IPFS Blockchain

3. January 2019
Time2 min read

The Internet ecosystem is moving towards centralized curatorial enclaves.

This means that you have less control over access and distribution of content.

How can we fix this?

​IPFS and blockchain seem like a good bet.

Let’s explain IPFS.

Interplanetary File System is a peer-to-peer protocol. Consider it a system where you can access and retrieve files by nodes that store hashes.

Take this example:

Alice wants to send a file to Bob.

Bob lives across the world, so Bob is offline.

When Bob is online, Alice is offline.

What if there was a secure way to store the files online?

Alice uploads the file to IPFS. A hash is generated for this file and its now available on an IPFS node.

Now, all Bob needs to do to receive the file is call the hash from the node.

Bob has now received a copy of the file from Alice.

Now there’s a problem.

As long as anyone has the hash, they can access the file in the system.

How do we make sure that Bob and only Bob receives Alice’s file?

Let’s add encryption into this.

Alice encrypts the file for Bob with Bob’s public-key.

When Alice uploads the encrypted file, a hash is generated for this file.

Now, Bob downloads the Alice’s file, and is able to decrypt it using a private-key.

As long as Alice and Bob keep their private keys private, they can share files securely.

Encryption is a way to secure the availability of content.

But hashes are generated for each file, what should we do with them?

Attach IPFS to a blockchain.

Blockchains can’t store much data, but they can store hashes.

Because of the way a blockchain is set up, each block is chained together using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of its predecessor. If the blocks themselves contain more hashes, then the cost of modifying the information without a hash is extremely costly.

Any drawbacks? Yes.

If you’re distributing a file, if the node containing it dies then the file is unavailable. It is in your interest to preserve your file by distributing it to other nodes.

So what does this all have to do with curatorial enclaves and our ability to share content?

We can use this to build a Content Delivery Network.​

“8. As a linked (and encrypted) communications platform.

9. As an integrity checked CDN for large files (without SSL).

10. As an encrypted CDN.

11. On webpages, as a web CDN.

12. As a new Permanent Web where links do not die.”

It’s time for a new platform.