If you’ve been part of the Web3 ecosystem, you’ve come across profiles with .eth in their names across social media.
The .eth represents a users “ENS domain”, which becomes their Web3 identity. This happens for their wallet, through which they interact with dApps in the developing Web3 and within the coming metaverse.
The “ENS” Protocol, short for the “Ethereum Naming Service”, links a Web3 decentralized domain name and ties it with your Web3 crypto-wallet address. Now because ENS follows the ERC-721 standard, your domain names can be minted new, or bought, sold, and actively traded “as an NFT” on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, ENS Vision, LooksRare, X2Y2, and any others.
At the time of writing this, over 17,000 ENS domain names have been sold during the last course of the previous week, garnering over $6.9 million+ in volume. The ENS name “amazon.eth” received a bid for $1 million, but was ignored by the ENS holder. If you’ve been following the recent trends, you’ll see that these domain names have showcased their monetary potential even while this ecosystem is still being actively developed, such as the “floor price” for the “10K Number Club” and for the “999 Number Club”.
These are just a few examples of how ENS names have powered-up users in the NFT ecosystem. If you look at the general weekly/monthly trends on marketplaces. The ENS domain names have overtaken prominent projects in terms of sales and general volume. This shows massive potential for how the domain names will empower and help shape the future of the ecosystem. The long-term future for domain names remains vibrant and will be a stepping stone for how we interact with services, platforms, and businesses in the future.
Usernames: Sync Your Crypto-Wallet to Your “.eth” Name
The primary use-case for ENS is to replace the bulky, hard-to-memorize and keep track of usernames and make them “readable”. This allows you to directly point other users (or an app/dapp) to an address of the ENS owner, and allows the ENS domain name to become your identity across dApps. This also cuts down on users needing to double-check the clunky addresses and makes it much smoother to interact within the crypto ecosystem. (It is important to remember: Zero-width joiners can be added to scam names, so 1. it is best to “not copy-and-paste” Names or Addresses, and 2. to always double-check the names before submitting any transactions.)
If we take a look historically, it was difficult for users to interact or connect with dApps and manage all their integrations across different wallets. Before ENS, it was difficult for users to control their activity and to be able to easily integrate with other services. Imagine a scenario as to what “Sign in with Google” has done for Web2, instead of users logging-in and creating new accounts on every website they use. For Web3, the possibilities are huge with “Sign in with Google” (SIWE), the official EIP-4361 standard, and developer help via Login.xyz.
ENS has provided a simpler way to port over your web3 identity by standardizing it and allowing different dApps to tap into one identity without issues. Your ENS domain can contain your social media handles, email, NFT collections, links to your websites, and much more, without needing you to register that information with dApps. This makes it much easier and much safer for the average user to interact with the ecosystem, without being pawned via centralized organizations.
Crypto Payments: Blockchain Agnostic & Cross-Chain Compatible
Similar to Chainlink & LINK, The ENS protocol is “Blockchain Agnostic” and “Cross-Chain Compatible”, which means that any Web2-organization or Web3-blockchain can implement the ENS protocol.
This is also true for receiving cryptocurrency or token payments. This works via a simple lookup, so when any wallet, exchange, or site/app integrates the ENS protocol, then their service will do a simple lookup in the protocol for the ENS name. The service will look for the type of crypto-address that the user-or-service requested, and if it is detailed in your ENS name records (via the ENS App-manager), then the protocol will simply returns that crypto-address, (again, if that particular crypto-address is detailed in the ENS record).
Anyone can set-up their ENS name to receive Crypto-payments from: ETH, BTC, XMR, BNB, PULSE, DOGE, and, any of the tokens related to any of those chains (IE: Any ERC-20 Token). If there is a new cryptocurrency, and it is not in the accepted list, the any developer can take the steps to get it added to the protocol for everyone top leverage.
Subdomains: Powering-Up Subdomain Potential
With the ENS wrapper slated for release. You will be able to monetize your domains without passing over the ownership. ENS allows you to create unlimited subdomains and configure them individually for different use cases. For example, if you’re the proud owner of the “johndoe.eth” domain, you can create a separate subdomain which points to “pay.johndoe.eth”, this separate entity can act as your wallet to receive payments while “site.johndoe.eth” would point people towards your blog. Likewise, if you’re the proud owner of the “atlanta.eth” domain, you can create a separate subdomain which points to “hotels.atlanta.eth” that could list local hotels, or “john.atlanta.eth” that could be one person unique ENS name.
With the upcoming “official ‘ENS Subdomain Wrapper’ Contract”, you will be able to hand over the sovereign control of subdomains to others. If you own the primary ENS domain name, then you can charge a fee to create these subdomains. This creates an interesting opportunity to capitalize on names, numbers, emojis, and other ENS names for new use cases and business ideas. The coming of the “Official ‘ENS Subdomain’ Wrapper” is anther of the reasons why you’ve seen users amassing names, letters, digits, emojis, brand names, and keywords across different categories.
The ENS subdomain contract enables you to open the registration and the purchase of your subdomains to the public, although new registrar contracts will also be helpful to add functionality. Using the subdomain contract will require you to hand over control of your .eth name to the ENS Subdomain Registrar contract itself, but also, there will be “fuses” to permanently alter the functions and abilities (of the second-level domain) that the “main ENS name holder” will have access to. This is a useful tool to manage and issue subdomains, and to work on issuing subdomains to individuals, with your teams or all by yourself.
When the $ENS Subdomain Wrapper is Released, "USE CAUTION BEFORE" Permanently Burning Fuses!
Wrapping your #ENS Name is like Opening a Pack of Cards, or Upgrading Antique Cars.
You may be able to sell 1K subdomains for #1ETH each, but IF NOT WRAPPED, Could Had Been More!
— GaryPalmerJr.eth.limo 👁 2223.eth 🌱🐇 (@garypalmerjr) July 12, 2022
Decentralized Websites: Link to IPFS or TOR Sites
The internet as we know it, most aptly described as Web2, works because of DNS (Domain Name System) and servers. These servers store website data linked to certain IP addresses. DNS allows internet users to access the data through easy and memorable domain names like “web3domains.com”, instead of long IP addresses (similar problem as wallets and ENS names in web3). In Web2, centralized organizations can (and do) prevent access to certain websites by sending orders to the ISPs, hosting providers, or via ICANN, to disable those websites.
But with Web3, name and hosting control is decentralized. Decentralized websites can be hosted via IPFS hashes, or the TOR-address via the TOR Browser. It is difficult or impossible to censure IPFS or TOR Web-addresses, and these difficult to read (hashed) IPFS or TOR addresses cab be linked to, and made human-readable, via Web3 ENS Names. These Web3 ENS addresses are still new. There are semi-decentralized services that allow you to resolve ENS-Websites, by adding “.limo” or “.link” to the end of the ENS-Website-Name.
Currently, ENS/IPFS sites are “indexable” in Google/Search, via the .limo service:
1. Google & Chrome could make .eth Names resolve by default, in a simple version update.
2. ENS + Chainlink + Eric Schmidt 👀🌱🐇🦾
3. The https://t.co/1TioppjNuA & https://t.co/Ny2ParVMZP names do resolve in Google SEO/Search: https://t.co/ainVXsONIb
— GaryPalmerJr.eth.limo 👁 2223.eth 🌱🐇 (@garypalmerjr) June 3, 2022
Further, “Emoji” ENS/IPFS sites are also “indexable” in Google/Search:
— GaryPalmerJr.eth.limo 👁 2223.eth 🌱🐇 (@garypalmerjr) August 1, 2022
However, while we need to add the “.limo” or “.link” extension currently, we are not far from being at a point where domain names with a “.eth” address will be able to resolve naturally through popular browsers and platforms. For example, the Brave browser is using Infura, and if you use the Brave browser to search for vitalik.eth, you’ll be redirected to Vitalik’s personal blog, (without having to add the “limo” or “.link” to the end).
Typing in a .eth name in the URL bar in the @brave Browser now automatically asks to allow resolving with Infura. Though it'd be nice to have other options besides Infura too, this is pretty cool! You don't have to manually allow .eth resolving in settings now. 🚀🥳 pic.twitter.com/7r1zNEam23
— Zadok7.eth | 00h07.eth (@realZadok7) August 3, 2022
Your .eth domain names can be used for myriad applications, building a decentralized website is just the stepping stone to truly owning your content (which we’ll take a look at in a subsequent guide) and allowing your content to stand the test of time. We’re just getting started and the future looks bright for the ENS ecosystem!