Decentralized Web Protocol IPFS Has Its Biggest Update So Far

Decentralized file- and web-hosting protocol InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) announced its largest upgrade so far.

According to an announcement shared with Cointelegraph, the developers will release IPFS version 0.5. on April 28.

IPFS 0.5 reportedly makes uploading new data 25 times faster, fetching content two to five times faster, while finding nodes that have it will be two to six times quicker after the network performs the upgrade.

IPFS uses a distributed hash table (DHT) to index its files and allow their navigation. In IPFS 0.5 the DHT implementation was overhauled with improved logic, which resulted in a more efficient system:

“This has made searching faster and more efficient — meaning significantly fewer dials, faster queries, and less bandwidth for the network as a whole.”

IPFS project lead Molly Mackinlay told Cointelegraph that finding and fetching content faster “will significantly improve the user experience of all apps and websites built on IPFS.”

Mackinlay believes that this update is particularly important for decentralized applications that require fast updates, content routing, and data transfers. Furthermore, she explained that faster announcing and adding times will decrease the system resources needed to run IPFS, which will make service operations cheaper for developers. She continued:

“There’s also a ton of smaller features – like support for .eth domains, tools for fast data importing and exporting, and developer tooling improvements. […] Apps like social networks, distributed video players, and package managers will see big improvements from IPFS 0.5 as they’re able to find and fetch data faster.”

Lastly, Mackinlay also pointed out that there’s still much space for improvement for protocol development. She explained:

“We’re actually only half-way through our H1 focus on content routing improvements – and we think we can definitely shave off another 2x, likely much more, in our upcoming 0.6 and 0.7 releases later this quarter. There’s a lot of other areas that could use more help and attention, so anyone with some free cycles should take a look at the help-wanted issues or our open bounties to get a sense of what features, documentation, or tooling would be most useful.”

Web 3.0 is an umbrella term for technologies which according to some will power the future version of the web. Many in the cryptocurrency community believe that this future version of the web will be decentralized instead of relying on hosting data — such as websites — on centralized servers.

Hosting data on big, centralized servers creates a centralized point of failure that, in the case of a hack, could result in the loss of massive amounts of sensitive personal information. Furthermore, those servers are managed by firms that often sell data to third parties — sometimes with catastrophic consequences, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal showed.

IPFS aims to provide a decentralized alternative to server-based hosting which the developers say is resilient, upgradable, more open, and safer. In the long run, the developers hope the initiative will also make the web faster.

Mackinlay pointed out that mainstream web browser Opera, crypto-enabled web browser Brave, the Ethereum Name Service and major web service Cloudflare all already support the IPFS protocol.

Web 3.0 development is a major area of focus for cryptocurrency and blockchain firms. The reason for this is the great theoretical potential of such initiatives. Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz argued in March that Web 3.0 — and not just Bitcoin (BTC) — will change the world. As Cointelegraph reported at the end of 2019, many also believe that Web 3.0 will drive worldwide cryptocurrency adoption.

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