This post will explain what is InterPlanetary Filing System (IPFS) and the relationship between IPFS and Filecoin.
IPFS is a protocol and a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. Although it resembles the current BitTorrent network, IPFS has more advanced features that will allow it to eventually replace HTTP and create a better web for all of us. Filecoin is a distributed storage network that transforms cloud storage into an algorithmic market where tokens and blockchains are significant components. Storj, Sia, Wankeyun, etc. that are already running are all of this type of network. If IPFS doesn’t exist, Filecoin is very similar to these projects.
When you combine IPFS and Filecoin, everything changes for the better. Filecoin is an incentive layer that runs on top of IPFS. IPFS has a lot of node and storage requirements. We are all aware that a P2P network’s download speed increases with the number of nodes. Who would be willing to contribute so many nodes and storage if there were no incentive system? This is why Filecoin was created.
Filecoin can provide IPFS with a huge number of nodes. Filecoin simultaneously solves IPFS’s storage issue and has a sizable distributed storage space. So IPFS has a stronger advantage compared with HTTP.
The Filecoin protocol has two trading markets, data retrieval and data storage, where both parties can submit their needs in the market and complete a transaction. The Filecoin protocol token is also known as Filecoin (when you say Filecoin, you may say the Filecoin network, or you may say the Filecoin token). Its symbol is FIL. Together, Filecoin and IPFS can build the future and promote one another. They make a wonderful couple!
Table of Contents
What is IPFS?
The InterPlanetary Filing System (IPFS) is a P2Pp hypermedia protocol built by Protocol Labs. It is a decentralized service that uses an extensively distributed network of computers to host content.
Databases, websites, media files, documents, and apps are just a few examples of the many types and categories of hosted content that are possible. You can access any content stored in the IPFS network by entering a “link.” In actuality, obtaining content is carried out in a manner that is remarkably similar to that of opening a website by typing in its URL.
Similar to how blockchain networks use nodes to draw the computing power necessary to verify data, Additionally, IPFS deploys hundreds of thousands of nodes that make available their storage bandwidth to the network for the archival of data.
Nodes, which make up the IPFS network as a whole, are essentially individual computer systems for those who aren’t in the know. Since IPFS doesn’t require any centralized data storage, it can essentially do everything that centralized web2 platforms can.
Why Use IPFS?
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) will be replaced by the IPFS protocol as the default Internet protocol. A transmission protocol called HTTP handles network transmission issues. We are very familiar with the HTTP protocol. It has been in use for a very long time. A fantastic invention is the HTTP protocol. There wouldn’t be an Internet without the HTTP protocol. Since the Internet has grown, the HTTP protocol has gradually revealed a number of issues, and technology is constantly evolving.
Disadvantages of HTTP
- Low efficiency, high cost of use, serious waste of bandwidth resources
- Data loss, the average page life cycle is only 100 days
- A centralized network limits many development opportunities
- Heavy reliance on the backbone network, often causes service interruptions
- Another data transmission protocol is IPFS.
Advantages of IPFS
Compared with HTTP, it has the following advantages:
The client-server infrastructure currently uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) as the default request-response protocol. The HTTP protocol only points you in one direction, which is typically one server. On the other hand, the P2P model of IPFS allows you to simultaneously retrieve different pieces of content from multiple nodes (or computer systems). This leads to substantial savings in bandwidth spending, thus ensuring faster connectivity.
As of today, companies like Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud practically own any data we voluntarily choose to store in their web servers. They can restrict your access to your own content and ban you from their platforms at any time.
They could also give in to government pressure and lock you out, as is frequently the case in nations like China and Iran. In contrast, the P2P model in the IPFS network ensures complete decentralization, which in turn, ensures information availability regardless of any kind of censorship attempt.
IFPS deploys two measures to ensure that malicious actors can not tamper with any data or file on its network.
- Immutability to make all data uploaded to the nodes on the network unchangeable.
- Each file has a hash assigned to it. Similar to a fingerprint, the hash can only be found on that specific file. To ensure that you received the correct file, you can compare the hash code you receive with one you search for.
In addition, hackers lack a target because of the decentralized model that underpins everything.
The benefits we previously observed in earlier-generation P2P platforms like BitTorrent are ensured by the IPFS protocol’s emphasis on decentralization. Each individual node on the network retains copies of a file. Then, when the corresponding hash, a distinctive locator code for that specific file, is requested, they send these data. The process is similar to the “seeding” of a torrent file (More on that below).
Note that when a file is first uploaded on IPFS, the network makes only one copy of it, along with one hash. Because of this, comparatively much less data will need to be processed. Less demanding storage requirements result from that. Additionally, due to its superior efficiency, IPFS is able to function with (relatively) subpar internet connectivity, making its network widely accessible.
IPFS is both a network and a protocol. For 2.5 years, the actual network has been operational. The IPFS protocol is not an invention, just like the BTC network. The majority of the work was completed using the predecessors as a guide. IPFS integrated the following existing systems:
- DHT (distributed hash tables): distributed hash table
- Git: version management tool
- BitTorrent: Data Exchange Protocol
- SFS (self-certified filesystems): self-certified filesystem
How is the IPFS Protocol Designed and What is Inside It
1. Node Identity
Using the encrypted hash produced by the node’s public key, each IPFS node has a distinct identity id that must be used for all node operations. This identity id functions as the node’s network ID card.
The network’s hundreds of other nodes must communicate with the IPFS node. In reality, the network architecture is so complicated that IPFS uses ICE NAT penetration technology to guarantee network connectivity.
The IPFS network uses DHT for routing, which is adapted from S/Kademlia so that a node can locate other nodes quickly.
4. Data Exchange Protocol
BitSwap, a data exchange protocol used by Ipfs, is based on the BitTorrent protocol. This protocol uses two lists, the desired data block (want_list) and the data block I have (have_list) to exchange data with other nodes.
5. Object Storage
IPFS stores data using the Merkle DAG structure, which endows IPFS with content addressing, tamper-proof, and deduplication functions.
6. Version Control System
IPFS adds The Merkle DAG and now has Git version control, giving the IPFS file time travel capabilities and making it simple to view the file’s change log. Isn’t it cool?
7. Self-Certifying Naming System
IPFS uses the SFS self-certification system to name files, and at the same time provides IPNS to solve the propagation problem, and is also compatible with the existing domain name system.
A distributed storage network called Filecoin converts cloud storage into an algorithmic market. Filecoin is an incentive layer running on IPFS. Running distributed applications, implementing smart contract systems, and storing almost all data are all possible with Filecoin.
What Does Filecoin Contain?
This is the foundation of Filecoin, like other blockchain initiatives and block and chain are at the center of everything.
2. Trading Market
The retrieval market and the storage market are the two trading markets for Filecoin. The two markets are where miners and users exchange value through transactions.
3. Consensus Mechanism
Filecoin suffers from the same issue of who is responsible for maintaining accounts for transactions and blockchains. The consensus mechanism is a challenge that must be overcome. Here, I would like to give Filecoin praise. The previous blockchain’s consensus mechanism, which was heavily reliant on energy and computing resources, was abandoned by Filecoin. Filecoin created a consensus mechanism by reusing significant work. This is PFT (power fault tolerance), an evolutionary version of the Byzantine Fault Tolerant Mechanism. The voting weights are then used by the nodes to elect one or more leader nodes, who then create new blocks and broadcast them to the network using the network’s storage capacity and the space-time certificates they have generated. Filecoin uses the DAG structure as its block data structure.
4. Smart Contracts
Data storage put and data acquisition get are the two fundamental APIs used by Filecoin. File contracts (File Contracts) are supported by Filecoinon the basis of these two operations, giving users more granular control. Filecoin combines the bridge and contract systems, makes Filecoin’s storage system available to other blockchain systems, and enables Filecoin to utilize the features of other blockchains.
The Application Value of Filecoin
1. Make data storage safer and more convenient. Without centralized data management, data is more secure and difficult to be spied on or copied. The distributed data storage of the whole network reduces the loss and damage of data caused by wars, natural disasters, man-made and other reasons, which is conducive to the permanent preservation of valuable data.
2. Perfect support for applications in the blockchain field. The essence of blockchain is distributed and decentralized. One of the development bottlenecks is distributed storage capacity. Especially for most of the current basic public chains, how to store a large amount of data on their main chain is Urgent problems. The future distributed application (DAPP) wants to become a super application widely used by the public, and it must also solve the storage problem. Therefore, the distributed storage of IPFS is likely to become the infrastructure of the blockchain industry in the future, which brings us huge room for imagination.
Filecoin may become the infrastructure of all blockchain projects, and EOS has clearly stated that it wants to access IPFS. The last chapter of the Filecoin white paper mentions the “bridging” function, which allows Filecoin to run smart contracts for other blockchain projects, and also allows other blockchains to run Filecoin smart contracts.
3. Reduce storage costs and bandwidth costs. Traditional centralized data storage relies on a large number of IDC computer rooms, and storage resources and bandwidth resources are very expensive. IPFS distributed storage makes full use of the public’s storage resources and bandwidth resources, which is similar to the concept of sharing economy, which increases the utilization rate of resources and reduces the cost of use.
The investment value of Filecion digital currency The Filecion project has its own token FIL. Users need to pay FIL to store data. The FIL can be issued to storage resource contributors (miners) to encourage the public to participate in contributing their own storage resources. This greatly increases the number of nodes in the network globally, turning the entire distributed storage network into a huge storage space. With the cooperation of the whole set of mechanisms, IPFS has a stronger development advantage in competition with HTTP.