We are launching our first release of Pinacolada, our automated IPFS pinning service. This release is the occasion to test our work on test chain (test blockchain), before a release on a main chain.
What is Pinacolada?
Pinacolada is an IPFS pinning service managed by blockchain smart contracts.
What is IPFS?
IPFS (the InterPlanetary File System) is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol for content addressing. An alternative to the HTTP protocol, IPFS builds on the principles of peer-to-peer networking and content-based addressing to create a decentralized, distributed, and trustless data storage and delivery network. With IPFS, users ask for a file and the system finds and delivers the closest copy without the need to trust a centralized delivery source.
IPFS nodes around the world provide their pinned content thru the IPFS network. You can host your own IPFS node on your laptop, on your browser for example, and “pin” your own content or content you like from someone else. What you pin is shared to the IPFS network.
But the thing is… If you turn off your laptop, your IPFS node is not online anymore and the content not pinned with another still-online IPFS node can’t be available if someone asks for it.
You’ll need the service of Pinacolada to keep your pinned content online!
How Pinacolada works?
With Pinacolada, users manage their pins by interacting with smart contracts (smart contracts are programs deployed on a blockchain). In the same way, our servers interact with the same smart contracts to manage our IPFS servers in order to pin/unpin the right pins.
During this test phase we use a test network as a blockchain (Sokol Testnet). But our target is to deploy our services on an Ethereum side-chain called xDai chain where the transactions are very fast and fees are very low.
Where can I try Pinacolada?
You can try it here : testnet.pinacolada.cloud
How to use Pinacolada?
Now we will explain how to make your browser able to interact with Ethereum-like blockchains on your computer and then how to use Pinacolada.
Get ready for the web 3.0 with Metamask!
First of all, you have to install the Metamask extension to your browser (Chrome/Firefox/Edge/…).
Then you have to add a new custom RPC. Follow the steps described in the picture :
Next, enter the following details into the prompt:
- Network Name: Sokol
- New RPC URL: https://sokol.poa.network
- ChainID: 77
- Symbol: SPOA
- Block Explorer URL: https://blockscout.com/poa/sokol
After that, just make sure your network is switched to Sokol by choosing it from the drop-down menu in the earlier step where you chose “Custom RPC”.
Next, click on your wallet name/address on Metamask to copy your wallet address and go to the faucet to get free-SPOA money to pay the transactions fees: faucet.poa.network.
Ta-da! You’re now connected to Sokol and ready to try Pinacolada.
This is what you should see when you arrive for the first time on testnet.pinacolada.cloud:
Now, you have to login with the Metamask extension we just installed by clicking on the button on the top-right corner. A Metamask window should appear. You have to allow Metamask to share your address. Click on “Connect”.
Then you have to sign a message to agree with our (very simple) terms and to prove “who” Metamask says you are.
The User Interface
Now you’re logged in. The screen changed. On the top bar of the screen (1) you can see the following:
- Your balance of PINA Coins. You must have some PINA to pin content on our IPFS pinning service. To open your wallet window click on your balance. Here you could see more information and use our DEX (Decentralized Exchange) to buy or sell some PINA (see picture on the left).
- The settings button gear icon. Use this button to set up your email address if you also want to receive notifications by email.
- The bell icon. This drop-down button is for your notifications.
- “Your address” button.
- The logout button.
In the middle of the screen, you can refresh your pins list (2) and add new content to pin (3).
There are three ways to add content:
- by CID (IPFS Content ID. Each content has an unique CID (example: 6). If you add content by CID, you will actually import already-pinned content
- by file upload
- by folder upload (useful to host websites, for example)
Don’t forget, IPFS is a public network. Don’t publish private things on it.
Once you’ve added new content, in order to host your content on Pinacolada, you have to pin it. To do so, make a deposit of PINA coins (by clicking on “Deposit” (4)). When you want to make a deposit the app asks you how many days you want to pin the content. The smart contract calculates the amount of PINA needed according to the size of the content in bytes. After the content is pinned, you can check if it is really pinned and hosted by clicking on the link next to the content name (7). You will visit your content thru Pinacolada’s gateway.
If you want to stop pinning content before the planned duration, press “Refund” (5) and confirm the transaction in Metamask. The remaining PINA balance of the content will be sent back to you and the content will not be hosted by Pinacolada anymore.
That’s all! Now you know how to pin IPFS content with Pinacolada pinning service.
As we said before, Pinacolada is currently on testnet. Our next step is to deploy our service on the xDai chain.
In the current release, the only geographic zone available is France. We plan to deploy more IPFS zones to increase content replications around the world.
And more features are in mind… So let’s be in touch!
Where can I find help?
We provide support via our Telegram group. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, report a bug or just share your experience of Pinacolada.
Also, there is a Telegram channel to follow the team announcements. Follow us to be aware of Pinacolada’s news!