Since 2016, we at ipfs-search.com have been committed to building a neutral, privacy-friendly, open-source search for the Web3 community. However, today we find ourselves at a critical crossroads. Financial challenges are threatening our ability to continue to operate, risking an imminent shutdown of our public services. We wanted to take this moment to reflect on our journey, explain our current situation, and outline our next steps.
Our Journey and Impact
Our story began in 2016, as a hobby project with a vision for a more decentralized and democratized internet. We saw the potential of the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) to disrupt traditional web paradigms and provide a genuinely open, resilient, and privacy-focused infrastructure for information. Recognizing that IPFS’s potential would be unattainable without an effective search and discovery tool, we embarked on creating the first search engine specifically designed for IPFS, giving birth to ipfs-search.com.
As pioneers in this space, we committed to creating a search engine rooted in principles of privacy, neutrality, and transparency – ideals often overlooked by traditional search engines. Our aim has always been to make information accessible to all, unbiased, and free from the control of any single entity.
Throughout the years, we’ve had the pleasure of receiving support from various sources. We received backing from the EU commission’s NGI0 Search and Discovery fund through NLNet Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting a networked world, unrestricted by commercial or political monopolies. We also had to face difficult times, including a previous shutdown, after which Aad from redpencil.io graciously stepped up and offered to support our hosting temporarily.
This support enabled us to evolve from a single server to a proper cluster, enhancing our service. However, as our infrastructure grew, so did the associated costs. Operating costs have become prohibitive for our small initiative, despite our significant personal investments and dedication to this cause. The financial commitment required for maintaining our services has been coupled with our personal financial needs, exacerbated by the onset of the crypto winter and a wider economic downturn.
Nevertheless, our journey has been filled with remarkable achievements. From handling 1000 hits/s on our API endpoints in 2022, showcasing our readiness to scale with IPFS and handle large-scale integration as the first search and discovery platform within the IPFS ecosystem, to contributing to the broader Web3 movement, we’ve left an indelible mark on the digital landscape.
We’ve proudly fostered a more open and inclusive digital world through our open-source commitment, enabling the community to freely use, study, share and improve our work. But as we now stand at a critical crossroads, we reflect with pride on our accomplishments and look forward with resolve to surmount the challenges that lay before us. Our mission of providing a truly neutral, open-source search for Web3 remains unshakeable.
The Current Situation
Without additional funding, we will need to shut down our public APIs in the coming weeks. Site search is already suspended, but API access remains—for now. This is a consequence of the balancing act between our commitment to the mission and the stark reality of operational costs and personal sustenance needs.
The Road Ahead
However, we view this not as the end of our journey, but as a challenging bend in the road. Our vision of a truly democratized internet, where information is accessible to all and uninfluenced by political or commercial interests, remains strong. We’re actively looking for solutions, seeking new funding sources, and exploring every possible avenue to continue our mission.
Stay in Touch
We are committed to transparency and will continue to share updates here on the blog and on Mastodon and Twitter. We’re always open to your questions and suggestions, so feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your understanding and unwavering support.
The ipfs-search.com Team
Mathijs de Bruin