Tornado Cash IPFS: What Exactly Is It?

Similar to a blockchain like Ethereum, IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) is a peer-to-peer network that is shares the same characteristic of being decentralized. However, instead of being a ledger that records transactions, IPFS focuses on storing and sharing data in a distributed file system.

In this article, we will look into what IPFS is and how it the perfect complement for Tornado Cash, a non-custodial privacy solution that offers privacy and security when transacting crypto assets on the blockchain.

Let’s start with going through some key definitions before deep diving into the workings and merits of Tornado Cash IPFS:

  • Tornado Cash: Initially designed as a privacy-preserving protocol for Ethereum, Tornado Cash helps users anonymize their cryptocurrency transactions by obfuscating the origins and destinations of crypto assets. This solution is vital in a landscape where every transaction is publicly traceable on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • IPFS: Stands for InterPlanetary File System, a protocol and peer-to-peer network for storing and sharing data in a distributed file system. IPFS allows users to host and receive content in a manner that makes web pages faster, safer, and more open. It replaces the traditional HTTP protocol with a system where every piece of content is represented and accessed through hashes, aiming to make the web faster, safer, and more open. A distributed (or in other words decentralized) system for data storage and access is utilized, which enhances speed and performance while reducing the reliance on centralized servers.

Enabling access to the Tornado Cash app through IPFS has emerged as a viable setup that enhances reliability through decentralized data storage, especially in the face of U.S Treasury sanctions that has resulted in the constant censorship of the protocol. This has come to be known to many as the IPFS version of Tornado Cash or Tornado Cash IPFS in short.

Some Background On Tornado Cash

Abstract depiction of the background of Tornado Cash

Before we delve into the merits and workings of Tornado Cash IPFS, let us first understand what Tornado Cash is all about and how it functions within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Across multiple blockchains, Tornado Cash currently exists as the de-facto privacy tool in the areas of recognition and volume. Right from launch in 2019, it was fundamentally designed as a fully decentralized solution. Here is a breakdown of its key workings:

  • Anonymity Pools: Users deposit Ethereum tokens into a smart contract based anonymity pool, where they are mixed with funds from other users. This process obfuscates the links between deposit and withdrawal addresses.
  • Zero-Knowledge Proofs: Upon withdrawal, a cryptographic method known as a zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) is employed. This allows users to prove they own tokens in the pool without revealing which specific tokens are theirs.
  • Decentralized Autonomy: Tornado Cash operates as a fully decentralized platform without any governing authority, which means no single point of control or failure can access the transaction details or influence the operations beyond the deployed smart contract.

But why is such a solution necessary? It is simply due to the transparency of blockchain ledgers. Tornado Cash’s ability to obfuscate the link between deposits and withdrawals allows users the confidence of transacting on the blockchain knowing that their financial privacy is fully protected.

Exploring IPFS: The Backbone of Decentralized Storage

Decentralized storage through IPFS

The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a critical piece of technology that shares an important characteristic with the cryptocurrency world – decentralization. Understanding IPFS is key to grasping the full potential of Tornado Cash IPFS. Here’s an in-depth look at what IPFS is and how it contributes to a decentralized web:

  1. Distributed File Storage: Unlike traditional web servers where files are hosted on central servers, IPFS stores files across a network of nodes. This means that when a file is uploaded to IPFS, it is broken down into smaller pieces, distributed across different nodes, and indexed by a unique fingerprint called a hash.
  2. Retrieval via Hashing: When you need to access a file stored on IPFS, you request it through its hash. IPFS locates all the nodes storing pieces of your file and efficiently retrieves them. This method is highly resilient to node failures and avoids the pitfalls of centralized data centers.
  3. Content Addressing: Files on IPFS are accessed via their content rather than their location. This content-based addressing helps in eliminating duplicate files across the network, reducing the storage space and improving efficiency.
  4. Benefits Over Traditional Systems:
    • Redundancy: Multiple copies of data ensure reliability and fault tolerance.
    • Performance: Fetching data from the nearest node speeds up the load times.
    • Censorship Resistance: Decentralized nature makes it difficult to censor specific content.

The Role of IPFS in Blockchain Technologies: For blockchain applications, IPFS enhances performance by offloading the data storage from the main blockchain to a distributed system. This not only speeds up transactions but also reduces costs associated with data storage on the blockchain, which can be significant.

As we will cover in the next section, IPFS integration in the context of Tornado Cash is more straightforward and mainly aimed at ensuring reliable usage of the protocol.

The Integration of Tornado Cash with IPFS

Integration to bring about Tornado Cash IPFS

Integrating Tornado Cash with IPFS is signification in the world of Web3, combining decentralized versions of finance and data storage. Through IPFS, the Tornado Cash DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) hosts items such as the Tornado Cash web app and docs that are crucial for keeping the protocol up and running.

Here are 5 key merits that justify why Tornado Cash IPFS is not just a technical enhancement but a crucial development for the protocol:

  1. Enhanced Privacy and Anonymity: By hosting the Tornado Cash Classic and Nova apps on IPFS, the platform reduces reliance on traditional web servers, which could be prone to surveillance or data collection by third parties. This setup enhances user privacy by distributing the application across a decentralized network, making it harder to track users or their activities.
  2. Resilience to Censorship and Downtime: IPFS ensures that the Tornado Cash application is hosted on a peer-to-peer network, which is inherently more resistant to attempts at censorship or targeted attacks. This decentralized hosting ensures that the application remains available even if parts of the network are disrupted.
  3. Global Accessibility: The decentralized nature of IPFS means that the Tornado Cash apps can be accessed from any location, without the need for centralized CDN services. This global distribution helps avoid geographical or political restrictions, ensuring that users worldwide can access the service with equal ease and speed.
  4. Security from Decentralization: The distribution of data across numerous nodes in IPFS not only aids in privacy but also adds an additional layer of security. It mitigates the risk associated with centralized data centers, which can be vulnerable to hacks, data breaches, or other forms of cyberattacks.
  5. Scalability and Efficiency: As Tornado Cash potentially grows in user base and transaction volume, IPFS provides a scalable solution for managing the increased data flow and user interactions. The efficiency of data retrieval and distribution across a distributed network helps maintain performance without the hefty costs associated with scaling up traditional server infrastructure.

This nuanced integration emphasizes leveraging IPFS for what it does best—providing a resilient, distributed platform for hosting data and applications. For Tornado Cash, this means ensuring that the application used for interacting with the privacy-focused smart contracts remains universally accessible and resistant to censorship, complementing the privacy assurances provided by the blockchain technology.

Using Tornado Cash IPFS: Addressing Common Questions

Using Tornado Cash IPFS on laptop

When considering the use of Tornado Cash IPFS, one probably has questions regarding its accessibility, safety, and potential challenges. Addressing these common queries can help clarify how the technology works and what users can expect from it.

How to Access and Use Tornado Cash with IPFS

  • Use the Official Link: Always ensure that you are accessing the legitimate IPFS address for the Tornado Cash Classic app to avoid falling prey to phishing scams. On this note, double check that you are always using official Tornado Cash links at all times.
  • Accessing the Interface: Users can access the Tornado Cash Classic app through an IPFS gateway or by using an IPFS-compatible browser such as Brave. This ensures that they are connecting to a decentralized version of the app, enhancing privacy and security.
  • Using the App: The straightforward UI of Tornado Cash’s app makes transacting with Tornado Cash app self explanatory. However, there may be some additional steps necessary post-sanctions that are described here.

Common Challenges and Troubleshooting Tips

  • Connection Issues: Users might experience issues connecting to the IPFS network due to node availability or network congestion. In such cases, trying different IPFS gateways or adjusting network settings can help.
  • Transaction Delays: Like any blockchain-based platform, Tornado Cash can face transaction delays during periods of high network activity. It is always advisable to plan transactions ahead of time and consider gas fees and network activity when initiating transactions.
  • Maximizing Privacy: Always adhere to best usage practices to maximize your privacy when using the Tornado Cash app.
  • Official Community Channels: Join official community forums and support channels for valuable insights on usage, updates to the protocols and potential security issues.


The integration of Tornado Cash with IPFS represents a significant step forward for cryptocurrency privacy. By combining Tornado Cash’s robust privacy features with IPFS’s decentralized storage, this solution essentially offers a censorship-resistant tool for anyone seeking privacy when transacting on the blockchain.

More broadly, the Tornado Cash IPFS setup not only stands as a beacon of privacy, but also sets an example for other privacy-preserving technologies in the blockchain space. It embodies the principles of user sovereignty and data protection, which are essential as digital currencies become increasingly integrated into global financial systems.

Additional Resources and Further Reading

If you are interested in delving deeper into the technologies and concepts discussed, here are some curated resources that can enhance your understanding of Tornado Cash, IPFS, and their role in cryptocurrency privacy.

  • Tornado Cash Documentation: Access official Tornado Cash docs through IPFS and technical details at the GitHub repository.
  • IPFS Documentation: Explore detailed explanations and operational guidelines at the official IPFS website.
  • Tornado Cash Community Resources: Other articles available at the Resources section of this website for you to learn more about Tornado Cash and cryptocurrency privacy.
  • “Mastering Blockchain” by Imran Bashir: This book provides an extensive overview of blockchain technology, including the privacy aspects and decentralized file systems.
  • “Blockchain Applications: A Hands-On Approach” by Arshdeep Bahga and Vijay Madisetti: Offers insights into various blockchain applications, including those related to privacy and decentralized storage solutions like IPFS.

Online Courses and Tutorials

  • Coursera and Udemy: These platforms offer courses like “Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Explained” and “The Complete IPFS Course” respectively that can help beginners and advanced users alike understand the intricacies of these technologies.

By exploring these resources, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of how Tornado Cash and IPFS work, their implications for privacy in the digital age, and their potential future developments. Whether you are a developer, researcher, or simply a curious enthusiast, these resources provide valuable information to help you navigate the complex landscape of cryptocurrency privacy solutions.