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IPFS is a decentralized system to access websites, applications, files, and data using content addressing. IPFS stands for InterPlanetary File System. The fundamental idea underlying in this technology is to change the way a network of people and computers can exchange information amongst themselves.

Key Features

  • Distributed/decentralized system
  • Uses content addressing
  • Participation

A decentralized system lets you access information or a file from multiple locations, which aren't managed by a single organization. The pro's of decentralization are - access to multiple locations to access data, easy to dodge content censorship, and faster file transfer.

IPFS addresses a file by its content instead of its location. A content identifier is the cryptographic hash of the content at that address. It is unique to the content it came in from and permits you to verify if you got what you had requested for.

For IPFS to work well, active participation of people is necessary. If you are sharing files using IPFS, you need to have copies of the shared files available on multiple computers, which are powered on and running IPFS. In a nutshell, many people provide access to each others files and participate in making them available when requested. Note that if you have downloaded a file using IPFS, by default your computer will share it further with others participants to share further.

How Does it Work?

As discussed earlier, IPFS is a p2p (peer-to-peer) storage network. The IPFS ecosystem works with the following fundamental principles.

  1. Unique identification via content addressing
  2. Content linking via directed acrylic graphs (DAGs)
  3. Content discovery via distributed hash tables (DHTs)

Suggested Reading

For more in-depth knowledge of the IPFS system refer to the IPFS Conceptual documentation.