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The Significance of ENS Domain Names of Web3 and the Case for Their Use
Breaking Down the Universal Identities of Web3 aka web 3.0
The Role of ENS in Web3
In the early days of the internet version 1.0, before Domain Name Systems (DNS) of web 2.0 even existed, navigating the internet was a grueling task. We had to plug in our landlines dial-up and listen to the distinct sounds as it connected to the internet then wait a long time for even one photo to load on a screen let alone to load what qualified for a website in web 1.0. Instead of just always having the internet integrated into all your devices at the tip of your finger tips all the time and simply typing in “google.com” into your search browser, early internet users had to manually type Google’s IP address, “2001:4860:4860::8888”, so it was readable for machines. In the 80’s the concept of DNS was created to translate human readable domain names (URLs) rather than inputting a machine readable IP address. Similar to pre-DNS days of web 1.0, the web 3.0 blockchain technology requires a long string of alphanumeric characters that are used to uniquely identify each wallet address. Wallets act like a social media account for an individual’s cryptocurrency. We share our Twitter or Instagram usernames with each other to receive direct messages or view posts, but we never share our passwords in web 2.0. A public key or wallet address in web 3.0 aka web3 is like a Twitter “@username”, and the private key would act as the password used to access the account. Before sending crypto to another wallet, users have to type out this case sensitive wallet address perfectly to the receiving party, or else the funds will be sent to another wallet and be lost forever.
But in 2017, something profound happened. While the masses still had little exposure to the crypto and NFT world, the Ethereum blockchain launched ‘Ethereum Name Service’, also known as ENS. One of the primary purposes of ENS is to make crypto more accessible by converting lengthy Ethereum wallet addresses into simplified URLs. For instance, instead of manually typing “0x71C766EC7” to search for a wallet, an individual can register an ENS domain name, and be found by simply typing “Mike.eth”.
This technology directly mirrors the solution DNS created for early internet adopters. According to the ENS Domains Website, “ENS is the most widely integrated blockchain naming standard”. And the numbers don’t lie; at the time of writing there are currently 2.5 million registered ENS (.eth) domain names, with over half a million owners. As of September 2022, the number of ENS registrations has reached record highs.
Total ENS names registered in September 2022. Source: Dune Analytics
Wallets, Websites, and User Identities
ENS names have been integrated into hundreds of decentralized applications (dApps) that are the foundation of Web3. Several web browsers and wallets support ENS domain names too, which means users will be able to make transactions, and store all of their wallet addresses under one ENS name. This may not sound all that exciting, however there are huge opportunities for creators to have complete ownership over their brand’s username. For content creators transitioning to Web3 from Web2, ENS domains are almost like a dream come true. They are versatile in every way for the creator, providing them with a unified username across all platforms.
The wallet tied to the ENS domain name can store one’s avatar, email, website, social media, and so much more. This personalized user profile would act as an identity on the blockchain while navigating through the Web3 environment. Users would essentially have a Web3 identity that could be used to sign up for specific dApps, wallets and websites, with complete username rights and ownership, which is the very foundation of Web 3.0. In contrast to our current web 2.0 internet ecosystem, big tech platforms may allow us to use their apps for free, but our content and usernames are ultimately owned by the platform on which we share our content.
Example of a registered ENS profile and its contents.
For already established users in the Web2 space, there is an opportunity to import your DNS names into ENS. This feature alone encourages and propels the widespread adoption of Web3. Most DNS names are supported by ENS, including but not limited to “.com”, “.org”, “.io”, and “.app”.
The ENS Movement
If you ever explored the global crypto community on Twitter, you may have noticed that outside of the vibrant profile pictures of pixelated avatars and unbothered apes, many sport an ENS domain followed by “.eth” as their Twitter names, and sometimes even as their “@username” itself!
The Ethereum Name Service is the most widely adopted NFT in Web3, and the growth was purely organic. There is no exclusive community, advertisement, marketing strategy or even influencers used to promote ENS domains. This is simply an indicator for the future growth of the Web3 movement, and its potential to bring ownership back to the user. The native name suffix for ENS is .ETH, which has all of the security benefits of being blockchain-native, and enables users to launch censorship resistant websites with their ENS domain. ENS has single-handedly amplified the user experience for peer-to-peer transactions on the blockchain since its inception in 2017.
The Future of ENS Addresses
While ENS domains are still in their early years, users and brands alike have been rushing to secure their ENS domains before they become scarce, just as they did in the early days of DNS. Similar to domain names, many people are buying several ENS names with the possibility of reselling them to businesses or creators who want that specific “.eth” domain. We saw a similar scenario unfold, after the NFL’s New England Patriots announced a multi-year partnership with a blockchain software company. Following this announcement, “Patriots.eth” was purchased for 75 ETH. This ENS purchase was the first step in bridging the gap between the world of sports and Web3.
ENS is not a groundbreaking technology; rather, it is an old technology applied to a new and advanced system. It is also critical for the future of blockchain technology because it makes it easier to use and adapt on a global scale.
The difference with web3 domains is you purchase them and pay that one time fee and then you own it to sell or lease out. Whereas web2 DSN domains you lease from the registar every year.
- 448.eth. (2022, August 17). The role of ENS in WEB3. Web3 Domains℠. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://web3domains.com/the-role-of-ens-in-web3/
- Georgiev, G. (2022, August 25). What is ENS? Ethereum Name Service explained (updated 2022). CryptoPotato. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://cryptopotato.com/what-is-ens-ethereum-name-service/
- Redman, J. (2022, August 4). ENS domain registrations skyrocketed last month, total names created nears 2 million. Bitcoin News. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://news.bitcoin.com/ens-domain-registrations-skyrocketed-last-month-total-names-created-nears-2-million/
- Brantly.eth. (2022, January 5). Step-by-step guide to importing a DNS domain name to ENS. Medium. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://medium.com/the-ethereum-name-service/step-by-step-guide-to-importing-a-dns-domain-name-to-ens-d2d15feb03e8