I just finished reading the whitepaper. It seems to me that IPFS does not provide anonymity in case of files with narrow use. Specifically, if I add a file to my IPFS node, and provide its hash to someone (through an out of band, anonymous channel), once they launch a request for this hash, the network will provide them with not only my nodeid, but also my IP address, and they'll be able to doxx me.

Does this mean that IPFS is not a good tool to upload and transfer files anonymously? What would be a good tool?

Edit: now that I think about it, can't even the mere fact of requesting a certain root hash deanonymize you, since you would be broadcasting the request to the entire network?

1 Answer 1


IPFS is not a place you upload files to, it's a network you're part of.

IPFS is a peer-to-peer system, comparable to bittorrent. You are a peer, and you host files so that other peers can download them from you. When you use the "import file" button in the IPFS client GUI, or the ipfs add command on the CLI, you are simply telling the rest of the world that you have a file you'd like to share. It doesn't actually get uploaded anywhere until another person asks you for it. That's because IPFS is not a place you upload to, it's a network you're a part of.

IPFS is not anonymous. When you run an IPFS node and people connect to you, they're connecting to your public IP address assigned to you by your internet service provider. If the police catch wind of any CIDs for illegal files on IPFS, they'll just check out which IP addresses are sharing those files and try to pin down the owners of the IP addresses.

See: https://voussoir.net/writing/ipfs_misconceptions

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