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5 min read

Building on Arweave: Tools for Token-Gated Access for Web3 Protocols

Written by
Bithiah Koshy
Published on
May 28, 2024
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Building on Arweave: Tools for Token-Gated Access for Web3 Protocols

The concept of token-gated access revolves around restricting access to certain content such as source code to only those individuals/entities that hold a certain amount of $U tokens or AR tokens. This ensures that only those with a vested interest in the protocol, either financially or through ownership of the token, can access and potentially modify its codebase.

One can leverage the capabilities of Arweave and Universal Data License (UDL) to implement token-gated access. All that is needed is to host protocol resources on Arweave from source code, documentation, and other resources.  These would be stored as data transactions. This provides a permanent and immutable storage solution for these assets. 

Platforms exist, such as Protocol.Land, that allow you to easily host protocol resources on Arweave. Protocol.Land integrates with Git to preserve, incentivize, and permanently archive code on Arweave, ensuring its longevity and integrity. 

Real-World Applications

There are several possible high-potential use cases with the implementation of token-gated access for projects building on Arweave:

  • DAOs: Token-gated access could be used to restrict access to critical infrastructure such as smart contracts, treasuries, and processes. Special benefits in a DAO are reserved for members with a specific amount of AR tokens. This is how we can implement token-weighted mechanisms (where an entity’s power is proportional to the number of tokens they hold).
  • Beta testing: During beta testing, it may be beneficial to restrict access to minimize leaks and low-quality user issues. Token-gated access incentivizes users with AR tokens to be early adopters and provide feedback.
  • Content Platforms: Hosting content and materials with Arweave is infinite. Token-gated access can be used to recommend content based on a user's token holdings. This also allows for tiered content access, subscription-based access, and more incentives for usage.
  • Web3 Gaming: Grant users access to in-game content, events, and experiences on the player’s holdings or atomic assets (NFTs). This creates a great all-rounded gaming experience in increased player engagement and time and financial investment in the game’s ecosystem.

Possible Implementation Mechanisms

Universal Data Licence (UDL)

At the moment, we don’t have any implementation of licenses for source code but utilizing UDL for access control is one possible way of defining the licensing terms for accessing these resources. We need to:

  1. Access control
  2. Verify token holdings 
  3. Grant access to resources

By using the “License-Fee” tag, we can specify the minimum amount of tokens that a user must hold to gain access and duration (one-time, months, etc.). 

"License-Fee": "{duration}-1000"

In this case, users would need to hold at least 1000 of the specified currency ($U or AR) to access the resources.

Once the user's token holdings are verified and meets the requirements, they would be granted access to the protocol's resources hosted on Arweave.

  • Commercial Usage: UDL enables Commercial license with the implementation of the “Commercial-Use” tag. For commercial entities or users who meet the token-holding threshold, the project could offer commercial rights and access.

Business Source License (BSL)

The Business Source License (BSL) could also play a role in this token-gated access model. For example, for non-commercial use or for users who do not meet the token-holding threshold, the protocol's resources could be made available under an open-source license like MIT or Apache but will be incentivized to then contribute with Protocol.Land’s bounty feature.

And to give commercial use or users who do meet the token-holding threshold, another layer of trust and governance. Commercial users will be in some ways incentivised to hold and potentially acquire AR to gain full access and commercial rights addressed with BSL.


UDL's flexibility in defining licensing terms could be leveraged to introduce additional conditions or rights tied to token holdings and can in the future even enable token-weighted voting mechanisms which we see carried out in some DAOs.

By combining immutability and programmability of Arweave, the customizability of the UDL, and the idea of a dual licensing model, this token-gated access approach could provide a way to govern access to a decentralized protocol's resources while incentivizing token ownership and fostering a vested community. 

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