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Who controls IPFS?
Who controls IPFS?

Who controls IPFS?

Min read
Who controls IPFS?
Centralized? Decentralized? Distributed!

The Interplanetary File System (IPFS) is a revolutionary protocol designed to make storing and retrieving files more efficient and cost effective. Yet, most of the world (especially the engineering world) thinks about file storage in terms of the centralized storage location where the files will reside. This is how the web was built. Access to files on the web meant storing the files with a single entity and requesting the files from that entity. 

That model has been entirely redesigned by the IPFS protocol. But who actually controls IPFS and the files made available on its network?

How is IPFS different from blockchain

There are many similarities between IPFS and blockchains. IPFS is made up of a network of computers that all speak to each other, just like a blockchain. Anyone can run an IPFS “node” (a computer in the network), just like a blockchain. And anyone can make requests to an IPFS node without permission, just like a blockchain. 

However, that’s where the similarities end. Blockchains generally store every bit of data on every single node in the network. With IPFS, files are stored on whichever node chooses to store them. Individuals and companies (often referred to as pinning services) control which files are stored on which IPFS storage nodes. Operators of blockchain nodes are often also “miners”, meaning that they either stake cryptocurrency and are rewarded for operating their node or they solve cryptographic puzzles with their computers and are rewarded in cryptocurrency. IPFS has no such reward mechanism. IPFS, like many of the original internet protocols, operates as a public good with the option to build businesses around making operation of these nodes convenient. And maybe most importantly, data can be removed from IPFS whereas data cannot be removed from a blockchain. 

Is IPFS really decentralized?

Decentralization is a spectrum worth examining. The internet is decentralized, but to what degree? Can the internet be stopped? Yes, we’ve seen countries block access to the internet and even form their own versions of censored internets. That doesn’t mean that the underlying technology is not decentralized. Blockchains are decentralized when enough participants exist to ensure that it remains decentralized. But should the participant count ever drop to an unsatisfactory level, many may not consider the blockchain decentralized. 

IPFS shares similarities to the decentralization of the internet and the decentralization of blockchains. Individuals have the power to run their own nodes, further decentralizing the network. Companies have the ability to run their own nodes which both decentralizes the network and creates an economic incentive to run these nodes. 

The power of IPFS’s decentralized DNA comes from the permissionless nature of the protocol itself. Without a single approval, anyone in the world can download the required software onto just about any computer and start running an IPFS node. As long as they run that node, they are participating in the decentralization of the network. When you don’t require another party’s sign off to do something, you are experiencing true decentralization. 

How does an IPFS gateway work?

One of the more confusing aspects of IPFS when it comes to decentralization is the IPFS gateway. IPFS, the protocol, does not rely on HTTP (the original data transfer layer of the internet). Instead, it relies on peer-to-peer broadcasting and retrieval of content. At the same time, it’s unreasonable to expect the rest of the web to catch up to these changes quickly. Because of this, IPFS storage nodes and operators of those nodes can also run IPFS gateways. 

An IPFS gateway is an HTTP-compliant interface to an IPFS storage node and the IPFS network. It exposes the peer-to-peer layer in a way the traditional web understands. This provides a level of familiarity and convenience, but it comes at a slight cost to decentralization. Unlike the core IPFS network, IPFS gateways are not decentralized. They are run by individuals and organizations, and when made accessible to the public, these gateways are entirely under the control of those parties. 

A gateway, at its core, is a relay network. It takes a traditional HTTP web request and relays it to an IPFS node running on the network. That node then makes a peer-to-peer connection request for the content being requested. If found, the peer-to-peer network returns the content. Then, the node relays that content back to the gateway so the requestor can access it. 

The convenience of an IPFS gateway should not be ignored. The web runs on HTTP. IPFS gateways, like the concept of an actual gateway, provide a path between one world and another. An IPFS gateway can be accessed through a normal web URL. You can assign custom domains to an IPFS gateway. You get all of the convenience of the web most people know while still being exposed to the peer-to-peer network of IPFS. 

Pinata operates as a pinning service (as referenced above), but we also provide IPFS gateways to customers who want incredibly fast access to content on the IPFS network. These gateways are ideal for developers looking to power web-scale applications that make use of decentralized storage technology. 


The IPFS network is not controlled by any one entity. Anyone in the world can contribute to it through code or by running a node. Unlike traditional storage on the web, storage on IPFS is not reliant on one particular company. So, who controls IPFS? You do.



H2 - Enabling Widespread Adoption for Music NFTs

paragraph — The first thing the music industry needs is more exposure. For artists, listeners and yeah, the labels. Even with the use cases mentioned above, the majority of the music industry still sees NFTs as a novelty rather than a legitimate way to run a business. We see a future where the experience is built and monetized on the blockchain, with labels taking part of the experience, as well.

Second, there needs to be a big jump in user experience. Listeners know what to expect with Spotify and Apple Music: a smooth, intuitive experience that lets them listen to Lil Nas X with just a few clicks. Web3 platforms aren’t quite there. Music NFTs and related premium content require extra steps that most people don’t yet have an appetite for.

H3 - How Could Music NFTs Save Artists?

paragraph — Musician Daniel Allan spent months building a relationship with the NFT community and raised 50 ETH to fund his new album, Overstimulated. Companies like Audius and artists like Vérité's, who raised $90,000 in an NFT launch, are at the forefront of exploring new ways to get paid. Avenged Sevenfold launched an NFT collection called "Deathbats Club" with 10,000 items that grants holders access to benefits such as meet and greets at shows, lifetime free tickets, limited edition merchandise, and more.

Photo of ETHDenver 2022 with Pinata employees
This can also be styled!! Image caption.

H4 - Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H5 — How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

LINK — This is how a link looks like. Please provide normal & hover state (if different than this)

  • This will be bullet points
  • Numbered list is the same but with numbers
  • It has a margin-left applied
  1. Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  2. Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  3. Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
QUOTE — Everyone is obsessed with making money and seeking alpha, which does a disservice to what [NFTs] can actually do. We have been instructing many bands that NFTs are a ticket for access to an exclusive club.” - M. Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold’s lead singer.