Announcing ICNS, the Internet Computer Name Service

ICNS — Your passport to Web3.

After months of devotion and iteration, we are thrilled to reveal ICNS to the community! In this post, we’ll give a brief introduction about ICNS, the mainnet product will be launched soon, stay tuned!

What is ICNS

ICNS is short for Internet Computer Name Service, essentially, ICNS maps human-readable names to machine-readable crypto addresses, which will greatly lower the barrier for the general user to enter the Web3 ecosystem as crypto addresses are hard to remember.

On the Internet Computer, identities are especially confusing to normal users as there are principal IDs and account IDs, one principal ID can even derive multiple different account IDs. ICNS can help solve this and make it easier for normal users.

ICNS is not limited to this, it also supports mapping from names to customized user metadata, which makes ICNS extendable, future Web3 products and ecosystems can be built upon ICNS, by then, your ICNS name will be your passport in the Web3 ecosystem.

How to get an ICNS name

ICNS names minimum length is 3 and maximum length is 63, and must only contain lower-case alphabetic characters(a-z), numbers(0–9), and hyphen‘-’, any other characters are invalid.

You can start to grab your favorite ICNS names after we launch the product on the mainnet.

To get an ICNS name, the only way is through the name auction. Name auction is the fairest way for initial name distribution, it gives everyone a chance to participate and can reflect the true value of a name, it can also mitigate the problem of bots and early whales grabbing too many names which are bad for the project’s adoption and long term growth.

Start an auction

If a name is available, you can start an auction on it or place a bid in an ongoing name auction, each auction lasts for 3 days, if someone raised a bid in the final 10 minutes, the auction will be automatically extended by 1 hour.

Claim an ICNS name

After the auction ends, the highest bidder gets the name, you’ll need to manually claim the name on the name auction page.

Reserved names

To honor builders and projects contributed to the IC ecosystem, there’s a list of reserved names that will be available for claim after mainnet launch, these names are reserved for 6 months, if a name is unclaimed within the reservation period, it’ll be open for registration.

The data is fetched from and Twitter, it’s not possible to include everyone, but we equally respect every other contributor to the ecosystem. The reserved list can be found here. bridge traditional DNS and ICNS

We will launch an additional feature along with the coming release:, it helps bridge the traditional DNS system and the Internet Computer Name Service, .icp is not a top-level domain so you cannot really type in “https://dfinity.icp” in your browser and access the DFINITY website, but with the .host feature, it can be solved. Just attach .host to the end of the ICNS name, and type in “” in the browser, it’ll take you to the website.

This feature can also help solve a specific problem on the IC, the Internet Computer is a native full-stack Web3 platform, which means you can deploy both backend logic and frontend interface to canisters on the IC. For frontend on the IC, it usually comes with a long and unfriendly URL like this:, it is hard to remember and unfriendly for normal users, now with ICNS, all you need is an ICNS name to solve this.

You can set your in domain details

There is a “Host” record-setting area in the detail page of each ICNS name, you can set the destination to your frontend canister id or any URL you want, then everyone will be able to access the destination with https://<YOUR-ICNS-NAME>, now you can get rid of the long and unfriendly URL.

The .host feature is only the first use case of ICNS to showcase its ability, there will be more features coming in the near future, enriching the utility and ecosystem of ICNS, the ultimate goal is to build a Web3 ecosystem around ICNS.

The detailed documentation and official website will be released upon mainnet launch, follow us now to make sure you won’t miss the launch!

Media links

  1. Testnet:
  2. Twitter:
  3. Medium:



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