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Brave browser debuts IPFS support for decentralized web browsing

The protocol could change the fundamental structure of the internet.

Published onJanuary 20, 2021

Brave Browser on computer screen stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Brave Web Browser’s latest desktop versions gain support for the IPFS protocol.
  • The protocol allows websites to be accessed and served from a number of distributed nodes, not central servers.
  • Android app support is currently in the works.

Its focus on privacy and security has made Brave Web Browser one of the more exciting browser propositions in recent years. More recently, it also took a crack at solving the internet’s tracking issues, developing a novel way for visitors to fund websites without intrusive advertising. Now, the browser is pushing on with ambitions to decentralize the web.

Brave has adopted support (via The Verge) for the IPFS protocol in version 1.19. Unlike HTTPS which contacts a central server, IPFS allows the browser to gather data from a number of nodes. This not only gives websites more staying power should a large service outage occur or if it receives censorship challenges, but it should also challenge the power of hosting giants.

brave ipfs van gogh
Andy Walker / Android Authority

While IPFS does come with a new way of understanding the web, it doesn’t change how we use it. Instead of typing http:// into the browser’s address bar, users can type ipfs:// or ipns:// to access these sites. That’s a small thing to remember considering the possible advantages. You can load Vincent van Gogh’s Wikipedia page via IPFS by following this link, too.

This is an initial release of the technology to Brave, so some hiccups are to be expected. IPFS has outlined a lengthy roadmap of features and tweaks, including web apps, improved resource management, and pushing IPFS support to Brave’s Android browser.

For now, you can give IPFS a go on Brave’s desktop versions. Grab the latest version of the browser for Linux, Mac OS, and Windows below.

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