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Tricks with IPFS

August 7th, 2019 by

Since April I am using IPFS

Now I wanted to document some neat tricks and details.

When you have the hex-encoded sha256sum of a small file – for this example let’s use the GPLv3.txt on our media –
sha256sum /ipns/opensuse.zq1.de/tumbleweed/repo/oss/GPLv3.txt
8ceb4b9ee5adedde47b31e975c1d90c73ad27b6b165a1dcd80c7c545eb65b90

Then you can use the hash to address content directly by prefixing it with /ipfs/f01551220 so it becomes

/ipfs/f015512208ceb4b9ee5adedde47b31e975c1d90c73ad27b6b165a1dcd80c7c545eb65b903

In theory this also works with SHA1 and the /ipfs/f01551114 prefix, but then you risk experiencing non-unique content like
/ipfs/f0155111438762cf7f55934b34d179ae6a4c80cadccbb7f0a

And dont even think about using MD5.

For this trick to work, the file needs to be added with ipfs add --raw-leaves and it must be a single chunk – by default 256kB or smaller, but if you do the adding, you can also use larger chunks.

Here is a decoding of the different parts of the prefix:
/ipfs/ is the common path for IPFS-addressed content
f is the multibase prefix for hex-encoded data
01 is for the CID version 1
55 is for raw binary
12 is for sha2-256 (the default hash in IPFS)
20 is for 32 byte = 256 bit length of hash

And finally, you can also access this content via the various IPFS-web-gateways:
https://ipfs.io/ipfs/f015512208ceb4b9ee5adedde47b31e975c1d90c73ad27b6b165a1dcd80c7c545eb65b903

You can also do the same trick with other multibase encodings of the same data – e.g. base2

Base2 looks pretty geeky, but so far I have not found practical applications.

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