Understanding IPFS-Filecoin relationship

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but from my understanding Filecoin is the monetary base behind IPFS and lets users monetize by sharing unused disk space with the network (and that reward mechanism enables the network to scale).

So say I want to backup my unicorn pics through Filecoin.

I download the client and upload a file – that file is encrypted and then broken into pieces, a graph is created (for indexing) and these bits are proportionately distributed in Filecoins (like a bitcoin transaction massage) and sent as a function of payment to the other nodes in the network.

Will each node receive a fraction of the file? If so, what happens if a large portion of nodes ceases to exist? I know that with the BitTorrent file system, seeders have the same file and its availability is a function of its popularity, but how does this work with IPFS/Filecoin? Will multiple sums of my unicorn pics be distributed across the network?

What happens if the parties that are storing it decide to sell their Filecoins?

Please help me understand this and I’ll buy you a coffee or two (add btc tip jar)
Thanks and happy weekend


Could someone take 5 minutes to help, please? I am writing a piece on IPFS and I’m trying to explain the concept for people without a background in computer science - I think it will be very beneficial to the ecosystem.

You can start with the excerpt below, from this coincenter article:

Users aren’t required to use Filecoin and IPFS together, but the two combined are a perfect pair that solve significant failings of the current web. Users currently using IPFS are required to ‘pin’ (store & serve) their data from either their own computer, an existing centralized cloud provider, or off the generosity of other IPFS users who actively choose to host that content. Filecoin provides the incentive for any IPFS user to assure their data is stored across a host of decentralized nodes. Soon anyone will be able to pay a large mass of decentralized storage providers in filecoin to robustly store their files, assuring their data can be securely and quickly served to those that request it. Users storing files on IPFS and Filecoin will benefit from optimized storage costs, a diversity of storage providers, much faster serving of data, automated self-healing, and tremendous economies of scale.



With filecoin, your content would be distributed across the network automatically. Other peers will store the content for a length of time determined by how much filecoin you pay for the storage initially.

What happens if the parties that are storing it decide to sell their Filecoins?

Payment doesnt happen all up front, if peers stop storing before the end of the agreed upon time, then they will not receive all of the payment.

The new filecoin paper will be out soon and will provide a much clearer picture of how the network operates.

Thank you, @whyrusleeping and @flyingzumwalt

I’m familiar with the concept of pinning and how users can avoid hosting unwanted material by pinning what they personally want to store. What I am finding hard to understand is how these files are distributed across the network - if this is a purely distributed network and each node receives a fraction of the file, how can you make sure that the file will not be corrupted if multiple nodes cease to exist? Or is there no such guarantee?

That’s an interesting incentive structure and I look forward to reading the revised white paper. Do you happen to know if setting an expiration date will be a requirement when uploading a file?

We’ll probably know soon, but I guess there will be an expiration date, ¿ maybe something like
ipfs filecoin pin HASH --expires=1y --wallet=WALLET-ID --pass=PASSWORD
ipfs filecoin pin HASH --expires=2018-12-31-23:59:59-UTC --wallet=WALLET-ID --pass=PASSWORD
I would also love to see a subscription-like model, i.e. you upload a file to the IPFS with something like expires=0, and then you have an “in perpetuity” option, and you pay a regular amount of filecoin for the perpetual storage, and if you want to rescind, you just send a command, ¿ maybe something like
ipfs filecoin rm <HASH> --wallet=WALLET-ID --pass=PASSWORD

EDIT: or you just block any payments for an IPFS hash locally, and then it’ll be removed automatically. (?)

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