The decentralized repository is heavily inspired by ethPM and the infrastructure in the WAREZ community. The latter has been proven resilient and efficient1 over the past decades.

Looking at the WAREZ Scene on BitTorrent or Usenet, there is always a separation between the actual files and a search index. While the files live on the BitTorrent network or in newsgroups, respectively, the search index is typically a website or another separate application. The other one still exists if the files or the index becomes unavailable. Given the many-to-many relationship between content and indices, the system can scale and is resilient at the same time.

This is particularly true for partially centralized systems like the Usenet and the usage of public file hosters. Due to DMCA take-downs and similar processes, content must be reposted either in original or obfuscated form.

ethPM proposed the creation of federated smart contracts on Ethereum, which act as on-chain registries. Each project is supposed to create and maintain its own registry. They contain a minimal amount of data points: package name, version, and a link to more metadata. The metadata is stored off-chain and should be referenced via a content-addressed URI. It points to a JSON file that contains more information on a given smart contract software package: Link to the source code, version, deployments, etc.

Users of ethPM need to compile a set of trusted registries themselves. There is no single entry point for the system defined. Each registry must implement the ERC-1319 interface, but the concrete implementation is up to the maintainer. This means that admins could potentially change the current state of the registry and, for example, remove invalid or flawed releases after publication. However, previous states can be recovered due to the nature of the blockchain.

As the initial metadata is stored on-chain, the system can become censorship-resistant as the information cannot be removed. Furthermore, if the metadata and subsequent payloads are stored decentralized, they cannot be deleted as well.

Apart from the standard repository features, the dRepo uses separation defined in these two repository systems. Additionally, leveraging a permissionless blockchain, like ethPM proposes, adds convenience and security to the system.


The decentralized repository’s core is separated in an Index and a Storage component. This separation allows the usage of fitting technologies for each of these concerns while also propagating spatial partitioning and, thus, decentralization. Simply, a software package’s metadata is stored differently and on other systems from the actual packages.

Furthermore, the core is defined as a minimal protocol open to extension. This allows software ecosystems to add rules and conventions to fit their needs. This openness makes it also usable in the future as long as the software development fundamentals do not change.

Generally, the index component is a package registry on a permissionless smart contract blockchain that only holds metadata and location information on software packages. It allows a basic search within a tree structure of entries and gives authors a minimal set of functions to manage publications. In addition, the index is append-only, so neither authors nor any other party can remove or overwrite information after it is published.

A unified index allows users to quickly find packages without searching various sources, which entails verifying each given source. Each ecosystem, e.g., Maven Packages, Docker Images, etc., should host their own index with preferred customizations and conventions. Besides the unified approach, proxies and federated setups are also possible if they fit the needs of an ecosystem or users better.

The storage component is not an actual software component like the index. Instead, it is a collection of various data sources spread across multiple networks and systems. This might include decentralized storage solutions like BitTorrent or IPFS or centralized storage like AWS S3, GitHub, or existing repositories. This allows authors and users to pick their favorite or best-fitting source. Furthermore, distributing files and thus creating redundancy offers higher availability. Finally, as with the index, not committing to a single distribution system allows the repository to adopt new technologies in the future without fundamentally changing the base protocol.

dRepo Architecture

dRepo Architecture: The system is separated into an index and a storage component. The index is a smart contract on a permissionless blockchain holding software package metadata and managing publications. Each package points to multiple resources across various storage solutions.

Separating index and storage into open, almost self-sufficient units creates a highly flexible system. For instance, each component could be switched out for another implementation or protocol while the other can continue to work without significant interruption: moving the index from a blockchain to a new safe system does not impact stored files on IPFS and adding a new storage system does not invalidate existing entries within the index.

  1. File sharing and such brought the music industry almost to its knees. ↩︎

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