Did you know that mistyping wallet addresses is one of the most common ways of losing crypto? That said, we can all agree that long wallet addresses are a bit annoying and confusing. There’s an Ethereum-based project known as Ethereum Name Service (ENS) that tries to combat this problem by allowing users to display long Ethereum public addresses in a simplified text form.
ENS provides the same service for web 3 as the Domain Name Service or DNS does for web 2. Instead of typing 184.108.40.206 to visit our site thecomprehensive post, you can simply type ‘thecomprehensivepost.com’. Similarly, in ENS, the long, tedious combination of letters and numbers can be simplified to say thecomprehensivepost.eth which is easier to memorize, use and share.
That said, these two services differ significantly especially since the Ethereum Name Service leverages the capabilities of the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike the DNS, ENS is decentralized, making it resistant to censorship and overall more secure.
How does the ENS work?
Similar to how DNS has top-level domains like .com or .org, Ethereum Name Service also operates on a system of dot-separated hierarchical names called domains. The top-level domains, such as ”.test” and ”.eth”, are controlled and owned by smart contracts known as “registrars” which specify the rules and regulations that govern the distribution of subdomains.
Therefore, for us to create thecomprehensivepost.eth we would have to interact with the .eth registrar. Afterward, we will then have total control over the sub-domains. This means we have the freedom to create say, ”pay.thecomprehensivepost.eth” or “email.thecomprehensivepost.eth”.
The domain names use the ERC-721 standard to represent a unique address. This is the same standard that represents ownership of NFTs hence making domain names tradable. All of these are possible due to two main components of the Ethereum Name Service working in the background: the registry and resolver.
The former maintains a list of all domains and subdomains while the resolver handles the translations from names to addresses or other types of resources and vice-versa.
So, how can you get your own ENS domain?
First, you’ll need to head over to the app.ens.domains after which you will be prompted to connect your wallet. Choose any of the available wallets. After connecting your wallet, type in the domain name you are interested in and click search to check its availability.
You’ll notice that most of the popular names are not available. This is because they were auctioned off in ENS’ early days. Though, if you find that your desired domain name is available, click on it. Here, you can choose your registration period and also see an estimate of the fees.
When you are ready to proceed click on “request to register” at the bottom right of your screen.
This will bring up your wallet. Hit the confirm button to approve the transaction. You’ll need to stay on the page as your domain name is processed.
When processing is done, you can click on “register” at the bottom right of the screen. Congratulations! Your Ethereum Name Service is now registered.
You’ll still need to set a resolver and bind your old address to your new Ethereum Name Service name. To do this, under “Resolver”, click “Set” and Select “Use Public Resolver”, then click “Save”.
To bind your old address to your Ethereum Name Service name, under “Records”, click the drop-down menu, select “Address” paste your address in the field, and click “Save”. Once this is processed, you can now receive crypto through your new ENS name.
Advantages of ENS compared to DNS
The most obvious advantage of Ethereum Name Service domain names is the user-friendliness they come with. They are not only less confusing, unlike the long string addresses but are also easy to remember. This reduces the chances of errors.
Also, ENS does not suffer from security issues faced by a DNS system since ENS records are secured by the Ethereum blockchain and so they cannot be destroyed. DNS however, is not decentralized like ENS, since it stores records of domains and names on a centralized server, it is prone to hacks.
According to Coindesk, in October 2020, Google’s threat analysis group monitored a record-breaking 180,000 attacks on DNSs as well as on other network targets that were launched from Chinese internet service providers.
Ethereum Name Service has its own governance tokens and DAO. Holders of the ENS token can submit proposals and cast votes to determine the direction the protocol goes in the future. Note that Ethereum Name Service is just one of the domain name service providers available, there are other several competitors including Unstoppable domains.
They are both built on Ethereum and both help to achieve similar purposes however there are some big differences philosophy-wise. For one, Ethereum Name Service is an open and public protocol developed by a nonprofit that is heavily focused on decentralization and community decision-making.
Unstoppable Domains on the other hand operates as a for-profit company. This comes with its own drawbacks, as there have been cases of the company preventing some domain names to be owned by users even if they are not in use.
And you didn’t already know, there’s even an exclusive group known as the 10k club for Ethereum Name Service name holders from 0-9999. In fact, there are a lot more exclusive ENS clubs but we’ll cover that in another article.
Will ENS replace DNS in the future?
All in all, Ethereum Name Service is making a positive impact in the crypto ecosystem by helping to make interaction with the blockchain easier. And as its popularity continues to increase, it is sure to be one of the important components of web3. Do you think that ENS will replace DNS in the future? Let us know in the comments.
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