What is the current state of Swarm ? Are they decentralized as they claim they are or they are still in development ?

I am asking this because I've seen that there is no incentive for the nodes to support Whisper and that is optional to support it. Meanwhile, Swarm is still centralized because it hasn't fully launched.

So my questions are:

  • What is the incentive for the nodes to run Whisper ?
  • What is the incentive for storing data with Swarm rather than IPFS ?

2 Answers 2


Swarm and IPFS address similar issues, but solve it differently.

As a developer for Swarm, I am not going to speak for IPFS.

One of the main features of Swarm is its incentivization layer. Node operators would be paid for storing and serving data. There is also an integrated accounting protocol (Swap) which would take care of settling imbalances for participating nodes. Basically the idea is that individual nodes are incentivized to do certain actions and discouraged to do others (e.g. freeriding) and by this contributing to a healthy operation of the whole network.

As a data owner, you could also insure data (requires payment) to make it available long term, and a litigation process in order for nodes to comply with insurance (swear and swindle).

Further down the road are ideas about arbitrary service networks on top of Swarm (settling of higher level services through Swap, Swear and Swindle).

Also, Swarm provides a messaging infrastructure (PSS).

"Swarm provides censorship resistant storage and communication infrastructure for a sovereign digital society"

Swarm's incentivization layer is not available yet, but implementation has started and progress should be expected by end of Q3 2019. The vision is to offer secure and scalable storage for Web3:

IPFS also plans to offer incentivized operation through FileCoin, but it is not yet available as far as I know.


Much like ETH, Whisper is a protocol that is meant to act way below the incentive layer. It is not meant to send Whatsapp-style messages.

So why should you run it and pay the costs for it? Because its anonymity is based on that huge traffic. If you want to evade traffic analysis, that's your incentive to run it. It makes sense to use when you have a relatively small network and don't want external people to analyze what is going on. For instance, if you're a group of PoS validators and you want to make sure that no one knows who the next block proposer is, before the block is actually proposed.

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