Decentralized file sharing is a means of storing files across multiple nodes in a network rather than for a passing fancy centralized server.
As the digital era has progressed, the net has become a vast and complex web of data and files that communicate utilising the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. As internet traffic has increased over time and the sheer volume of information transmitted is becoming enormous, HTTP has began to crack under this strain. For example, each time we load a web page, HTTP is used to retrieve content from centralized servers. If the content involves transmitting large files, it could consume plenty of bandwidth. If a server is removed, a website may possibly still exist but with missing pieces, such as for instance images or graphic files.
Furthermore, due to a reliance on centralized servers, HTTP makes it easy to introduce censorship.
Decentralized file sharing has emerged as an answer to some of those problems. Torrenting is the best-known solution by the general public. Torrenting has been used as an easy way of distributing much larger files, such as audio and video, over the internet to overcome the challenges of using HTTP.
However, the earlier versions of file sharing protocols also have some limitations. Nodes are generally run by volunteers. They can choose to stop volunteering their services, and thus there’s no guarantee there will always be enough people to host files.
Using blockchain technology is really a way to create robust decentralized file sharing networks where participants are incentivized to carry on contributing. A token-based reward system ensures there are always enough nodes providing their services to the network.