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Author Topic: IPFS - Is this the future of the internet?  (Read 1087 times)

Deozaan

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IPFS - Is this the future of the internet?
« on: October 05, 2015, 02:49:15 PM »
I just heard about IPFS last night. It sounds really neat and useful.

From my limited understanding of it, it's like a combination of the following ideas:

  • BitTorrent
  • Git
  • BitCoin

The content on the internet will be distributed P2P such as how BitCoin is owned by nobody and everybody. The content is immutable like Git blobs, which means even if the "originating website" goes down or is abandoned, it will always be accessible forever on the distributed system.

I learned about it from this TechCrunch article

As a peer-to-peer distributed file system that seeks to connect all computing devices with the same system of files, IPFS seeks to improve on HTTP in several ways. Two, Juan told me in a recent conversation, are key:

“We use content-addressing so content can be decoupled from origin servers, and instead, can be stored permanently. This means content can be stored and served very close to the user, perhaps even from a computer in the same room. Content-addressing allows us to verify the data too, because other hosts may be untrusted. And once the user’s device has the content, it can be cached indefinitely.”

IPFS also addresses security problems that plague our HTTP-based Internet: Content-addressing and content-signing protect IPFS-based sites, making DDoS attacks impossible. And to help mitigate the damage of discontinued websites, IPFS also archives important public-record content, and can easily store important, public-record content.

IPFS’s final core improvement is decentralized distribution, which makes it possible to access Internet content despite sporadic Internet service or even while offline: “We make websites and web apps have no central origin server,” Juan explained. “They can be distributed just like the Bitcoin network is distributed.” This is actually something that HTTP simply cannot do, and would especially be a boon to networks without top-notch connectivity (i.e., the whole developing world), and for access outside of metropolitan areas.

Here are a few videos demonstrating the idea and use of IPFS:







Does anyone else here who knows more about this or the other similar technologies it's built upon (such as BitCoin) have an opinion on this?

« Last Edit: October 09, 2015, 04:03:02 AM by Deozaan »

ewemoa

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Re: IPFS - Is this the future of the internet?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2015, 05:32:51 AM »
So, where's Ren? ;)

Renegade

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Re: IPFS - Is this the future of the internet?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2015, 02:38:48 AM »
So, where's Ren? ;)

Still thinking... I need to have a bit more time to have a look at this.

There have been a few attempts at "storage driven mining" where you provide "proof of storage" or something like that instead of traditional mining. It's a good idea as it allows you to purchase storage that you can be assured will be around so long as the network is, i.e. there's no single point of failure and it is massively redundant.

Overall, it's a great idea. The only question now is about the implementation. Is this one it? Dunno. Need to watch the vids still and look into it more, which won't be for a week or two. :(
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40hz

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Re: IPFS - Is this the future of the internet?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2015, 07:29:25 AM »
Seems promising. Any moves towards decentralization and redundant storage are generally good ones. But, like everything in tech, the devil is in the details. As well as the ultimate implementation.

About the only real issue I think it may have is if it collides with some of the crazy regulations that either already exist or are being proposed. For instance, how will this fit in with the EU's "right to be forgotten" laws. As a decentralized system, there's no direct route to establishing who the content holder is. And no clear lines of responsibility. So it would be very difficult to order the takedown of any content - legal or otherwise.

I suppose they could pass yet another law that makes everyone on the IPFS swarm equally liable for everything on the swarm. But that's incredibly heavy-handed and obvious. And being obvious about what they're trying to accomplish is the last thing most governments want at this point when it comes to the Internet.

I too would be very interested in what Ren thinks about this. Because his technical and coding skills far exceed mine. An he's an even bigger cynic than me if such a thing is possible.  ;D

Renegade

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Re: IPFS - Is this the future of the internet?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2015, 01:21:47 AM »
Seems promising. Any moves towards decentralization and redundant storage are generally good ones. But, like everything in tech, the devil is in the details. As well as the ultimate implementation.

About the only real issue I think it may have is if it collides with some of the crazy regulations that either already exist or are being proposed. For instance, how will this fit in with the EU's "right to be forgotten" laws. As a decentralized system, there's no direct route to establishing who the content holder is. And no clear lines of responsibility. So it would be very difficult to order the takedown of any content - legal or otherwise.

I suppose they could pass yet another law that makes everyone on the IPFS swarm equally liable for everything on the swarm. But that's incredibly heavy-handed and obvious. And being obvious about what they're trying to accomplish is the last thing most governments want at this point when it comes to the Internet.

I too would be very interested in what Ren thinks about this. Because his technical and coding skills far exceed mine. An he's an even bigger cynic than me if such a thing is possible.  ;D

You flatter me~!  :-[

I think decentralisation is a great thing. And so what if it's beyond the control of THTSB (the powers that shouldn't be)? Good.

It would provide a very strong incentive for people to actually BEHAVE properly.

If you don't want pictures of you smoking crack during an orgy while doing a straight arm salute and kicking a puppy... hey... just don't do it. :P

The "lines of responsibility" then purely rest in the individual, with no nanny to mitigate the damage that people can do to themselves, or to mitigate their successes, which is arguably the more important thing. *cough* defense distributed *cough* Cody Wilson kicks ass *cough*

However, none of this is technical or coding related. It's simply about the virtues of decentralisation.

tl;dr -- Give people as much rope as they want, and let them either hang themselves or create wonderful systems of pulleys and stuff. :P


However, that's all pretty much moot as private keys determine who can see what. So you could post all the naked selfies that you want, but without those private keys, nobody could see them. The issue there is then whether or not you want to make a set of private keys publicly available, and then whether there's a set of keys to change permissions, etc. etc. etc.

Distributed and decentralised storage is coming. It's only a matter of *when*.


***********

For the issue of liability... again... it's a matter of keys. Those that store information can opt to never download keys, and thus remain ignorant and impartial. There is nothing illegal about having information that has had its entropy maximised (encrypted/compressed) and not having the ability to tell what it is. Random garbage is random garbage... until you can decrypt/decompress it.

There will be court battles over it though. Those that want to stop information will be on the wrong side of technology. You cannot stop it. Someone will figure out a way to make things even more opaque against TPTSB.


We're in for a wild ride over the next few years. :) (Stay tuned at http://techdirt.com for details!)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker