The InterPlanetary File System is a peer-to-peer distributed file system protocol for sharing and storing data. It is similar to Torrent software, in that the users distributed on the network hold small portions of the data requested. Being decentralized, it comes with the benefits of such systems, like increased security and lower costs. It is being developed by Protocol Labs.
The goal of the IPFS fits into the larger goal of the development of Web 3.0. It is designed to make the web more fair, faster, safer and more open - all principles that guide the development of Web 3.0.
Each user on the IPFS is given a unique address by the content addressing method and duplicates are removed from the network. Furthermore, each node on the network need only store the data it is interested in, as well as some indexing information. Users can then search the network for the data they want - which is presented in human-readable form.
The IPFS is gaining ground in crypto circles, and several blockchain projects are working with it, the most notable being Filecoin, a project dedicated to providing decentralized cloud storage services. Developers can do several things on the IPFS, including building apps or services, besides sharing, storing and publishing data.
Developers have already identified several currently functional use cases: archiving, service providing, research, better access for developing nations, content creation and blockchain technology.