Explained: How IPFS+Filecoin guarantees content persistence

The solution to these problems is a decentralized storage stack that solves addressing and persistence problems, providing a more complete and resilient Internet experience for all users.

The sustainability of content on the Internet faces two fundamental problems: addressing and persistence.

Addressing refers to the way Internet users can find the content they are looking for online. Today, the Web favors location addressing, where content is found through its location, over content addressing (which allows Web participants to confidently and consistently ensure that their content does not change over time without an explicit record of the change). Persistence means that these network participants can continue to access content in perpetuity without fear that it will disappear or become unavailable for any reason.

The consequences of these problems are not theoretical and are experienced by Internet users on a daily basis. As the Web has evolved over the past few decades, the vulnerability of location addressing and persistence has become more apparent. Try visiting the sites you loved as a kid – GeoCities, Blingee, Myspace, etc. You will find that many of these sites are difficult to find or have been removed altogether. When Internet users are faced with error messages such as 404 page not found, they are experiencing the drawbacks of location addressing and lack of content persistence on the Internet today. If content (images, text, web pages, videos, etc.) has been changed, deleted or abandoned, it becomes unrecoverable.

This is not how it should be. Content on the public web should be available to anyone at any time, in perpetuity.

The solution to these problems is a decentralized storage stack that solves the problems of addressing and persistence, providing a more complete and resilient Internet experience for all users. IPFS and Filecoin together provide these guarantees for the network and its users.

IPFS for Content Addressing
Broadly speaking, web browsing today operates through what is known as location addressing. Location addressing retrieves online information from a specific location on the network – that is, from behind a URL – however this has its obvious drawbacks. Location addressing is centralized, and whoever controls the location controls the content. Moreover, anything behind a location-addressed URL can be changed. The language of the article, the color of the digital artwork or an attribute that records the identity of the location-addressed URL is available.

The correct solution is content addressing. Content-based addressing allows you to access data based on the unique fingerprint of that data: no matter where it is stored, if you have the unique fingerprint of that data, you should be able to retrieve that content. In content-based addressing (IPFS), content is no longer retrieved from a single location on the network. Instead, content is retrieved from any participating node on the IPFS network that has the content you requested. Content fragments are shared by many parties, and content can always be retrieved entirely from a single node (such as a fixed service node) or collected piecemeal from multiple nodes.

Explained: How IPFS+Filecoin guarantees content persistence

However, content addressing is only part of the solution. Just because information can be retrieved via IPFS wherever it is stored does not mean it is guaranteed to last forever. To have a complete solution, content persistence is key.

The Value of Content Persistence
Once the retrieval of online content is repositioned around content-based addressing, the question becomes: How do we ensure that content is always available? In other words, how do we ensure that content persists? Without reliable storage of content over time, a similar problem occurs today with a fragmented, incomplete and 404 web.

As with most solutions around data and information, there are centralized and decentralized options. The centralized option is to choose a service that promises to always store content in its servers. Yet centralized storage doesn’t enable true persistence because it suffers from a single centralized point of failure.

Decentralized content persistence is the only way to ensure that content remains available over time. By ensuring that completely independent, interoperable nodes are all storing data with strong encryption guarantees, information is protected from becoming unavailable due to the disruption of any central service. The question is: How is this achieved? Filecoin is building the foundation for content persistence, and a set of tools and services to help accomplish this task.

Filecoin for Content Persistence
Filecoin is an incentive layer that complements the content addressing solution of IPFS by providing content persistence. IPFS ensures that content does not change over time without an explicit record and solves the problem of unresolvable URLs. filecoin ensures that content-based addressing remains resilient over time, ensuring that the content being retrieved is always available.

Filecoin achieves this mission through novel cryptography, consensus protocols, and game-theoretic incentives to provide truly decentralized storage. At the heart of it all is Filecoin’s unique approach to storage validation.

Filecoin’s storage verification system solves a previously intractable decentralized storage problem. How do storage providers prove that they really store the data they say they do through time and that they dedicate unique physical space to it?

In centralized storage services, you have to put your trust in reputable companies that guarantee the integrity and security of their systems. On the Filecoin network, anyone in the world can offer storage space. But to maintain trust on a decentralized network like Filecoin, you need a way to build trust in the global network itself.

To verify storage on Filecoin’s decentralized network, you need to prove two things. First, you need to prove that the correct set of data is stored in a given storage space. Second, you need to prove that the same set of data was stored continuously for a given period of time.

Filecoin’s proof algorithm performs these verification tasks. Replication proof proves that a given storage provider is storing a physically unique copy of the customer’s original data, while spatial proof proves that the customer’s data is stored continuously over a period of time.

In addition to the proof system, the Filecoin network relies on game-theoretic incentives to discourage malicious or negligent behavior. All storage providers who agree to store data on the Filecoin network must provide collateral in the form of Filecoin tokens when an agreement is reached. Any storage provider that fails a proof-of-time check is penalized by losing a portion of its collateral and is ultimately blocked from providing storage to customers again.

Together, novel cryptography, consensus protocols, and game-theoretic incentives enable Filecoin to provide truly decentralized storage.

Filecoin has incorporated content persistence into its core mission, which is to “store the most important information for humanity”. And it is well on its way to achieving that mission. So far, the network supports 5.8 Eib of storage.

Content Addressing and Persistence: NFT
One of the fastest growing content types in the crypto space today is the NFT. However, NFTs have been the subject of scrutiny for usability and persistence issues, all of which boil down to the concepts of content addressing and persistence. When an NFT is minted and traded, what is actually being talked about is the record of (for example) an artwork. The content and metadata (color, shape, sound, etc.) of that artwork does not automatically exist on the blockchain. The “content” refers to the image itself. “Metadata” refers to descriptive text, artist information, CID of the actual content, etc. If the content and metadata of an NFT cannot be reliably stored, this leaves many NFTs with addressing and persistence problems. Using IPFS to address NFTs is rapidly becoming the norm, and a large and growing ecosystem of fixed services ensures the availability of all IPFS data.

Explained: How IPFS+Filecoin guarantees content persistence

Protocol Labs recently launched nft.storage to make handling content addressing and persistence as easy as possible, especially for NFTs. nft.storage allows anyone to generate metadata for casting and storing their NFTs on Filecoin for free, with just a few lines of code. Developers sign up for an account, generate an API access key, and can use a simple client library to generate metadata and store their NFTs permanently.

Not only are NFTs stored via nft.storage available through the IPFS network, they are also protected by Filecoin and will not disappear, which has inspired storage providers around the world to continue storing NFT content and metadata for the long term.

Explained: How IPFS+Filecoin guarantees content persistence

Evolving Network Players
The protocol that keeps content stored for the long term is now an economic relationship between individuals and the nodes that keep it online. The model has proven to be hugely sustainable for the Filecoin ecosystem. However, the ecosystem is also preparing for more people who want to store information online and create solutions to accommodate the more decentralized needs of ownership and payment. By providing storage for developers of NFT applications, nft.storage is on the front lines of that role, encouraging best practices for NFT by making it as easy as possible to implement and by removing economic considerations for creators and collectors.

The wave of other ecosystem partners will continue to emerge to incentivize persistence of critical data by adopting different economic roles in the IPFS and Filecoin ecosystems. These ecosystem partners will make the fundamental relationship between individuals and storage providers more diverse, flexible, and sustainable. dataDAO is on the horizon and has the ability to shape the evolution of data storage and payments on distributed systems. This term describes a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) dedicated to the storage, maintenance, processing, and (possibly) licensing of potentially massive datasets. By assuming technical and financial responsibility for storing datasets, a DataDAO can effectively monetize critical data while remaining true to a broader commitment to decentralized content persistence. Other ecosystem partners, such as Ocean Protocol and Filehive, do not operate as DAOs, but play a similar role as ecosystem partners, relying on Filecoin to maintain the data they are monetizing and licensing to others.

Today’s Internet, while incredibly powerful, has long exposed key weaknesses in the way it stores and maintains data. Content addressing and persistence are at the root of this problem, specifically, centralized content addressing and persistence, and only through decentralized, verifiable solutions can we ensure that our online information remains secure and available indefinitely, and IPFS and Filecoin together solve the addressing and persistence problem.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/explained-how-ipfsfilecoin-guarantees-content-persistence/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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