What is IPFS?

IPFS is an acronym for InterPlanetary File System. Its purpose is to provide a distributed system for storing and accessing files, websites, applications, and data. As a protocol and peer-to-peer network, IPFS uses content-addressing to identify each file in a global namespace from all connected devices in the network.

If this sounds too complicated, let’s compare IPFS to how data is usually retrieved on the internet today. Every website and every file is stored on some computer somewhere. When we connect to the internet and go to a specific website, our browser gets the website data from some remote computer connected to the internet. Such computers are called servers because they serve website content and other content (video, music, streams, etc.).

Let’s take a simplified example of typing the following URL into our browser: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_function

The browser will contact a server with the Wikipedia website and specifically ask to serve the Hash_function page. In short, we are looking for a location on the web.

IPFS does not use such paths (to find the right location) because there is no concept of servers. With IPFS, the files are retrieved based on the content and not its location.

Each individual (and unique) file or piece of content stored on the IPFS has a unique hash. If we want to retrieve a piece of content, we must request it by knowing its hash. And this is what attracted Paralink to use IPFS. Due to the nature of hash functions, immutability is ensured as even the small change in the file would alter the hash completely.

When saving the job definition using PQL, it gets saved to IPFS as a content hash. IPFS node is already a part of Paralink Node, and this functionality comes automatically. If you want to learn more about how to set up a Paralink Node, read this guide.

Today’s web is structured on ownership and accessing files depends on owners choosing who they will allow the access. IPFS is based on the ideas of possession and participation, where many people possess each others’ files and participate in making them available. To learn more about IPFS, read the official documentation.

This guide is made for developers who want to use Paralink as an oracle solution for their smart contracts and node operators who wish to provide a trusted oracle service or create their oracle quorum.

We also invite you to visit our Github page to find more detailed information and documentation about Paralink solutions. Our documentation is available here.

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