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How does LBRY naming work? Why don't you just assign names the same way as internet domains?

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The problem

Before talking about how names (URLs) in LBRY work, it's important to understand the problem. What is a naming system and why do we have one?

Names exist so that we can map a human-readable and understandable word or term to a more difficult one to remember like number or ID. In the traditional DNS (domain name system), names are mapped to a numerical IP address. In LBRY, names are mapped to a unique, permanent ID representing a piece of digital content and/or a publisher identity.

Designing a naming system that works well and fairly assigns names is quite hard! Consider the domain system you are likely using to access this document. LBRY's domain used to be for a long time, rather than Is it because is providing some unique service? No! It is because a squatter was in possession of it, simply looking to auction the domain name to the highest bidder in demand. We had to negotiate for months (and pay lots of $$$) to get in possession of the domain and we don't want LBRY users to go through a similar experience...we'd rather leave it up to incentives and fixed protocol rules.

The traditional system has several other flaws. It is centralized and a mechanism of censorship, as holders do not have true ownership of their domain, only the top-level provider. Top-level domains (like .io) are also arbitrary and largely illogical (if designing the domain name system again, would we really want to add an arbitrary ".com" to the most prestigious URL for a given keyword? does LBRY have anything to do with the Indian Ocean?). Finally, in addition to incentivizing bad behavior, the flat-fee structure of domains prevents the good behavior from those who are priced out.

We wanted a system that:

  • Allows a single word to be mapped directly to a piece of content, with no other extension or modifier.
  • Allows creators to acquire a URL and own it permanently and forever, without ongoing fees.
  • Allows multiple pieces of content to be located at a single keyword while keeping URLs as short and memorable as possible.
  • Prevents squatters from extorting creators.

After meaningful consultation with creators, consumers, economists, computer scientists, and more, we devised LBRY's naming system.

How LBRY Does Naming

First and foremost it is absolutely possible to own and control a URL forever.

In LBRY, a URL entry is called a claim. For simplicity, a claim can be considered to consist of:

  • The name (a string of characters chosen by the creator)
  • The number of Credits
  • Additional data related to the content and/or publisher identity

Claims in LBRY are non-consumptive. When you designate a number of Credits in a claim, nothing is lost or destroyed beyond the relatively minimal transaction fee. At any time, the Credits allocated to a claim can be used for another purpose, recovered, or sent somewhere else. When this happens, the claim is no longer considered valid.

LBRY supports several types of URL resolution:

Type Resolution
This URL consists of a name and randomly assigned ID. This is permanently owned and controlled by the publisher. Permanent URLs support partial, temporal-ordered ID matching, so these can be quite short (e.g. lbry://name:8 or lbry://name:ab)
This URL consists of a name and one or more characters (first come first serve to preserve uniqueness) from the Permanent URL. This is permanently owned and controlled by the publisher. If a shorter URL is made available, the claim next in line will take over its resolution.
Of all of the claims named <name>, this returns the publish with the most credits committed towards it, not just by the publisher, but by the entire community. These URLs are not permanent or owned but instead controlled by the community itself, allowing the resolution to settle on that which the community determines most appropriate.
A URL corresponding to a publisher identity. These resolve to the identity of a specific publisher and their publishes. Channel URLs can be specified with or without the : modifier. An unmodified URL returns the channel determined by the community.
The piece of content published to the name <example> within the channel of @<channel_name>.


  1. Names aren't bought, only reserved – no credits are lost, only put on deposit. If you win the auction for a name, your credits are held with that name until you decide to withdraw them (at any time you wish). You aren't buying the name from anyone, and no one profits off of the transfer of names. It's just a test of who is willing to deposit the most credits toward a name. The only downside is that you can't spend the credits on content or withdraw them while they are in reserve.

  2. The longer a community name is held, the longer it sticks. Community-controlled URLs don't change instantly if more credits are designated – especially if you've held it for a while. For every month a name is controlled, 1 day is added to the waiting period, for a maximum of 7 days (after 7 months).

  3. Everyone has a say. If you claim lbry://bestmovieever and your film lives up to the hype, user tips and purchases are a strong force keeping your content there. If the community feels a URL resolution is incorrect, they can band together to change it anytime. This is a powerful force keeping bad actors at bay that has already proved useful.

  4. Names are more like search terms. When a user searches the LBRY network, or a recommendation engine suggests content, all valid claims are considered. Not having the community URL for your content does not mean no one will see it. Many different pieces of content under the same name can be displayed when users look for content on the network.

For more details on claims, please see the claimtrie implementation


Whether you're in love with this design or not, you'd likely agree it's unlike anything we've seen before.

The bottom line is that LBRY is dedicated to providing true content freedom. We want to provide the world's best method for creators and consumers to share and monetize digital content without intermediaries. We happen to think this is a superior method to the alternatives, but we're also not dogmatic about it.

We're trying to solve a very hard problem in a novel way, and we're committed to giving this system a chance. 1,000,000 pieces of content in, it has worked seamlessly. But if we ever saw this system harming rather than helping, we wouldn't hesitate to change it.

Relevance in search and trending/top categories

Increasing your bid and receiving tips on your content/channel, increases its relevance in search results and discoverability through the Trending and Top categories on LBRY. Trending calculations are based on how much the LBC bid has increased through any bid updates and tips, compared to all the other claims on LBRY. Learn more.

See a mistake? Edit this page on GitHub.