What is IPFS and why do I need an IPFS Provider?

3 min. readlast update: 10.17.2023

What is IPFS?

IPFS, or the InterPlanetary File System, is a protocol designed to create a distributed and decentralized method of storing and sharing digital content. It’s essentially a peer-to-peer network where each file and piece of data are stored on multiple nodes, ensuring that the data remains accessible and safe.

One of the key advantages of IPFS is its content-addressing feature. This means that when you're looking for a file, instead of asking "where" the file is (like in traditional internet protocols), you ask "what" the file is. This is done by referencing the file's hash, a unique cryptographic code. This feature ensures that the file you receive hasn't been tampered with, providing data integrity.

Why Do You Need an IPFS Provider for Minting NFTs?

NFTs stand for Non-Fungible Tokens, unique digital assets that are tracked and traded on a blockchain, much like cryptocurrencies, but with a critical difference: each NFT has its unique attributes that set it apart from any other token, hence they are 'non-fungible' or irreplaceable.

When you mint an NFT, you're not only creating a unique token on the blockchain, but you also link it to a particular piece of digital content, such as an image, music file, or even a tweet. This is where IPFS comes into the picture.

Minting an NFT on blockchains like Cardano requires a way to store the associated digital content in a decentralized manner. This is important because if the content were stored on a single server or a centralized network, it would create a point of vulnerability. The content could potentially be lost or altered, which would, in effect, devalue or destroy the NFT.

An IPFS provider offers the service of storing this digital content on the IPFS network, ensuring the data's safety and availability. When an NFT is minted, the associated content's IPFS hash is written into the NFT metadata on the blockchain. This hash serves as a permanent, unalterable link to the content, no matter where it is stored on the IPFS network.

To put it succinctly, using an IPFS provider for minting NFTs ensures:

  1. Data Integrity: The IPFS hash guarantees the content associated with the NFT cannot be changed without altering the hash, ensuring the data's authenticity and integrity.
  2. Decentralization: IPFS allows your data to be stored across numerous nodes globally, which aligns with the decentralized nature of blockchain and NFTs.
  3. Permanence: IPFS ensures the digital asset linked to the NFT is permanently available, as long as there are nodes in the network that hold a copy of it.

In conclusion, IPFS and an IPFS provider play a pivotal role in the process of minting NFTs. They ensure that the digital content associated with the token remains safe, accessible, and tamper-proof, aligning perfectly with the inherent decentralization and permanence of the blockchain technology. 

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