Ethereum Name Service (ENS)
An introduction to BNS Web3 domain name services such as the Ethereum Name Service (“ENS”), the leading decentralized domain name registry service, have become extremely popular in crypto news feeds in recent months.
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.
Blockchain Naming Service (BNS), considered use-cases of blockchain technology, are blockchain domains that are secure and open, with decentralization and integrity at their core. The domain assets only belong to the owner and are censorship-resistant and can be used as the user’s digital identity, storage for usernames, fungible and non-fungible tokens, avatars, and other profile data to be used across dApps in the crypto and Web3 ecosystem.
What is Ethereum Name Service? The Ethereum Name Service is a distributed, open and extensible naming system that interacts with the Ethereum blockchain. Nick Johnson and Alex Van de Sande of the Ethereum Foundation led the initial development of the ENS DAO, where the governance token is ENS.
In November 2021, ENS launched with a very successful airdrop: ENS tokens were sent to users of the service and established a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, to manage it. ENS token-holders use their assets as company shareholders would: they can make decisions about pricing, protocol changes and how to manage funds within the treasury. The introduction of ENS tokens had the added benefit of transitioning the project's funding model away from grants. ENS tokens are tradable for USD and other cryptocurrencies on crypto exchanges such as Binance.
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 brands and corporations want to acquire their associated domain name, for example Amazon.eth, to establish a presence within Web3. The Ethereum address owning “nike.eth” has accumulated over 130 ENS domain names.
How do ENS domains work? ENS domains enable users to register domains issued on the Ethereum blockchain. Similar to the role of the DNS mentioned above, the role of the ENS is to map human-readable names such as "john.eth" to a machine-readable name such as an alphanumeric wallet address, content hashes, metadata, and other cryptocurrency addresses.
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. 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.
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.
Other assets that have a similar market cap to Ethereum Name Service include IoTeX, Gnosis, Terra, and many others.
What are other BNS domains? ENS is not the only BNS system out there. .BTC domains are the Stacks blockchain’s decentralized web identity and human-readable wallet address system. The 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 enable Bitcoin DeFi and help grow the web3 ecosystem.
The BTC.us web bridge 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, allowing users to link their websites via their domain names. 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.
On Gamma, Stacks’ leading NFT marketplace, you can use your .btc name to transfer NFTs to someone by typing in their domain name instead of the longer alphanumeric wallet address, or you can use it to view your profile and NFTs on Gamma, as well as other users’ profiles. Your BNS name is automatically reserved as your unique profile address, like gamma.io/example.btc.
For more information on selling, buying and transferring .BTC domains, head over to this article.