ICNS Mainnet Release!

5 min readFeb 22, 2022


ICNS is now live on the Internet Computer, come and grab your favorite names at https://icns.id now!

Users can now access the ICNS APP at https://icns.id, you’ll be able to participate in name auctions, manage your names, transfer your names in the APP, the whole process is fast and gasless benefit from the Internet Computer’s unlimited scalability and reverse gas model.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Thanks to the DFINITY Foundation for building the truly Web3 native platform, thanks to the ENS project for the inspiration, thanks to the Psychedelic team for the amazing Plug Wallet, CAP, and Wrapped ICP, and thanks to every other builder of the IC ecosystem!

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 can only contain alphanumeric characters (lowercase letters a-z, numbers 0–9) and hyphens (‘-’).

To get an ICNS name, currently, 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.

Note: payments are settled with WICP in ICNS, you can convert your ICP to WICP on Soinc.

For detailed prices, refer to the FAQ page or our documentation, you can also find the detailed tutorial on how to participate in a name auction here.

Reserved names

To honor builders and projects contributed to the IC ecosystem, we have a reserved name list for them, these names are reserved for 6 months, if a name is unclaimed within the reservation period, it’ll be open for registration.

The reserved name list can be found here, if you are on the list and want to claim your name, post the following content with your Twitter account and we’ll assign the name to you.

Hi @icnsid, I want to claim my reserved name: icns.icp, my principal id is: xxxxx.

icp.host: bridge traditional DNS and ICNS

We have launched an additional feature along with this release: icp.host, 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://icns.icp” in your browser and access the ICNS website, but with the .host feature, it can be solved. Just attach .host to the end of the ICNS name, and type in “https://icns.icp.host” in the browser, it’ll take you to the https://icns.id 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: https://xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx.ic0.app, 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 icp.host 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>.icp.host, now you can get rid of the long and unfriendly URL.

The .host feature is only the first application of ICNS to showcase the ability of ICNS, 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.

Media links

  1. Website: https://icns.id
  2. Twitter: https://twitter.com/icnsid
  3. Medium: https://icns-id.medium.com
  4. Discord: https://discord.gg/6vvCJD7uf7
  5. Documentation: https://icns-id.notion.site/icns-id/ICNS-6b672c75e8bb4945b797910727d46167