Brave has written history by integrating InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) features into its browser platform. Brave has got what it wanted, next to see how can we enable IPFS in Brave.
Brave has been known for some awesome innovations along with respecting its user’s privacy. Every year, Brave brings privacy and security-oriented features to ensure that users are achieving what they expect. Private windows with Tor, Widevine, and Upgrade connection to HTTPS are the most notable features Brave has added to its platform.
On 19th January 2021, Brian Bondy, CTO, and Co-Founder of Brave made an announcement about integrating IPFS into the Brave browser. This IPFS feature gives a more robust experience to Brave browser (Desktop Version) users. Privacy, connection speed and stability, and the decentralized location of the website’s contents are the biggest achievements. Brave has made the first step into new innovation if all browsers come together, perception and utilization of the internet can be changed. Before we discuss the steps to enable IPFS in Brave, let us dig into some more secrets of the InterPlanetary File System.
What is IPFS Exactly?
IPFS is exactly how you get results when you make any query to the internet. Generally, the contents on the internet are centralized and have known locations for those contents. However, IPFS uses a peer-to-peer connection to distribute the website’s data to available nodes making it completely decentralized across the internet. Node is any system (mobile, or laptop) connected to the network and used by IPFS to temporarily store the data. To make any system to node, IPFS offers an application for Dev and Non-dev users.
Here, is how the InterPlanetary File System works.
1. Whenever any user/ content creator adds its website’s contents to the IPFS platform using the application, it grants a unique identifier to that content. This identifier is known as a cryptographic hash.
2. Removes any data duplication and replication in case the contents are already available in some nodes.
3. Each network node stores only content it is interested in, plus some indexing information that helps figure out which node is storing what.
4. When users look for any specific contents or files to view or download, the network searches for the particular nodes that have the requested data.
Remember to Read | How to Enable HTTPS Everywhere in Web Browsers?
Does IPFS Impact my Privacy?
IPFS helps mostly content creators to distribute their content in a decentralized way irrespective of location and proximity, costing less bandwidth in comparison with the traditional protocol. It has different privacy aspects with risks and benefits both. Risk generally depends on how your browser is configured along with IPFS settings.
1. If you use a public IPFS gateway in Brave, then the gateway can see what contents you are querying through IPFS. In some cases, it can load the wrong data also.
2. If you use a local IPFS node, it makes your system a temporary host of that content. Since it uses a libp2p network-layer stack and has a PeerID, it becomes very much easier to look at the distributed hash table (DHT). Anyone in-network peer can see what you requested and what was served by IPFS.
This is somewhat like hurting privacy. Well, the good note is that Brave promises to eliminate this issue in the future release. We recommend reading Brave’s article on How does IPFS Impact my Privacy? for a better explanation before you enable IPFS in Brave.
Enable IPFS in Brave Browser
Steps to enable IPFS in Brave are simple yet need users’ clear attention.
1. Users can type “brave://settings/ipfs” in the Brave Browser tab followed by hitting enter or opening the Setting menu and heading towards the “IPFS Settings” section.
2. Select Local Node in “Method to resolve IPFS resources” to use the local node. The gateway option uses the public gateway to deliver the contents, while the disabled option disables the IPFS feature. Make sure to turn ON all options mentioned in the image for smooth performance.
3. IPFS public gateway fallback helps users to able to view or download content when a local node is not reachable via the network.
4. “IPFS companion” option lets users install an extension to Brave. It provides enhanced support to Brave, including access to common IPFS tasks from the browser tab.
Upcoming IPFS Improvement Plan
It is just the beginning for Brave to include innovative features and supports, more is yet to come. Brave has promised a lot of plans for IPFS improvement for both mobile and desktop versions. For now Brave supports IPFS only for desktop, but future plan includes support for the mobile version web app.
Tor transport, website publishing, and DNSLink are major development plans undergoing. This DNSLink feature will be Brave browser-specific which allows publishers to use DNS TXT records that point to an IPFS path.