Brave update introduces IPFS support, but what does that mean?

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 20, 2021
Updated • Jan 20, 2021
Brave, Internet

Brave released an update for the company's Brave web browser on January 19, 2021. The major feature of Brave 1.19 is support for IPFS, the Interplanetary File System protocol. Many users don't know what to make of it, probably, as IPFS is not really discussed a lot in the news.

IPFS is a peer-to-peer protocol designed specifically for decentralized access to content. The system offers a number of advantages over HTTP(s) content, including that users may access content even if the "regular" version has been censored. Nation states as well as corporations have blocked access to content in the past, e.g. to YouTube, Twitter, or Wikipedia. An IPFS version of the content could still be accessed even if regular access to the content would be blocked.

One of the main downsides to using IPFS is that content needs to be made available via the system. Some sites, Wikipedia being a prime example, support IPFS but the majority of sites online don't.

brave browser ipfs

For Brave, it means that users can load addresses starting with ipfs:// directly, e.g. ipfs://bafybeiemxf5abjwjbikoz4mc3a3dla6ual3jsgpdr4cjr3oz3evfyavhwq/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh.html would open the Vincent van Gogh entry on Wikipedia. An incomplete list of who is using IPFS already is available here.

Brave displays a notification when the first IPFS page is opened in the browser: "IPFS resources detected. Would you like Brave to load them using a local IPFS node?

The browser is configured to load IPFS content via public HTTP gateways. The address bar shows the "redirected URL on the gateway server, and not the IPFS address. Brave notes that users may want this if they don't want to load an IPFS node on the local computer, e.g. when the system has limited resources. The use of public gateways has certain implications:

  • The gateway sees which content you request.
  • It is theoretically possible to alter the content before it is served.

Brave plans to integrate verification of content that is served by third-parties over IPFS in a future version. A support article is available that provides additional information on privacy.

Selecting "Enable IPFS" will configure Brave to use a local node when it comes to IPFS content. If the option is selected, IPFS will be displayed in the address bar and that improves trust and removes the public middleman. Enabling IPFS will make the system a "temporary host for that content" according to Brave; users who don't want that can keep the default configuration that uses public gateways. Brave is configured to use up to 1 Gigabyte of cache for hosting content accessed via IPFS.

Configuring IPFS in Brave

brave ipfs

  1. Load brave://settings/extensions in the browser's address bar.
  2. The configuration page displays three IPFS related options:
    • Method to resolve IPFS resources. Default is ASK. You can change that to Gateway or Disabled.
    • IPFS public gateway fallback. Disabled by default. Enable to fall back to a public gateway if the local node cannot be reached.
    • IPFS companion. Disabled by default. Enhances support for IPFS in Brave when enabled.

Closing Words

Brave users may access IPFS content in the browser directly. Those who don't want to do that can disable the functionality entirely.

Now You: What is your take on IPFS? Have you used it in the past?

Brave update introduces IPFS support, but what does that mean?
Article Name
Brave update introduces IPFS support, but what does that mean?
Brave released an update for the company's Brave web browser on January 19, 2021. The major feature of Brave 1.19 is support for IPFS, the Interplanetary File System protocol.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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