Skiff, Decentralized

We are building towards the future of online collaboration

Andrew MilichNovember 15, 2021
Decentralized pages and Drive on Skiff with Interplanetary Filesystem (IPFS)

Today, Skiff launches a new, decentralized architecture—realizing our vision to build the application layer for Web3—private, decentralized, and end-to-end encrypted.

Decentralization and privacy defy major trends in the last decade of the internet: Centralization and abstraction. Websites, services, and collaboration platforms serve content, aggregate user data, and run computations via massive data centers and cloud providers. Decades of new algorithms grew around these anti-privacy computation models, from operational transformations (which aggregate and compose user input in real-time collaborative applications) to MapReduce (which permitted massive clusters to sequence and process inflows of user data). Today, when using most cloud services, individuals’ personal information is constantly sequenced and analyzed to support new features - such as predictive typing - and better advertisements.

Today, the world is different. Decentralized finance, storage, and identity upend these traditional models and offer a brighter, more private, and more personal future for computing. Decentralized data structures (such as CRDTs), algorithms, and storage platforms (more below!) present a new model wherein computation can be distributed among users of an application, and data stored without levels of abstraction or control by cloud providers.

Decentralization and privacy go hand-in-hand. While privacy demands that users know exactly how and when their personal data is shared, decentralization keeps users’ information outside of anti-private, centralized databases. End-to-end encryption and decentralization together truly deliver complete control over personal data to Skiff users. Technically and organizationally, decentralization helps us deliver on our core promise to users.
In this world, we see:
The predominant communication and computation model as peer-to-peer (p2p);

Identity as defined by an individual’s keypairs, which can be used for messaging, finance, collaboration, and more;

Users are able to benefit from services without sharing any data with service providers.

In this technical model, Skiff empower users with more control over their work, creativity, and personal information.


Your identity is your keypair. Skiff’s products keep your personal information private to you. Our whitepaper details this approach to provisioning users with keypairs (for encryption and attestation). Like a password manager or a crypto wallet, this technical design represents the foundation of decentralized collaboration.

Decentralized real-time collaboration via CRDTs. As detailed in our pre-launch blog post on decentralized collaboration from March 2021, decentralization allows us to realize numerous technical and user-friendly advantages. In particular, CRDTs enable us to, in real time, synchronize data structures across multiple Skiff users around the world. Users communicate end-to-end encrypted document changes to each other and arrive at fully synchronized, independent copies of working documents.

Decentralized storage via IPFS: We are incredibly excited to announce our collaboration with Protocol Labs and IPFS to build fully decentralized storage into Skiff. In IPFS, Filecoin, and libp2p (for direct peer-to-peer communication), Protocol Labs is building foundational infrastructure to enable decentralized, privacy-first applications like Skiff.

Go to the settings page to enable IPFS.

Go to the settings page to enable IPFS.

Now, Skiff users can store files, static content, and more via the Interplanetary Filesystem (IPFS). Inside the settings page, users can enable or disable IPFS storage.

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