ENS airdrop is coming. Why is decentralized domain name and account system important to Web3?

Since the decentralized domain name and account system can host applications, websites and user identities, there is reason to believe that this is an indispensable part of the Web3 world.

If you recall the experience of the first encrypted currency transfer, especially when confirming the recipient’s address, I believe you may have been troubled by these questions: Is this string of garbled addresses correct? Is it necessary to check the accuracy one by one letter? Does it matter if the letter case is messed up? What should I do if I miss a letter? Can the transaction be rolled back if the transfer is wrong?

In contrast, in all the regular Internet products we use, most of the time, as long as you confirm a simple name, user name, nickname, mobile phone number or email address, you can safely confirm the identity or address of the other party.

It’s as if the “user experience” matter has never been mentioned in the priority of the cryptocurrency world. Such a common demand has not been solved even after 10 years.

However, fortunately, more and more start-up teams have begun to explore this field. Their core is to provide “translation” services, and perform mutual “lossless” between “computer language” and “human readable language” . Translation .

This is why it is not necessary to record his original Ethereum account address (0xd8dA…6045) when transferring money to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin , but just remember “vitalik.eth”. The latter is a typical example. The human-readable user name.

In fact , the blockchain network headed by Bitcoin and Ethereum, due to the use of asymmetric encryption technology at the bottom of the account, which is commonly referred to as public and private key encryption, this system is naturally computer-friendly, which leads to human The readability is rather unfriendly.

In order to solve this problem, these teams use the smart contract function of the blockchain, or directly use the public chain itself to build a set of “mapping” and “translation” systems to map the native underlying addresses of the blockchain to humans. The readable “user name” serves as an “identity” that the user exposes to the outside world.

At present, among the underlying protocols for constructing this kind of user-readable account system, there are several projects such as Ethereum Name Service (ENS) , FIO , DAS, etc., each of which has its own characteristics: ENS is the most popular, FIO provides richer functions, The interoperability of DAS is better.

Another scenario: the domain name system, which is the business portal

In addition to the account system, there is also a very large application scenario, which is the “domain name system” .

Because the blockchain network can not only carry users’ assets, it can also provide various businesses or services under the blessing of smart contracts, especially Internet or financial businesses. Many people will also build on the decentralized technology stack. The Internet service is called Web3 .

Therefore, the service entrance of these businesses, which is the form of “website” commonly used in Web 2.0, may undergo some fundamental changes at the infrastructure level.

Simply put, traditional Web 2.0 applications are mainly composed of “domain names” (such as google.com) and “servers” (such as cloud services hosted on Amazon) . Then, through the traditional DNS (Domain Name Service) system, the domain name is mapped to the “IP address” corresponding to the server, so that ordinary users can access Google’s website through “google.com”.

And to Web3 world, in order both to these centers, storage and computing power “server” can be provided by IPFS , Ethernet Square , Dfinity various decentralized technology combination to achieve, but the community also hopes Decentralize the “domain name” through the blockchain network.

The earliest attempted Namecoin is a project more than ten years ago. It created a blockchain network with a top-level domain name ending in “.bit” by forking the Bitcoin code, hoping to integrate more downstream applications. They are trying to independent and subvert the existing DNS system.

But they also encountered their own problems. After all, the concept of the project was too advanced, so several similar projects, such as Unstoppable Domains , Handshake, etc. , did not appear until 8 years later . In addition, ENS and DAS also support such applications, and ENS is currently the most widely used decentralized domain name.

Horizontal contrast

Among these decentralized domain name and account system agreements, Namecoin and ENS are the two core ones. Namecoin uses the blockchain for domain name management for the first time, and ENS has become a new account system and part of the decentralized application protocol stack under the support of the Ethereum smart contract.

With the addition of those new types of agreements, all these projects can be divided into two core scenarios: focusing on domain names and focusing on account systems , and some projects will support both types of scenarios at the same time.

The user scenario of the “focus on domain name” project is more to replace or supplement the existing DNS system. Through integration with IPFS and other protocols, it can realize the function of a completely decentralized front-end website, so they pay more attention to the web browser (Such as Brave or Opera) to cooperate to improve the user experience. Currently, ENS and Unstoppable Domains are the most integrated protocols by browsers.

“Focus on the account system” project is more to give users the use of the account system, such as direct integration in decentralized applications (DApp) , and more need to focus on the cooperation and entry-level products such as cryptocurrency wallets Integration to improve user experience. At present, ENS is widely integrated in mainstream cryptocurrency wallets and DApps, and FIO claims to be supported by many cryptocurrency wallets, but the actual adoption is still in the early stage, and community attention has also fallen to almost invisible.

Another core difference lies in the ownership model of the registered name . Some are permanent ownership (but may need to be declared once a year, and the network transaction fee can be paid) , while some are lease models, which require a certain annual lease fee.

The agreement that can register permanent ownership is more user-friendly, which is equivalent to a one-time payment for permanent use, while the leasing model is more friendly to the agreement itself, and continuous income can be used to maintain the agreement and iterate its functions.

In addition, each agreement also differs in multiple dimensions, such as whether to choose to build a public chain by itself, and the specific registration price.

ENS airdrop is coming. Why is decentralized domain name and account system important to Web3?

Ancestor: Namecoin

Namecoin is one of the earliest forks of Bitcoin, even earlier than Dogecoin, and the block creation time is only 2 years and 3 months later than Bitcoin. Its non-anonymous founder Vincent Durham has long retired, and the agreement has been maintained by other developers.

However, Namecoin can be regarded as a failed attempt. At present, it is negligent in maintenance and has no specific application, so if you are not interested in this history, you can skip this part and go directly to the next chapter.

Therefore, many parameters of Namecoin directly refer to Bitcoin, which is a total of 21 million native tokens, NMC, but its smallest unit “swartz” is to commemorate the RSS protocol and Markdown protocol developer and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz , who was also on the blog before. (https://web.archive.org/web/20170424134548/http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/squarezooko) describes a scheme (Nakanames) that was later implemented by Namecoin .

Unlike those that use Bitcoin code to make similar cryptocurrencies, Namecoin hopes to store records similar to DNS through blockchain technology, that is, to combine “.bit” with other specific IP addresses and addresses in the system. The “mapping relationship” is recorded on Namecoin’s blockchain.

Therefore, the Namecoin blockchain can also be regarded as a database that maintains records of the top-level domain name “.bit”. As for why they chose the domain name “.bit”, it may be because the word represents the smallest unit of binary “bit” in the computer field.

For most traditional top-level domain names (such as the most popular “.com”) , it is actually managed and maintained by a non-profit organization called ICANN. Its full name is Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ( Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) . This organization was established in 1998 and is located in California, USA. In addition to managing and coordinating top-level domain names, it is also responsible for managing the allocation of global IP addresses.

Namecoin is currently independent of the ICANN system. Fortunately, the “.bit” they chose is not a traditional top-level domain name, so there is still the possibility of compatibility or access to ICANN in the future.

However, compared to the centralized management of ICANN, the characteristics of Namecoin are still very obvious. Like Bitcoin, its ledger is based on distributed storage, network security relies on computing power, and more importantly, its domain name registration process is resistant to censorship. No permission is required.

User scenario: ZeroNet

In the ten years since the birth of Namecoin, one of the most important user scenarios came from the integration of the “decentralized network” ZeroNet , which became the “domain name” in the network.

It is also very simple to use. When registering a Namecoin domain name, users can map the page links in the ZeroNet network to a specific “.bit” domain name, and then other users can use “xxxxx.bit” to access pages in ZeroNet. .

For Namecoin, it only stores the data of the bit domain name and the unique identifier of the third-party system page (similar to IP) in the blockchain of the Namecoin network, and the third-party system only needs to run the Namecoin node to obtain all these associations. .

Speaking of ZeroNet itself, it is actually a geek and niche project. It uses Bitcoin’s cryptography technology and BitTorrent’s P2P network technology to form a decentralized network in which users can do without permission. When a website or service is created, the content of the website will also be stored in a decentralized and distributed manner, and it can also be accessed offline. Users only need to run a ZeroNet client to access the network.

The ZeroNet protocol was still actively developed from 2015 to 2019, but it was neglected to maintain and manage it later. The agreement has never issued tokens, and because it is too free, it may be used in scenes such as illegal darknets. It has been blocked by some countries through technical means.

How to connect to existing infrastructure?

As a protocol independent of the ICANN system, Namecoin currently has no way to directly reuse the existing Internet infrastructure, especially the domain name resolution (D NS) process.

For traditional domain names, for example, when users access the “.com” domain name, they will resolve domain names and IP addresses through caches or DNS services at all levels. These are already the default processes of most devices, and users don’t need to perceive and disassemble them. Ready to use.

However, for users of bit domain names, they also need to run specific software or services to achieve this. This part will increase the threshold for users to get started.

The security of the Namecoin blockchain data itself is guaranteed by cryptography, so users need to run a Namecoin full node first to download the records of all domain names locally. Then you need to run an official NMControl tool, which is similar to a local DNS server and will be compatible and handle all connections to the Internet.

It may also have some compatibility issues. For example, it relies on Python, so it is a bit unfriendly in the Windows environment. The official said, “NMControl has good compatibility, but it is not perfect.”

But before it becomes a mass product, it still has a lot of room for improvement.

Industry benchmark: Ethereum Name Service (ENS)

It is no exaggeration to say that the Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS) has gradually evolved into the most influential account system and decentralized domain name system in the cryptocurrency market , although it is still a small-scale project with a very early user experience.

ENS was an early project incubated by the Ethereum Foundation . It was implemented based on Ethereum’s smart contracts, so there was no need to maintain an additional blockchain network. Even the currency system was reused with ETH. currency. Later, with the improvement of the project and continuous cash flow, it has been operated independently of the Ethereum Foundation.

Compared with its predecessor Namecoin, ENS has further expanded its use, not only limited to the field of decentralized domain names, but indirectly became an account system with community consensus.

In addition to many DeFi and DApps deploying decentralized front-end website versions through the “.eth” domain name, many KOLs in encrypted communities use their ENS accounts as their Twitter names, and many applications use ENS second-level domain names as their Twitter names. The account system of the agreement.

ENS airdrop is coming. Why is decentralized domain name and account system important to Web3?

In addition, ENS’s decentralized domain name resolution capabilities have also been integrated into several cryptocurrency-friendly web browsers, such as Brave and Opera .

In addition, ENS has also proposed another magical solution. Compared with Namecoin, ENS can access the infrastructure of the traditional Internet more conveniently and is compatible with all existing browsers . This solution is actually very simple to implement, that is, the ENS team purchased the traditional domain name eth.link to provide resolution services for all users who access the ENS domain name.

In other words, users only need to add “.link” after the ENS domain name. For example, for browsers with native resolution capabilities, you can access the decentralized version of Uniswap website by visiting the “uniswap.eth” URL, while for browsers without native resolution capabilities (such as Safari or Edge) ), you can also visit the website by visiting “uniswap.eth.link”, because the holder of “eth.link” is the ENS team, and they can decide which resources their second-level domain name “uniswap.eth.link” accesses.

However, whether eth.link itself is accessible may vary by country or region. And this may bring some centralization risks , such as the eth.link server may be attacked. Therefore, the service provided by ENS is a solution that compromises security and user experience at the current stage. In the long run, it still needs to rely on the full node of the Ethereum blockchain to ensure absolute data security.

Reverse analysis: initial results of the account system

The integration of the reverse analysis function of ENS in various decentralized applications means that users and applications are treating ENS as a kind of underlying account system.

It is necessary to explain first. For Ethereum users, it is usually to create an Ethereum address starting with 0x as the user’s receiving address. Then consider registering an ENS name, such as vitalik.eth, and mapping vitalik.eth to the Ethereum address starting with 0x. This is called forward resolution.

Forward analysis : vitalik.eth ———> 0xd8dA…6045

The reverse resolution means that after the user logs into the application with the account address of 0x, such as the Uniswap website, the user will not see the address starting with 0x, but directly mapped to the user’s ENS address.

Reverse analysis : 0xd8dA…6045 ———> vitalik.eth

ENS airdrop is coming. Why is decentralized domain name and account system important to Web3?

This means that users and applications start to use the ENS name as their default username. What’s more interesting is that an address that has been reversely resolved will directly display the ENS account name on Etherscan, the largest block explorer for Ethereum users.

ENS airdrop is coming. Why is decentralized domain name and account system important to Web3?

After the reverse analysis function was launched, the community actually did not realize the usefulness of this function on a large scale, but the ENS team organized related community activities to encourage more applications and users to set up reverse analysis (because this function requires additional steps to operate) , So it is understood by various applications and users.

Third-party protocol integration: the default account system for Web3 applications?

In addition, ENS has also become an account system used by many protocol integrations, which are generally implemented through second-level domain names, such as the three major Web3 applications Mirror , Radicle and Argent .

Mirror is a decentralized content publishing platform. Text content is stored in Arweave for permanent storage, while business logic and account systems are built on Ethereum. Since Mirror owns the traditional domain name Mirror.xyz, and ENS has developed in-depth cooperation with the xyz domain name, the xyz domain name can also operate in the ENS system.

The magic of the Mirror account system is that it contains a dual function: it can be used as a mapping of Ethereum addresses or as a link to a website.

Users can register (currently not fully open to the public) a second-level domain name of mirror.xyz as the user’s account name and URL. For example, Linda Xie’s Mirror account is “linda.mirror.xyz”, and the account will resolve to one in ENS Ethereum address, and the link can be accessed directly in the web browser to enter Linda Xie’s Mirror page.

Radicle ‘s approach is similar. It is a decentralized code management tool (similar to GitHub) . In the Radicle system, users can register a second-level domain name of “radicle.eth” as the user name and unique identifier of the entire Radicle network. symbol.

Argent is a cryptocurrency wallet based on smart contracts. Users can register a second-level domain name of “argent.xyz” as the user’s account name, which is convenient for users to use wallet tools. Coincidentally, the official websites of the above three projects all end with .xyz, because ENS’s support for .xyz in the early days is more friendly, and it has now been opened to a more general domain name system.

Rookie: DAS, Unstoppable Domains, Handshake and FIO

In addition to these two earliest domain name systems, there are several relatively new protocols that are also worthy of attention, especially DAS , Unstoppable Domains , Handshake and FIO .

DAS: Focus on interoperability and support any blockchain

DAS stands for the Account Systems Decentralized (decentralized accounting system) , which uses Nervos as the infrastructure of the system, because of the use of Nervos, it can achieve a lot of unique features compared to Ethernet Square, for example, you can use any public chain The private key to register and manage DAS.

In terms of specific use cases, DAS currently supports the management and control of the DAS protocol through the private keys of ETH and TRX, which means that Ethereum users can directly manage DAS-related smart contracts in the Nervos network without the need Generate Nervos address.

ENS airdrop is coming. Why is decentralized domain name and account system important to Web3?

This function can be realized because the underlying design of the Nervos protocol is more abstract and can be compatible with the specific cryptographic algorithms of any blockchain. For example, another team named Portal Wallet previously demonstrated that assets in the Nervos network can be sent and received through Ethereum addresses, because Nervos can support Ethereum’s public and private key algorithms.

In terms of wallet support , DAS should be said to be second only to ENS. It has supported many mainstream wallets, including TokenPocket, imToken, HuobiWallet, AlphaWallet, HyperPay, BitKeep, etc. Applications like NFTScan and NFTGo have integrated DAS. .

In addition, DAS also adopted the “.bit” domain name . After all, this domain name is not a patent of the Namecoin team and has not been registered by ICANN. There are no existing Namecoin users (for example, I once registered a bunch of Namecoin accounts, but I never renewed them) .

The core scenario of DAS can not only be used as a unified encrypted currency collection account to support the sending and receiving of multi-chain assets, but also as a home page for personal information (bit.cc) , or as a domain name for a decentralized website. But in terms of the team’s vision and product name, DAS is more like an account system, and the domain name is just an attached function.

The data growth of DAS after the launch of the mainnet is also worthy of attention. According to the latest official data, the number of independently registered addresses in the past three months has exceeded 5,000, the number of registered accounts has exceeded 25,000 , and currently only 4 35% of the total number of bits and above, and more accounts that can be registered will be gradually opened as the system matures in the future.

Unstoppable Domains: Permanent ownership domain

Unstoppable Domains has launched “.crypto” (and more) top-level domains that can be purchased for perpetual ownership , and Unstoppable Domains has a very big advantage in browser integration, and it almost supports browsers supported by ENS. In addition, Unstoppable Domains has also developed its own web browser (based on the open source version of Chrome) , which can provide a more perfect user experience.

Unstoppable Domains does not launch an independent blockchain, but smart contracts based on other blockchains. For example, the domain name service of “.cryptp” is the smart contract system in the Ethereum network. From this perspective, it can It is more convenient to learn from the ENS protocol.

Handshake: Any top-level domain can be auctioned

Handshake’s ambitions are even greater. It hopes to build a system that is completely parallel to ICANN from the beginning of the namespace. In this system, whether the user wants to register “.crypto” or “.eth”, it is fine, but first Conduct auctions, so it can provide unlimited possibilities of domain name structure. Moreover, in order to migrate the existing DNS system, it also reserves the world’s most well-known websites. The holders of these domain names can obtain the domain names in Handshake as long as they pass cryptographic verification.

Handshake is an independent public chain and adopts a PoW mining mechanism. A professional team has also launched Handshake’s mining machine. However, a problem this may bring is that originally only need to deal with the business logic of the agreement, but also need to worry about the network computing power and the possibility of being attacked, and ENS and Unstoppable Domains only need to rely on the security of Ethereum. .

FIO Protocol: Focus on cryptocurrency wallet integration

FIO Protocol is a decentralized account system that focuses on cooperation with wallets, because its full name is Foundation for Interwallet Operability ( Foundation for Interwallet Operability ) . Its most important partner is the wallet , because it is an entry-level application for cryptocurrency. Deep integration with the wallet can provide a more complete user experience for the FIO protocol. For example, for transaction functions, it can provide functions such as “request transaction” and “context transaction”.

FIO Protocol has also launched its own blockchain network, adopting dPoS consensus , which may become its advantage of carrying high performance, or it may become a disadvantage of questioning its security.


The blockchain-based decentralized domain name and decentralized account system has been born for 10 years. Although the pioneer Namecoin is still running, it has become a niche project and the user adoption rate is relatively low.

Later, ENS took a more pragmatic route, and with the rapid expansion of the Ethereum ecosystem, it also received a lot of dividends. Many third-party applications use it to build specific account systems and become indispensable to the Ethereum ecosystem. An infrastructure.

It is also because it is so deeply bound to the Ethereum ecology that it may restrict it from becoming a more general protocol. After all, using an Ethereum domain name “.eth” to send and receive assets such as Solana, Mina, BTC , and BSC, I always feel that strange.

So from this perspective, the agreement of “.crypto”, “.bit” or customizable top-level domain names will be more atmospheric, and their domain names will be more versatile. In addition, these agreements are exploring more possibilities from wallet integration, interoperability, and ownership models.

Fortunately, the number of projects on this track is not as large as DeFi, nor is it particularly homogenized. It doesn’t matter whether this type of agreement will be a monopoly or multiple agreements coexist in the future, it doesn’t really matter, but I believe that in the world of Web3, such a decentralized domain name and account system must be needed to host applications, websites and user identities, but at present These projects are still in a very early stage of exploration, and there is still a lot of room for improvement in protocol integration, user experience, and access to the Web2 world.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/ens-airdrop-is-coming-why-is-decentralized-domain-name-and-account-system-important-to-web3/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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