series of exclusive features. FortKnoxster allows everybody to use this platform for all their communications and data-storage needs. In doing so, it chose Distributed File Storage — this allows users to store their valuable data encrypted, and share/manage files and folders seamlessly, in an easy and straightforward manner.
“FortKnoxster has leveraged the use of the blockchain and sophisticated end-to-end encryption techniques into a user-friendly all-in-one communication platform, where users can communicate privately and safely, be it through the inbox, chat, phone/video calls, file-storage, etc. FortKnoxster eliminates the risk of hacks, cyber-threats, and centralized government surveillance.”
To make the most of what the Blockchain offers, FortKnoxster decided to move its centralized trust of digital identities to a decentralized one, especially the Ethereum blockchain, using its smart contracts.
FortKnoxster has a clear goal: to protect communications and data from cyber-criminals — and at the same time maintain a very high level of privacy in all the operations it facilitates
Try the demo version of FortKnoxster and find out more about the benefits of communicating through this encrypted platform on our official website.
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