Atomic Data and IPFS

What is IPFS

IPFS (the InterPlanetary File System) is a standard that enables decentralized file storage and retrieval using content-based identifiers. Instead of using an HTTP URL like, it uses the IPFS scheme, such as ipfs:QmX6j9DHcPhgBcBtZsuRkfmk2v7G5mzb11vU9ve9i8vDsL. IPFS identifies things based on their unique content hash (the long, seemingly random string) using a thing called a Merkle DAG (this great article explains it nicely). This is called a CID, or Content ID. This simple idea (plus some not so simple network protocols) allows for decentralized, temper-proof storage of data. This fixes some issues with HTTP that are related to its centralized philosophy: no more 404s!

Why is IPFS especially interesting for Atomic Data

Atomic Data is highly dependent on the availability of Resources, especially Properties and Datatypes. These resources are meant to be re-used a lot, and that would make everything expensive.

Considerations using IPFS URLs

They are static, their contents can never change. This is great for some types of data, but horrible for others. If you're describing a time-dependent thing (such as a person's job), If you're describing personal, private information, its also a bad idea to use IPFS, because it's designed to be permanent. Also, IPFS is not as fast as HTTP - at least for now.

Example of Atomic Data on IPFS

Here's an example, serialized to Atomic-NDJSON:

["","","Hello world!"]

Atomic Data and IPLD

IPLD (not IPFS) stands for InterPlanetary Linked Data, but is not related to RDF. The scope seems fundamentally different from RDF, too, but I have to read more about this. TODO!