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IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) is a content-addressed distributed file system. IPFS is also a catch-all phrase for a variety of inter-related projects maintained by Protocol Labs. The goal of IPFS is to replace HTTP as the dominate hypermedia protocol on the internet.

This Stallman pic has the following IPFS multihash: QmbtzK4j3Qa9RvLkP3K4dYoptdopY181QL96deHtvYuX4h.

The IPFS Stack

  • IPFS
  • Multiformats
    • Multihash - self-describing hashes
    • Multiaddr - self-describing network addresses
    • Multibase - self-describing base encodings
    • Multicodec - self-describing serialization
    • Multistream - self-describing stream network protocols
    • Multigram (WIP) - self-describing packet network protocols
  • IPLD - Abstract Data Model
  • libp2p - Networking and Peer Discovery
  • Filecoin - Incentive Layer

"Hey pal, what are you pulling here, huh? Multi-what?" may be what you're saying.

IPFS uses multihashes to address data. The hash addresses it's own hash algorithm.

The first two digits of a multihash identify the hash algorithm. IPFS uses SHA256 which is represented as Qm. The rest of a multihash is not simply the output of SHA-256. Try it yourself, it's not.

There's a lot of chunking, hashing, and other magic going on behind the scenes. The end result is you get something that looks like this QmRW3V9znzFW9M5FYbitSEvd5dQr which is a multihash.

Multiformats, libp2p and IPLD are separate projects from IPFS that can be used independently of IPFS.

External links