The transformation of the Internet has occurred in pronounced shifts. After the first iteration of the web provided worldwide access for the first time, web 2.0 platforms and products exponentially advanced the capabilities of web-based devices. From email to social media, the fundamental use-cases of the modern Internet required technological advancements that went beyond the first version of the web’s capabilities. Similarly, over recent years web 2.0 solutions like HTTP have begun to show their weaknesses, resulting in data breaches, inefficiencies, and the corruption of sensitive data at the highest levels. These breakdowns have resulted in significant losses to companies, the environment, and consumer trust.
In the world of social media, platforms like Nexopia and MySpace enjoyed initial success as first-movers, however the next wave of social media platforms ushered in by tech giants like Facebook and Twitter have defined the era. Much like the data breaches that have resulted in the loss of information regarding millions of users and customers, recent breakdowns in the operations of these prominent social media sites have forced consumers to question their collective reliance on major corporations.
“Data is stored in centralized servers and accessed by location-based addressing. This makes it easier to distribute, manage, secure the data, and to scale the capacity of both servers and clients. However there are many weaknesses in the realms of security, privacy and efficiency: control of the server translates to control of the data. This means your data can be accessed, altered and removed by any party with control of the server; this could be an entity with legitimate authority over the server or a malicious hacker.” — Kojo Addaquay, Hacker Noon
As the next generation of online technologies begin to grab attention and market share, major companies like IBM and Microsoft are embracing the future, committing research and development towards peer-to-peer technologies such as IPFS. Meanwhile, challengers are beginning to emerge as web 3.0 innovations create new means of scaling and implementing real-world solutions. In order to address the common issues of past iterations of the web, developers have begun to unveil innovative solutions like Blockchain and IPFS that have the potential to transform modern industries. Just as Bitcoin was a direct result of the 2008 financial crisis, next-generation technologies like IPFS are designed to solve the most critical issues in data storage and management.
InterPlanetary File System
InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) offers a potential solution to a number of the issues with existing system architectures and technologies. While HTTP has provided a basis for the internet via client-server relationships, the rise of peer-to-peer based networks has enabled a new means of sharing and manipulating data. IPFS leverages peer-to-peer based technologies to create a new data system architecture capable of delivering the functionality necessary in a web 3.0 universe. The technology uses a generalized version of the BitTorrent protocol called BitSwap in order to achieve peer-to-peer transfer of data between of nodes which enables a secure network for data communication. Unlike BitTorrent, IPFS uses a single, global swarm of peers, that for a unified and self-coordinating network without the need for trackers. Using Merkle Tree and the Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), IPFS is capable of providing remote and local access to data with full transparency and integrity.
While IPFS is a relatively new technology, companies and open source organizations have begun to develop tools to enhance the functionality it has enabled. Temporal, an enterprise-grade platform developed by RTrade Technologies, enables IPFS functionality through an intuitive API that can be easily integrated into any application stack. Temporal provides integral IPFS tools including publishing, search, key management, uploads, and pinning service.
RTrade is a peer-to-peer software development and consulting company creating products like Temporal to provide the next generation of web 3.0 solutions. Temporal’s API is helping like companies like Chainlink, Trusted Blockchain and exeDAO work to modernize enterprise data infrastructures.
In part two of our IPFS education series, we will discuss the nuances of the technology and the potential applications in modern industries.
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