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What Are ENS Domains? | Notum

By Notum

Sep 26, 20224 min read



Perhaps not everyone remembers, but once to get access to some web resource, the user had to enter a long and unreadable IP address. However, with the arrival of the Domain Name Service (DNS), everything has changed. DNS can be compared to a contact search system in a smartphone, where DNS servers are telephone directories with contact lists. They contain information about domains and which IP address belongs to each. DNS can be represented as a translator between people and machines. Internet users can easily find the right websites by entering an easy-to-remember domain name.

However, for the service to get its domain name, the owner must pay expensive fees to a centralized provider. And here, the sticking point begins when we talk about the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and decentralized finance spheres. In an attempt to create something more suitable for the next decentralized Internet (Web 3.0), the service Ethereum Name Service appeared.

What Is Ethereum Name Service (ENS)?

The Ethereum Name Service platform was launched in 2017. The ENS service has similar functionality to the DNS but fits better into the Web 3.0 concept due to improved decentralization and censorship resistance. Thus, like its centralized progenitor, the ENS allows users quick and convenient access to the necessary Internet resources via readable domain names. The main task of the service is to serve as an intermediary between people and computers, so the service allows you to transform complex identifiers (such as long wallet addresses, hashes, or metadata) into understandable person .eth domains. In addition, all these domains are stored in a secure, decentralized, and censorship-resistant Ethereum blockchain.

The purpose of the Ethereum Name Service is to facilitate the use of cryptocurrencies in the virtual space. As a result, instead of a long address bar with random characters, coin holders acquire a separate readable domain at which their crypto assets will be stored. Of course, sharing a short pseudonym with others is more convenient when making transactions. The service aims to combine all wallets, sites, and subdomains in one link. As a result, it reduces the psychological perception of the crypto space as something complex, technical and incomprehensible. In the technical documentation, ENS defines itself as a “distributive, open and extensible naming system.”

It is worth noting that this service is decentralized and not regulated by any particular body, which makes it as secure and censorship-resistant as possible. Furthermore, unlike a centralized naming service, it does not have a single point of failure, which is often especially important for the crypto community.

How Does ENS Work?

Remembering the addresses of cryptocurrency wallets is still a headache, so almost no one does this. Therefore, we copy addresses and rely on the operation of the system of a mobile device or computer. Because of this, users often fall for the bait of scammers who, with the help of malicious software, replace the address copied by the victim in the clipboard with their own. That is why ENS services may become very popular in the foreseeable future.

Instead of the long and complex 0x6574n9eth63245nm473r4ui39ed446d89i88, it will be possible to send coins to the users’ .eth address.

ENS works based on smart contracts in the Ethereum blockchain. The developers claim that their platform is much more secure than many popular DNS. The work of ENS is based on two Ethereum smart contracts:

  • The ENS registry includes the created domains and stores data about the owner and the converter. In addition, it keeps a cache of internal changes;
  • A contract that converts chaotic domain addresses into easily perceived ones. This element assigns naming to domains, which are subsequently tied to a specific owner.

To create an ENS name, you must go to the ENS app and select an available option. You must connect your Web 3.0 wallet to pay the service fee. In addition, ENS allows you to import existing DNS names via DNSSEC (The Domain Name System Security Extensions). Please note that the cost of registering .eth name varies depending on the number of characters. Thus, at the time of writing, the registration cost is: 5+ characters .eth name is $5, 4 characters (for example, lulu.eth) is $160, and 3 characters (for example, max.eth) is $640. Therefore, you should choose the naming based on your capabilities and requests. After that, the acquired domain remains linked to a crypto wallet and websites, and you have to develop subdomains. 

ENS Benefits

First, ENS helps avoid confusion during transactions with cryptocurrency if there are several addresses. The user can create subdomains to set other data in the future. It is not necessary to link the address of the crypto wallet. Subdomains can be used as a path to a smart contract, metadata, and financial transactions.

To date, the Ethereum Name Service has no competitors. As a result, this makes the service unique in simplifying user interaction with the blockchain. Clarity and ease of perception when in the crypto space allow as many people as possible to join the world of cryptocurrencies.

A huge advantage of .eth domains is following the vision of Web 3.0, namely decentralization and censorship resistance. Thus, no one will be able to block your domain if any structure considers the content of your website inappropriate. 

In addition, .eth domains are extremely convenient for business owners and ordinary users. For example, you can link a readable .eth name to the address of your crypto wallet and send it to your customers, relatives, or friends. In this case, neither you nor the senders will have to worry about the correctness of the entered address. They will not have to double-check the entered characters many times (since we remember that only one typo and your funds are lost forever).

And finally, the .eth names registered by you are NFTs. That is, you have sole and unquestioning ownership of your domain name, which is recorded in the Ethereum blockchain. Therefore, you can sell your .eth names on open NFT marketplaces.