Arweave’s Permaweb is about to witness a major upgrade, and it’s all thanks to the team at AR.IO. We are referring none other than Arweave Name Service, aka ArNS, a decentralised and censorship-resistant naming system that is enabled by AR.IO Gateways – used to connect friendly names to PermaWeb apps, pages and data.
Who is AR.IO you ask?
The AR.IO project – lead by the ArDrive team, and advised by key gateway and mining pool developers – is an improved gateway tool with an incentivisation layer that aims to democratise, decentralise and enhance gateways.
Now, with ArNS, gone are the days when you needed to type in a 43 character long Arweave Transaction ID to access data. ArNS will offer the ability to have simplified, user friendly names in place of those URLs. The team sees ArNS as the Smartweave-powered phonebook of the PermaWeb.
ArNS is set to launch on test net within the next few days, with a closed 200 spot pilot. More on that further down. For now, let’s look a little closer at what ArNS is and what it’s solving.
— AR.IO Network 🐘 (@ar_io_network) June 27, 2022
Why we need ArNS
Up until now, an Arweave URL would be a combination of an Arweave Gateway’s DNS name plus an Arweave Transaction ID. Something like this:
It is highly crucial to the success, legitimacy, and future adoption of the Arweave ecosystem to implement something such as ArNS. The average user that comes across Arweave will most likely see its benefits. However when they’re faced with seemingly endless transaction ID lengths, they may be put off. And let’s be real, having dApps that use recognisable URLs, instead of their Arweave TXIDs, just look more trustworthy.
You see, unfriendly, 43 character long names cause many problems such as:
- Unfamiliarity due to referencing websites by IP like addresses
- Suspicion caused by sharing links that contain random 43 character strings
- Flagging caused by internal systems due to spam-like addresses
- Inability for people to recognise or remember the address to their favourite site or app
This is where AR.io’s ArNS comes in to save the day.
Essentially, ArNS will replace the lengthy 43 character Arweave TXIDs with friendlier, more memorable, and visually appealing names that anyone can remember.
In the world of traditional DNS, users are able to buy URL names from a registry, which DNS name servers convert to IP addresses. ArNS works in a similar way. But since we’re talking about blockchain and Web3 here, the registry is completely decentralised, permanent and stored on Arweave (with Smartweave). Subsequently, the AR.IO gateways handle the caching, and resolve the name.
Users are able to register a name within the ArNS Registry. The system uses a token standard known as Arweave Name Token, aka ANT. Once a user has registered a name on the registry, it cannot be purchased again. However, users will be able to trade ANTs on supporting market places.
ANTs are where the conversion from the 43 character transaction ID to the user friendly name happens. Owners of these tokens are able to set a pointer to any valid Arweave Transaction ID. In turn, the AR.IO gateways resolve that name as one of their own sub-domains, and proxy all requests to the associated Arweave Transaction ID.
The ArNS Pilot Program
AR.IO has created a Pilot Program that will be launching tomorrow, the 29th of June. They want to get everything right, so they will be testing out the system before main net launch, via the use of two Smartweave Contracts.
- The Arweave Name System (ArNS) Smartweave Contract
- The Arweave Name Token (ANT) Smartweave Contract
Participating in the pilot test, and claiming the test net – ANT – does not give you any rights over claiming the equivalent main net ANT.
Something for participants to consider: Maybe instead of exposing the ANT you really desire, and risk having someone front run you and snap it up during main net launch, opt for choosing a different name for the test period.
The pilot is open to 200 total participants including approximately 30 early invites. Anyone from the ecosystem wishing to participate in the pilot may apply through the Discord program for verification.
The test will commence on 6/29/2022 and end on 8/29/2022, lasting two months. At the end of the testing period all the test names that were created will be deleted.
If you would like to participate in the test, and help the team make this next giant leap for the future of the Permaweb, you can access the AR.IO Discord server here, join the #arns-pilot channel, and complete the survey and post to the channel.
The team will respond and supply ANTs, if you are accepted.
Check out the full update on the Arweave Name System and what it can achieve.