|Original author(s)||Juan Benet and Protocol Labs|
|Initial release||February 2015|
0.18.1 / 2023-01-30
|License||MIT license, Apache license 2.0|
|Part of a series on|
|Video sharing sites|
|File sharing networks|
|Anonymous file sharing|
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The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a protocol, hypermedia and file sharing peer-to-peer network for storing and sharing data in a distributed file system. IPFS uses content-addressing to uniquely identify each file in a global namespace connecting IPFS hosts.
IPFS can among others replace the location based hypermedia server protocols http and https to distribute the World Wide Web.
IPFS allows users to host and receive content in a manner similar to BitTorrent. As opposed to a centrally located server, IPFS is built around a decentralized system of user-operators who hold a portion of the overall data, creating a resilient system of file storage and sharing. Any user in the network can serve a file by its content address, and other peers in the network can find and request that content from any node who has it using a distributed hash table (DHT).
In contrast to BitTorrent, IPFS aims to create a single global network. This means that if two users publish a block of data with the same hash, the peers downloading the content from "user 1" will also exchange data with the ones downloading it from "user 2". IPFS aims to replace protocols used for static webpage delivery by using gateways which are accessible with HTTP. Users may choose not to install an IPFS client on their device and instead use a public gateway. A list of these gateways is maintained on the IPFS GitHub page.
IPFS was created by Juan Benet, who later founded Protocol Labs in May 2014.
IPFS was launched in an alpha version in February 2015, and by October of the same year was described by TechCrunch as "quickly spreading by word of mouth."
To develop IPFS, in 2017 Protocol Labs launched its own cryptocurrency named Filecoin. The first issue was for $257 million. The token sale took place on the Coinlist platform, which was founded by Protocol Labs together with AngelList. As the developers noted at the time, the goal of Filecoin was to create economic incentives for IPAD users using cryptocurrency.
In June 2019, Protocol Labs organized the first IPFS event in Barcelona, which resulted in collaboration with Netflix, Opera, Microsoft and Cloudflare.
Network service provider Cloudflare started using IPFS in 2018 and launched its own gateway in the system in 2022.
In March 2020, the Opera browser provided access to the centralized resources of the Unstoppable Domains provider by hosting content in IPFS.
At the beginning of 2021, the IPFS protocol integrated Brave.
According to the statistics of the BuiltWith service, as of October 5, 2022, IPFS was used by about 6,500 sites around the world, of which just under a third are located in the United States. This list includes the decentralized Uniswap exchange, the App Radar data service for decentralized applications, and the DAO Maker platform for cryptocurrency startups.
ipfs://links to access data on the IPFS network.
Phishing attacks have also been distributed through Cloudflare's IPFS gateway since July 2018. The phishing scam HTML is stored on IPFS, and displayed via Cloudflare's gateway. The connection shows as secure via a Cloudflare SSL certificate.
The IPStorm botnet, first detected in June 2019, uses IPFS so it can hide its command-and-control amongst the flow of legitimate data on the IPFS network. Security researchers had worked out previously the theoretical possibility of using IPFS as a botnet command-and-control system.