Ethereum’s .org website now uploaded on IPFS: What is IPFS and how does it differ from blockchain?
The popular Ethereum Foundation website Ethereum.org is now operating on the Interplanetary File System (IPFS), according to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. Many users confuse IPFS as a blockchain network. The closest system resembling IPFS is HTTP; simply put, IPFS is a decentralized version of the web.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) March 31, 2020
IPFS is not a blockchain, but it can interoperate with a blockchain
IPFS itself is not a blockchain — it is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to make the web faster, safer, and more open.
For instance, if one user requests a piece of data on IPFS network, the node of the data uploader then shares the information with the node that requests it.
As ProtoSchool describes it:
“As a peer-to-peer data storage system, IPFS allows each user (peer) to host whatever data they’d like locally. When you first add new content to IPFS, you’re really just setting it up on your own machine in a format suitable for sharing via the IPFS protocol.”
When a user uploads data to the Ethereum network, as an example, the hash is then embedded on-chain always pointing to the immutable off-chain data on IPFS. Since the blockchain can’t handle large data IPFS solves this, providing the much-needed data scalability on the blockchain.
However, on IPFS, the data is stored locally on the system of the uploader, and is shared to other users on the protocol.
Structurally, IPFS is more similar to a torrent protocol than a blockchain network. The main advantage of IPFS is that unlike the Bittorrent protocol, as an example, it works as a swarm of node operators, making data processing more efficient.
Here’s why IPFS works well with blockchain
On an immutable blockchain network like Ethereum, IPFS users can upload hashes pointing to the data stored to the data stored on IPFS protocol to Ethereum. Since they are merely links, they do not impose significant pressure on the blockchain network like raw data would.
IPFS was also designed in a way that allows it to seamlessly interoperate with blockchain networks, and make them readily accessible.
The IPFS website reads:
“IPFS lets you address large amounts of data and place the immutable, permanent links into blockchain transactions. This timestamps and secures content without having to put the data itself on the chain.”
Over the long run, as the trend shifts from centralized to decentralized systems starting with the shift from normal currencies to Bitcoin, IPFS and the decentralized web would provide an alternative to the existing web system.
Some countries, like Russia and China, have already developed a centralized version of HTTP called the Chinese New IP, which makes systems like IPFS more favorable.
Derrick Foote, CEO of enterprise IPFS platform Temporal told CryptoSlate:
“New breakthroughs like Temporal’s S3X are now allowing Endless IPFS Dynamic Possibilities such as Streaming Videos, Host Dynamic Websites and more. By changing the S3 endpoint your application uses, S3X will allow you to use IPFS immediately. Only a single line change is required in order to achieve full IPFS capabilities seamlessly. Aside from blockchain IPFS can be utilized in many different forms allowing us to truly build Web 3.0 and fulfill the vision of a safer and more transparent web for us all.”
Want to get started with IPFS?
For users who don’t want to run IPFS nodes and would like to get started uploading files, folders/websites or even building dapps on top of IPFS, there are pinning services such as Temporal which gives you 3GB for free, Pinata and Eternum. These services make it easy for any novice to simply click a few buttons and getting started using IPFS.