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The Cloud Strikes Back: Investigating the Decentralization of IPFS

Author: Balduf, L., Korczyński, M., Ascigil, O., Keizer, N.V., Pavlou, G., Scheuermann, B., & Król, M.
Published in: IMC '23: 23rd ACM Internet Measurement Conference
Year: 2023
Type: Academic articles
DOI: 10.1145/3618257.3624797

Interplanetary Filesystem (IPFS) is one of the largest peer-to-peer filesystems in operation. The network is the default storage layer for Web3 and is being presented as a solution to the centralization of the web. In this paper, we present a large-scale, multi-modal measurement study of the IPFS network. We analyze the topology, the traffic, the content providers and the entry points from the classical Internet. Our measurements show significant centralization in the IPFS network and a high share of nodes hosted in the cloud. We also shed light on the main stakeholders in the ecosystem. We discuss key challenges that might disrupt continuing efforts to decentralize the Web and highlight multiple properties that are creating pressures toward centralization.

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