The Next Phase of ArNS


The AR.IO Testnet began with the introduction Arweave Name System (ArNS) Pilot in June 2022. Milestones that have followed include:

This next phase of the Testnet brings it back to where it all started — ArNS. Read the rest to see what’s new for this phase and learn some alpha on mainnet plans!

What’s New?

ArNS App

The Arweave Name System is a decentralized registry of friendly names for Arweave transactions. is a portal for everything ArNS. Purchase, search, and manage ArNS names and under_names. We’re looking for any and all feedback around the app. We invite you to click around and experiment:

ArNS Service Cache

The ArNS Cache is an easy to deploy microservice that leverages the AO Computer and uses AO processes as a smart contract.

The cache can compute any AO process contract, and serves its full contract state, or any specific object within, as well as all contract interactions. It has advanced capabilities to look up ownership information for ArNS names — ideal for those who want to build with ArNS and need a fast sources of prices, names or latest joined gateways.

The ArNS-AO Registry is easily accessible in AOS via the new ArNS Blueprint. It resolves names by fetching and caching the latest ownership and data pointer information, with a simple TTL to keep it refreshed. It is then easy to reference any Name’s Process ID, Owner or data pointer.

Dynamic Pricing

To date, ArNS names have been priced based on flat fees defined by the core team in the smart contract. That method has served its purpose but is not a robust solution. The future market landscape is unpredictable, token values fluctuate, demand varies, and user needs change.

Considering this, we are introducing two new adaptations to ArNS purchases so that the pricing mechanics are self-contained and adaptive. This ensures that name prices mirror network activity and market conditions. ArNS now incorporates:

  • A dynamic pricing model that utilizes a “Demand Factor” to adjust fees in line with ArNS purchase activity.

A detailed description of these systems can be found in the docs portal:

Name Purchase Types

ArNS offers two name purchase types:

  • Leases which are renewable, short duration purchases that can extend from 1 to 5 years.

  • Permabuys which are permanent and registered indefinitely.

Regardless of the purchase type, each name is archived in the ArNS name registry which is decentralized, permanent, and stored on Arweave. Apps and infrastructure can check the name registry at any point in time, creating a “Wayback Machine” of permanent data tied to friendly names.

Note that ArNS is still in Testnet! While we encourage testing these options, the purchase type for a test name does not guarantee its status in mainnet.

Protocol Balance

Inspired by Arweave’s endowment, the Protocol Balance is a key component of the AR.IO Network that serves as both the main repository and distributor of the network’s incentive rewards.

Revenue flows into the Protocol Balance from ArNS activities, including: instant name leases or purchases, auction completions, lease renewals, and under_name extensions. This revenue directly affects the Demand Factor, which then influences the dynamic pricing of names.

In the future, token rewards will be distributed from this balance to the network’s eligible gateway operators and observers.

More details on the observation and incentive structure will be provided in the coming weeks.

Pilot and Testnet Phases Name Transition

The core team is committed to create a functional, fair, and prosperous domain name system as we approach Mainnet. As such, careful consideration is being given to the transition of names from the Pilot and Testnet phases to the Mainnet, ensuring that early adopters are recognized and rewarded while preserving the integrity of the system for all future users.

ArNS’s development is segmented into three phases:

  • Pilot phase: From the initial announcement in 2022 to yesterday.

  • Testnet phase (← we are here): Starting today and continuing until the mainnet launch.

  • Mainnet phase: The official production launch, alongside the rest of the AR.IO Network.

Pilot phase participants of ArNS — those with registered names prior to the start of this testnet phase — will have those registered names permanently honoured when mainnet launches, with some caveats.

Testnet phase participants that register a name during this phase will also have their name honored on mainnet but in accordance to how they were purchased (leased or indefinitely) and with caveats.

The Caveats

To promote network health, guidelines for names registered during both the pilot and test phases include:

  • Registration Limits: To prevent squatting and encourage value-driven participation, the core team will limit the number of names secured per wallet.

  • Name Curation: Ahead of the mainnet, the team will review and curate names from both phases, prioritizing those that enhance the network’s purpose. Names deemed linked to squatting, non-contribution, or harmful activities will not transition to the mainnet.

Note: Application of these caveats is solely at the team’s discretion.


ArNS provides friendly names for Arweave transactions and is a critical piece of the AR.IO Network. ArNS is the primary source of IO token incentives for gateway operators, which is why this part of the testnet and your feedback is essential.

The core team is dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition for those who joined us early by honoring names during mainnet and those who want to help shape the future of the AR.IO Network Protocol as we continue marching towards mainnet.

Want to try ArNS out? Head over to

Thank you for being an integral part of the AR.IO journey!

Connect with Us

Join our Discord to request test IO tokens for this part of the Testnet and join our Newsletter to stay on top of the latest news and updates about the AR.IO Network.