WEB3 File Storage. Advantages Over Traditional Storage?

Web3 File Storage


Traditional file storage still dominates the current version of the internet. But this is starting to change. Web3 and IPFS/Filecoin storage offers decentralization, enhanced security, scalability, persistence/permanence, and improved content control. Lets break them down here:

1. Decentralization

Traditional data storage methods which rely on centralized servers are susceptible to outages. That’s a challenge that has long plagued the current version of the internet. IPFS brings decentralization to data storage as it adopts a peer-to-peer model where each node in a network has a copy of data, just like on a blockchain.

When data is uploaded, IPFS breaks it down into small pieces, which are hashed and given CIDs (Content Identifiers). These pieces are then spread through the network, with each participating node keeping a cached copy similar to the initial node. As such, every data uploaded to the network is decentralized and thus accessible even when the original node is offline.

Textile, a software company that creates tools for DApp developers, integrates IPFS in its storage service, while Powergate allows developers to store data in a decentralized manner with replication and redundancy. This strategy helps them create more resilient applications.

2. Enhanced Security

Based on the IBM 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report, data breaches cost companies an average of $4.35 million. That’s enough to hire a cybersecurity engineer with an annual salary of $160,000 for 27 years. Companies struggle to keep their data secure, oblivious to the inherent capabilities of IPFS to enhance their data security.

IPFS uses cryptographic hash functions to identify files, ensuring content integrity and secure data transfer. This method eliminates the risk of data alteration because the slightest change in content generates a different hash. While it does not provide encryption natively, developers can implement additional layers of encryption to prevent unauthorized parties from reading the data.

Pinata, (see our post here) a data hosting service built on IPFS, leverages its key security feature, content addressing using cryptographic hashes, to allow developers and businesses to upload, store and manage data. In addition, data is encrypted on the client side before being uploaded on the platform, ensuring only authorized parties have access.

3. High Performance and Scalability

The internet is functional, but it’s not always at its best. Internet users, especially heavy users like gamers, often have to contend with latency depending on their location and internet package. On the other hand, data storage providers might struggle when there’s a sudden spike in traffic that their servers can’t handle, causing them to crash.

First, IPFS’s peer-to-peer architecture enables parallel content fetching from multiple nodes simultaneously. The more nodes join the network, the more bandwidth it can handle. Secondly, its geo-location awareness design allows content to be fetched from the nearest nodes. Lastly, content addressing and caching reduces the need to retrieve data from the source repeatedly. All these factors improve performance and scalability. As long as new nodes continue to join the network, it’s infinitely scalable.

4. Persistence and Permanence

In the current web infrastructure, there’s always a risk of content removal from the original server either because of a lack of payment for hosting, data breaches, or system failure that leads to data loss. When it happens, its results in broken links and loss of access.

IPFS addresses this problem through its content-addressed model. Files are identified and retrieved based on their hash, not their location, ensuring persistence. Even if the original provider goes offline, the file can still be accessed from other nodes that hold a copy. This feature supports the permanence of digital content, preserving it for future generations.

5. Improved Content Control

The internet is run by a few major companies that own most of the data storage infrastructure in the world. That means control over data distribution is in the hands of a few. We can only do so much if our data is removed from these platforms.

However, if we leverage IPFS to store data, we will have more control over its distribution. Whenever data is uploaded to IPFS by a provider, it is fetched by others who store a copy of the data on their nodes. Similarly, when you download content from IPFS, you become an extra storage node in the network. This system democratizes content distribution enabling users to share information directly and maintain control over their data.

One application that is building on IPFS is Bluesky, a decentralized social media platform, that uses IPFS for multimedia content users upload. According to a post by Protocol Labs, Bluesky  “social networking offers creators independence from platforms- developers the freedom to build, and users a choice in their experience”.

6. Easier Data Archiving

After years of operation, companies amass a large amount of data they no longer use. Deleting this data might not be an option for them, so they use physical storage devices or pay centralized cloud storage platforms to archive it. Both strategies have disadvantages, risk of damage or loss for physical devices, and costly, centralized services for cloud storage.

With IPFS, archiving becomes significantly easier and more efficient. The system uses deduplication, storing identical parts of data only once, which, combined with the version control feature, makes IPFS ideal for data archiving. It ensures that even historical versions of files are preserved while reducing storage needs.

The InterPlanetary Wayback is an excellent example of how this works. It’s similar to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine but uses IPFS to archive the web. It stores snapshots of websites on the network, assigning each a unique CID and distributing it across multiple nodes to ensure resilience. People will access historical versions of the web without relying on centralized servers.

7. Offline Browsing

Offline browsing is not a new concept. Mobile app and website developers understand how important it is to enhance user experience. It involves downloading data from the internet when connected and saving it for offline access.

IPFS takes offline browsing to the next level. It enables users to store and retrieve content directly from their local cache of nearby nodes enabling browsing without a continuous internet connection. The approach is well-suited for applications prioritizing accessibility in environments with intermittent connectivity.

The Future of the Internet Is Decentralized

Undoubtedly, blockchain technology will play a significant role in Web3 because it can decentralize any digital asset. IPFS technology functions similarly by decentralizing storage resources. Notably, it offers numerous benefits that will revolutionize how we interact with data online. It promotes a secure, resilient, accessible, user-centric internet. And for those reasons, it will shape the future of the internet as we know it.

Want to add Web3 storage solutions to your business or application? File storage on IPFS & Filecoin is 90% less expensive than traditional storage solutions. It is worth investigating. Fill out the form at Filecoin.io. We will see you on the scalable side of the internet that we are calling Web3!