# Usage ideas and examples
IPFS is a versatile technology and can be used in a huge array of use-cases. Below is a long, yet far from exhaustive, list of projects built on IPFS. Some are minimalistic prototypes, and others are complete projects backed by mature companies.
# Share files
One of the simplest use-cases to grasp is the sharing of files between peers.
# Desktop applications
IPFS Desktop is the official desktop client for IPFS. It comes with a built-in IPFS node that lets you pin files and gives you a link to share them. This is generally seen as the easiest point-of-entry into the IPFS ecosystem.
Arbore Arbore is a free and open-source file-sharing application that enables you to send your pictures, documents, files to your contacts privately and without limits.
Another alternative is Orion. Orion is an easy to use IPFS Desktop client. It helps to share content on the public peer to peer network without any command line or technical knowledge. The app includes everything needed to start your own personal IPFS node.
# Share your files or sell copies of it
Enzypt.io lets you sell files or simply get a link to share.
FileNation is an alternative if you only want to share.
# Dead drop
A dead drop is a drive or another storage device that is physically immobilized in a public location for people to pick-up and deposit files. There is now an IPFS version, thanks to the IPFS Dead Drop project.
Let IPFS coordinate the flow of data between you and your colleagues, even when working offline or on a local network.
# Collaborate on written documents
PeerPad.org is a service that allows you to write, collaborate, and export Markdown documents directly in your browser, similar to how Google Docs works.
# Version control
The Inter-Planetary Version Control system (IPVC) is a distributed version control system similar to git but built on IPFS. It is suitable for any kind of data, not only human-readable content. It is also particularly suitable for versioning large files. The underlying concepts are heavily influenced by git and gitless.
# Connect event attendants
Gthr.io was a simple demo app to connect participants of an event by letting them scan each other's QR code. It was made for IPFS Camp 2019. You can look at their presentation. The code of this simple app is still in their GitHub repository.
# Exchange messages
Berty.tech will be an IPFS-based messaging app that will ensure connections are made directly between devices, without the need for servers, and will work on a local network if there is no internet connection. It will also work over Bluetooth or other proximity transport.
# Programming collaboration
Radicle is a code collaboration platform on top of IPFS.
# Store assets
By storing small scripts or big databases of your project on IPFS, and depending on your architecture, you can yield several benefits. If your users don't use an IPFS client, you will still have content de-duplication out of the box. If they use it, your users will seed the content they use, decreasing the workload on your infrastructure, increase uptime of the service in case you go offline. Your users also won't contact your servers for the content they already have.
# Decentralized virtual reality
Decentraland is a virtual world you can explore with a VR set, your computer, or your smartphone. They store all the assets on IPFS, so these heavy files can be fetched from several other users at the same time, for faster loading and synching.
# Video hosting platform
DTube is hosting videos on IPFS to reduce stress on their infrastructure. The website itself is not decentralized, but it mainly manages coordination between users and discoverability of content. You can also learn how to replicate Youtube on IPFS
# Co-host large datasets
Qri is an open-source tool for the management of large datasets. Qri users enjoy reduced hosting costs, traceability of changes in the data, rollback to previous versions, and easier collaboration when updating data. De-duplication across datasets also helps to keep physical storage usage as small as possible, along with reducing sync times.
# Parallelize Big Data analysis
On some heavy analysis, you can benefit from parallelizing calculations on several nodes using Hadoop, for example. But on very large datasets, fetching the relevant subset for each node to compute is longer than the actual computation. Scott Brisbane proposed design in a thesis to drastically reduce the fetching time using IPFS and divided the overall analysis time by four. Here is a one-page summary of the concept.
# Deadman switch
Killcord is an open project to automatically publicly publish data if the user doesn't check in after some time. This can ensure the ongoing investigation of a journalist carries on if they are unable to do it themselves, as the information gathered will now be public.
# Maps on IPFS
There is an existing IPFS devgrant to host OpenStreetMaps assets on IPFS. In the long run, this could mean faster synchronization for apps using this scheme and lower bandwidth requirements for servers.
# P2P video streaming platform
Blust.tv wants to use IPFS to distribute movies when requested by its users. By adding their proprietary secret-sauce, they will facilitate the legal streaming of videos over P2P networks.
# Help host important data
Thanks to recent improvement with IPFS Cluster, you can call for help to store your data without having to trust other nodes won't alter the data. With collaborative mode, you can replicate Pacman packages or COVID-19-related papers without needing to know the intricacies of IPFS.
# Video live-streaming
Let your users stream from each other to remove the need for a server without overloading a popular streamer. You can get inspired by the working prototype of Toronto Mesh, or by the experimentations of Fission, a heavy player of the IPFS ecosystem. Fleek (previously known as Temporal) also did some experimentation using their Amazon S3/IPFS compatibility tool.
# IPFS as infrastructure
Using IPFS allows you to abstract away a lot of the complexity of coordination between machines. No matter your architecture IPFS handles load balancing, de-duplication, caching, and high availability out-of-the-box. It's highly modular design also means you can easily customize it to your need.
# Decentralized clusters
IPFS Cluster is the official tool to manage a cluster of nodes to replicate data. Like any distributed cluster, you will have the benefits of redundancy, load balancing, and write permission management. You can choose to connect your cluster to the rest of the IPFS network or run it privately. You can also invite outsiders to help replicate your data without them having write-access, thanks to the collaborative mode.
# Content delivery networks
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of nodes storing content in places physically close to the users. Having servers physically closer to the users ensures lower latency, enabling load-balancing, and allows you to scale the availability of content with demand. The IPFS network is a CDN by design because each node will cache what they consume and serve that data to its peers.
# Distributed package managers
The Node package manager (NPM) is mirrored on IPFS. By using the dedicated client npm-on-ipfs, packages are fetched from IPFS and distributed to other clients needing them. For example, a team working in the same building will fetch packages from each other, meaning less network traffic costs for the company.
# Hosting software containers
Netflix is on its way to use IPFS to synchronize their Docker containers worldwide. Since each node fetches them from the fastest peers they know, synchronization is substantially faster than regular sync methods.
# Efficient network factories
Actyx is helping the manufacturers to upgrade their plants to the Industry 4.0 era, meaning connecting the machines together for better performance, tolerance to failure and flexibility. Actyx built a custom operating system on top of IPFS they deploy on all machines, so they emit metrics, receive orders, sync up information, and compute their next move locally.
# Lower your storage usage
By storing identical data only once on your node, storage-constrained projects are another natural fit for IPFS.
# Compress telemetry data
Sensor data is typically-structured and often contains duplicated blocks of data. In cases where a lot of sensor data is recorded, IPFS can reduce disk usage even more than simple compression thanks to its de-duplication techniques.
# Decentralize your data
By decentralizing your data, you increase availability in case your server runs into an issue, your ISP is unhappy with what you publish, or a hostile government issues a take-down-order. You will also decrease the load time for your swarm-connected users, and natively enable your app to work offline or on local networks. Depending on your app, your users can also reduce their storage requirements and download time thanks to native de-duplication and caching.
# Decentralized database
# IPFS hosting with Textile
Textile is a hosting company on IPFS developing the layers on top of IPFS. Among other things, they came up with separated cloud environments called buckets. Textile has also built an impressive toolset for building decentralized applications and integrations.
# AWS S3 integration
If you are using Amazon Web Service's S3 connections for your cloud, you can use RTrade's storage server to replicate it on IPFS with minimal disruption to your workflow. It is forked from the popular object storage server MinIO and will be re-integrated into MinIO natively sometime soon.
# NextCloud integration
JusticeNode has created an extention for the popular self-hosted cloud service NextCloud. This integration allows users to use IPFS as external storage.
# Deploy your website on IPFS
Fleek.co allows you to effortlessly build sites & apps on IPFS. The workflow is similar to that of Netlify: developers can link their website or web app hosted on GitHub to Fleek and have it automatically built and deployed on IPFS whenever a change is made to a specific branch. Fleek also comes with Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and domain name integration and plan to enable many more ways to deploy soon: more Git providers, deploy via command-line interface, drag & drop a folder, via API, etc.
# Ethereum and Solidity specific applications
Embark is an all-in-one developer platform for building and deploying decentralized applications. It currently integrates with Ethereum blockchains, decentralized storage like IPFS, and decentralized communication platforms like Whisper and Orbit.
# Static-site generators
# Build a dApp
This app for government-citizen communication was built in two days during the DenverETH 2020 hackathon. It lets Colorado citizens manage state-owned data about themselves, such as their driving license status or business registration. You can see its code, or a slide presentation.
Haven is a privacy-focused mobile app for shopping. Haven doesn't know its users' buying history, lets them pay with crypto, and doesn't take a cut on.
# Torrent tracker hub
BitTorrent is a powerful P2P file-sharing technology, but it works better with the help of centralized trackers helping users know who has what. Some people tried with some success to decentralize them. You can find their working prototype here.
# COVID-19 tracker
This simple tracker API lets any IPFS node request the latest data about the COVID-19 pandemics. See the code on GitHub.
# GitHub integration
This simple GitHub Action lets you upload your GitHub Releases on IPFS automatically.
# Backup you Wolfram data
In a recent update, Wolfram let users store their computation or assets on IPFS. Check out the version notes for more information.
# Music streaming platform
Audius is a music streaming platform built on IPFS. Artists are in control, no fees are taken by the platform, and listeners can enjoy their music while offline.
# Music player
Diffuse.sh is an online music player that you can connect to your music repositories to listen to it from anywhere. You can now connect it to IPFS repositories.
# Decentralize the Web itself
Some core pieces of the web are still centralized, making it more prone to break or being censored. IPFS can help and make the web more resilient.
# Decentralized DNS
The Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the most centralized pieces of the web. By having to ask a central place to know where to find
# Archive the web
Thanks to de-duplication, IPFS is a powerful tool for archiving the web. The InterPlanetary Wayback is tackling this endeavor.
# Fight censorship
Wikipedia has not been accessible in Turkey for a few years. The company behind IPFS, Protocol Labs, is hosting a mirror of Wikipedia on IPFS. See the original blog post and the project code for more information.
# Alternative ISP
Althea is building an alternative Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the US as the low level of competition brings the quality of service down and prices up. Althea especially targets rural areas, where the coverage by traditional ISP is low.
# Blockchain use-cases
IPFS is a natural fit for blockchain use cases. The common state of the chain is distributed on-chain among participants, and specific data is stored on IPFS. Thanks to content addressing, the blockchain only needs to store the IPFS multihash, and users are sure to fetch correct data from any of their peers. This architecture is becoming the de facto standard for blockchain applications.
# Global market place for data storage
Filecoin lets any storage owner host data for users who need additional space. It is one of the reasons IPFS exists in the first place and will be a great accelerator of the IPFS growth once fully online later this year. The project is developed by Protocol Labs.
Textile.io is building the Powergate tool for your app to interact with Filecoin once the main net is launched.
# Internet-of-Things and privacy
Iotex is a hardware company also providing a secure platform to host the data generated by the user, with particular attention to privacy. Owners of a Ucam security camera can choose to store it locally, on a cloud, or on IPFS-backed storage. Iotex provides a blockchain managing identities ensuring only the owner of the data can access them, not even Iotex.
# Exchange Internet-of-Things data
IOTA is a foundation maintaining the Tangle, a blockchain-like network with zero fees. Their vision is to automate the exchange of data between sensors, machines, and other devices, for free or sold by the provider. IOTA announced that data can now be hosted on IPFS, as shown in this demo.
# Send crypto to human-readable addresses
The Humanize Pay project lets you have a human-readable Ethereum address, so users don't have to deal with long and un-memorable addresses.
# AI as a service
MindSync wants to build a blockchain hosting AI competitions and let AI skills offer and demand meet.
# Education platform
RocketShoes is an education platform where students produce and tag learning materials, assignments, notes, and digital assets. These are stored on IPFS, and the blockchain ensures the timestamping, proof of ownership, and incentivization layer.
# Query the DWeb across blockchains
TheGraph wants to enable users to look for information on any blockchain or distributed service thanks to their query language GraphQL and the indexations of the chains thanks to IPFS.
# Proof of ownership
With IPFS and a blockchain, you can prove ownership of a file at a certain time without disclosing it. See here an example of implementation.
# Proof of humanness
Idena is a blockchain to prove that you are human (which is distinct from DID). It uses IPFS under the hood.
# Build Smart City apps
# Decentralized prediction markets
Augur is a blockchain and decentralized market where you can bet on anything or request prediction from the crowd wisdom. Like so many blockchain-based apps, the data is hosted on IPFS.
# Decentralized Identity
Decentralized Identity is the concept of storing all your personal data on your devices rather than let every service you use store a partial copy of it. You having control of your data means that you decide which app has access to what, that you only fill your information once, and that you can revoke access. Decentralized identity is a hot topic, and IPFS is one of the core technologies a lot of engineers build around. The identity wallet Nomios shared some thoughts about decentralized identity general during the IPFS Camp 2019.
Element is an open-source project that combines the content addressing and the interactiveness of Ethereum smart contracts to provide a tool for managing identity.
# 3ID Connect
3ID Connect is developed by 3Box, a personal data manager for apps leveraging IPFS. 3Box wants to make using decentralized identity as simple as clicking on Connect with Google or Connect with Facebook. You can read their article explaining how to bring it to your app.
# Microsoft ION
# Ceramic Protocol
The Ceramic Protocol is another proposition for decentralized identity on IPFS, along with a complete protocol for data and document exchanges.
Nomios is another promising solution that started to work with IPFS from the start. Check out their website for more information.
# Non-implemented use cases
Here is a non-exhaustive list of use cases that were not implemented yet. Pick up the challenge yourself or follow your own idea! If you want to discuss your idea or have some problems, head to the IPFS forum or the IPFS help page.
- Coordinate activists groups without fear from censorship
- Manage the knowledge of the whole world
- Build a giant database for genetic data
- Create a mesh network on IPFS
- Bring additional services to your existing mesh network
- Serverless online gaming
- Put Hadoop on IPFS
- Add more transports to IPFS for mobile usage (here or here )
- Cohost the site you visit
- Distributed cards for spaced learning
- Unblock the offline-first use cases
- Build a distributed OS
- Distribute the medical data
- Improve information sharing during disaster recovery
- Get a grant for your help or propose an open grand
- Make an interactive app for your classroom
- Build a distributed social media
- Decentralize peer-reviewing of scholar papers
- Help to host NASA databases
- Help to host LibGen materials
- Make a manga reader
- Make a Gif-sharing platform
- An interactive P2P application working in crowded events such as festivals
- Ethereum/Solidity Smart Contract CI Toolchain on IPFS
- Various ideas from GitHub