Bitcoin Name System (BNS)
What is BNS?
Web3 domain name services such as BNS and the Ethereum Name Service ("ENS") have become extremely popular in recent months.
Blockchain Name System (BNS), considered use-cases of blockchain technology, are blockchain domains that are secure and open, with decentralization at their core. The domain assets only belong to the owner and are censorship-resistant, making integrity one of their top qualities.
They can be used as the user's digital identity and social media handles, to store usernames, fungible and non-fungible tokens, avatars, and other profile data to be used across dApps in the crypto and Web3 ecosystem.
DNS (Domain Name System) make the internet easier to use, allowing users to simply remember a human-readable name rather than an IP address. With BNS, users have more functionality than with DNS, as well as full control over their private keys. Data is securely stored and cannot be tampered with, or deleted.
A good example of BNS domains is the .btc domains. This is the Stacks blockchain's decentralized web identity and human-readable wallet address system. .BTC domains are registered through a smart contract on Stacks, secured by Bitcoin. This smart contract implements a decentralized name registry. Given Stacks' unique connection to Bitcoin, registering .btc names automatically generates a pair of corresponding Bitcoin and Stacks addresses and ownership of every .btc name is represented in a hash of the Bitcoin blockchain. Stacks is uniquely positioned to unleash Bitcoin's potential, enable Bitcoin DeFi and help grow the web3 ecosystem.
On Gamma, you can use your blockchain domain to transfer NFTs to someone by typing in their .btc name instead of the longer alphanumeric wallet address, or you can use it to view your own --- or someone else's --- profile and NFTs on Gamma. Your BNS name is automatically reserved as your unique profile address, like gamma.io/example.btc.
What are ENS domains?
ENS domains enable users to register domains issued on the Ethereum blockchain.
These domains are programmable and interact with other Ethereum-based dApps. Since they use the ERC-721 token standard, ENS domains can also be traded as NFTs, with the vast majority of their trading activity taking place on leading marketplaces OpenSea and LooksRare.
ENS is composed of two Ethereum smart contracts: the ENS registry, which records domain names, and the Resolver, which translates domain names to machine-readable addresses and vice-versa.
To date, over 2.6 million total ENS names have been created. Investors and speculators have been purchasing popular domain names, in the hope of flipping them for a profit when the time comes where brands and corporations want to acquire their associated domain name, to establish a presence within Web3. For example, the Ethereum address owning "nike.eth" has accumulated over 130 ENS domain names including the domains "sony.eth" and "strawberry.eth".
ENS also allow users to launch censorship-resistant decentralised websites and to upload their website to IPFS and access it with their ENS name. To register an ENS domain, go to ens.domains and search the name you'd like to purchase. You will need an ETH-compatible wallet such as Metamask or Coinbase Wallet.
Another popular Web3 domain name service provider is Unstoppable Domains. Unstoppable Domains works similarly to ENS but offers support for additional top level domain server names. Whereas ENS domains only follow the naming convention of "name.eth", Unstoppable Domains allows users to purchase domain names that can include top level domain servers such as "name.crypto", "name.wallet", "name.nft", "name.dao", "name.bitcoin", amongst others.
The Unstoppable Domains community has registered over 2.5 million total domains in 3 years, transacted $80 million in primary sales, and the project supports over 275 tokens and 370 applications.
How can I buy a .BTC domain name?
To claim your Bitcoin domain, head over to https://btc.us/. Connect your crypto wallet and make sure to select an address that does not already have a .btc domain tied to it, as you can only have one per address.
If the name you'd like to purchase is available, you will be able to pay with cryptocurrencies (STX and Bitcoin) or USD. That's it, your name registration is complete and your domain name is yours for five years! You'll then need to pay some renewal fees if you'd like to keep it.
The btc.us web bridge also allows users to use their names as web pages. The web bridge turns btc.us into the top level domain and allows users to generate subdomains for their personal use. This means that with your Bitcoin domain registration, you can link to your website's address via your domain name. Let's take example.btc, once linked to your website with a top level domain (TLD) such as .com, typing example.btc in the browser URL bar will lead users to example.com.
For more information on selling, buying and transferring .btc domains, head over to this article.