The more we spend our lives hooked up to the Internet in one way or another, the more we are demanding that the experience be more secure. The Brave browser is handling it in an entirely different way — while still promising privacy, it’s also introducing IPFS, a way for Web content to be more centralized than the traditional HTTP.
Brave and IPFS
Brave released an update to its browser that includes the IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) protocol. The content on IPFS is loaded from a decentralized network of distributed nodes instead of a more central server such as HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol).
“We’re thrilled to be the first browser to offer a native IPFS integration with today’s Brave desktop browser release,” said Brave CTO and co-founder Brian Bondy. “Integrating the IPFS open-source network is a key milestone in making the Web more transparent, decentralized, and resilient.”
There are many advantages of IPFS over HTTP. Along with being faster and presenting a reduced cost to publishers, there is also less chance for government censorship.
“Today, Web users across the world are unable to access restricted content, including, for example, parts of Wikipedia in Thailand, over 100,000 blocked websites in Turkey, and critical access to COVID-19 information in China,” said IPFS project lead Molly Mackinlay.
“Now anyone with an Internet connection can access the critical information through IPFS on the Brave browser.”
IPFS founder Juan Benet admitted that he’s concerned about the centralization of the Internet. He believes this could lead it to “disappear at any moment, bringing down all the data with them – or at least breaking all the links.”
“Instead,” added Benet, “Were pushing for a fully distributed Web, where applications don’t live at centralized servers but operate all over the network from users’ computers … a Web where content can move through any untrusted middlemen without giving up control of the data or putting it at risk.”
The Future with IPFS
By enabling IPFS in its browser, Brave is not only allowing users to feel more secure with an alternative Web experience, as it always has — now it’s also leaving users more freedom in their browsing. Control would lie with users in what they wanted to access instead of a more centralized system.
With questions abounding more and more of what content is allowed and from whom we should be allowed to access it, IPFS would enable users to have access to the content they want more directly.
But even if you get the updated Brave browser with the built-in IPFS, it won’t lead to a dramatic change in experience just yet. You will need to wait for content to be hosted vis that platform rather than HTTP. There is some content already on IPFS, but not to the extent to give you enough options to leave HTTP behind.