# Introduction


The goal of AR.IO is to create a decentralized and incentivized gateway network aimed at attracting more gateways to the Arweave network therefore making the permaweb more accessible to all. At the core of AR.IO’s incentivization mechanism is the IO Token, a utility token used for joining the network, payments, and protocol incentives. The network features modular and composable gateway infrastructure in addition to the Arweave Name System (ArNS) – a system for assigning friendly domain names to permaweb data.

# What is AR.IO

AR.IO is a global network, protocol, and currency that enables the permaweb. It is the decentralized and incentivized gateway node network of the Arweave ecosystem. Comprised of operators, developers, and end users, this network leverages a utility token to proliferate access to the permaweb: the files, applications, web pages and data permanently stored on the Arweave decentralized storage network.

The various nodes on the AR.IO Network, known as gateways, are the interface between users and the permaweb. Each gateway acts like a “Permaweb Service Provider” and supports multiple, value-added, services like reading, writing, querying, and indexing of Arweave data.

The AR.IO token, referred to as IO or ɸ, is a SmartWeave token used for protocol incentives, gateway accountability, and payments for services like the Arweave Name System (ArNS). It will enable gateways on the AR.IO Network to operate under a low-trust model with the users of their service.

# Why AR.IO ?

Arweave (a Layer 1 blockchain network) offers scalable and permanent on-chain data storage in a sustainable manner. It does this by incentivizing miner nodes through a tokenomic endowment model which ensures data is globally stored and replicated for hundreds of years without the need for continual payment by its uploader.

However, this Layer 1 protocol does not incorporate all the needs of permaweb applications like data indexing, querying, retrieval, and other vital services. Consequently, over the pasts few years, infrastructure services have been independently developed and deployed to meet the demands of the permaweb at scale. Users and apps have come to rely on these gateway utilities, but they are closed source, have complex codebases, and are expensive to operate.

Arweave also does not offer any tokenomic incentives to offset the expenses associated with operating a gateway, which has led to the community’s reliance on a single centrally controlled gateway subsidized for the betterment of the network: arweave.net. While arweave.net currently caches and indexes the entire weave with a high quality of service, it is a single bottleneck for the whole ecosystem.

AR.IO seeks to reduce the barriers of entry and attract more gateway operators to the permaweb with the goal of further enhancing its overall health, resiliency, and functionality through decentralized mechanisms that are as trustless as possible.

The solution will be applied in two directions:

  1. By reducing gateway overhead costs with open source, efficient modular networked architecture.

  2. By creating an economic incentive layer with the IO Token.

Our goal is to create a framework for a healthy and sustainable decentralized gateway network.