This technology didn’t just pop up overnight! In this section we’ll cover the background of decentralized storage from torrents until now, and go through some basics terminology to get you up to speed.
While Decentralized Storage is a catchy buzz word, it's important to understand where this new technology can be used, and where it should not.
State of the Industry
IPFS is just the beginning - in this module we'll catch you up on the developments currently affecting the space, and cover the various cryptocurrencies and tokens that have proposed incentive models for peer to peer storage.
In the early days of computing, storage devices were coupled with processing units in single purpose systems. With the introduction of the internet and high-speed broadband, these two components are now commonly separated, often by hundreds of miles. As cloud services have grown, the notion of storage has shifted from individual hard drives and physical devices to a network of high-availability devices which a client device can access for a fee.
Storage is a key component of computers. Player Pianos, dating back to the early 18th century, were the first real form of digital storage. The notches on a steel cylinder pulled tensioned lines, effectively playing a song when the springs were pulled by an attendant. Our modern hard drives are not much more complex than this, using electrical charge rather than the mechanical potential of spring, but otherwise very similar.
A distributed network is a type of computer network that is spread over different nodes. This provides a single data communication network, which can be managed jointly or separately by each network. Besides sharing information within the network, a distributed network often also delegates processing.
Decentralized storage is a combination of solutions to these problems that have evolved over time. The main goal of IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) is to provide a commonly-addressable namespace for networks of computers to use to share their storage. This is done through content-addressable storage enabled by Merkle Trees.