I'd like to build a dapp utilizing the power of the Ethereum blockchain and IPFS. Right now, my plan is to have users sign up to use the app and store their account data + files on IPFS through a public infura node.

I understand that any monetary transactions between users will be handled through solidity smart contracts on the main chain, however, I don't understand whether or not I'd want the account on the blockchain as well. If I understand correctly, this would require users to pay ETH to create an account. Why not just store account data completely on IPFS for free and use the blockchain solely for sending and receiving ETH? What benefits would come with storing each user's IPFS hash on the blockchain?

1 Answer 1


I mean its perfectly possible to create a completely centralized application using IPFS, one of the reasons we care about decentralized is because of security and more likely things shutting down and not being maintained.

For example, if you store the hashes in a relational database, the hashes won't go away, but if that data is lost you won't easily find your files. IPFS greatly complicates smart contracts and Ethereum in general because it allows users to associate their documents with their unique address.

If you want you could just use a relational database to store ipfs hashes, nothing wrong with that, however you may easily end up in a situation where other people are accessing files they should not?

What you are asking is more like what are the benefits of decentralization for users.

In any case, for small pet projects, it may be better to store data in a relational database anyway.

Perhaps this point wasn't perfectly clear, but you need some way of knowing where IPFS files are stored, either through a centralized system or a decentralized one.

  • ah I see where my understanding fell short. I put account hashes on blockchain to avoid needing a DB. For some reason I was thinking I could query IPFS, like a giant database. So I use ethereum to store/retrieve hashes for my client based on the address I get from web3. Dec 12, 2018 at 5:48
  • I mean there are tools for that out there I think reddit.com/r/ipfs/comments/8ght8h/…, and maybe eventually it will be easy to find files on ipfs, perhaps that would be a centralized service.
    – GrandFleet
    Dec 12, 2018 at 16:40

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