Libp2p is an open network protocol for decentralized peer-to-peer networking.

What Is Libp2p?

Libp2p is an open-source network stack that lets you build modern, fully distributed applications. It provides a common set of tools for building peer-to-peer applications and services, like chat and file sharing, that work together seamlessly. 

Libp2p is the foundation for IPFS, but can also be used in other applications that require a network stack.

The libp2p project was founded by Protocol Labs with the mission of building a fully decentralized stack. It is an umbrella project that aims to unify the fragmented landscape of peer-to-peer protocols, providing intuitive APIs and documentation that enable developers to easily build distributed applications. The libp2p architecture consists of modular components that can be used independently or in combination with other components. Together, these form a flexible and extensible platform for building and deploying decentralized protocols.

Libp2p is a set of networking libraries. It provides several abstractions that help you write robust, scalable and portable applications:

  • A modular and extensible abstraction layer to different network transports such as UDP, TCP, HTTP1, WebSockets, tls, mqtt and others.

  • A collection of standard transport protocols implementations like TCP, UDP, etc.

  • An implementation of the libp2p network stack to connect different applications by defining their communication interfaces in a human-readable and accessible way.

  • The networking layer is built on top of IPFS (interplanetary file system) and Ethereum blockchains.
The purpose of libp2p is to provide easy-to-use abstractions for common peer-to-peer use cases. It can be used as a foundation for more specialized P2P systems. It also addresses some of the common pitfalls of developing P2P systems by providing higher-level abstractions and modularity.

At this point, libp2p only contains networking layers, although there are several separate efforts underway to build out the stack toward a full-featured decentralized web stack.