Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login


Looking back at the ICO craze in 2017, the pixel head Cryptopunks just debuted with the ERC721 standard, Decentraland still has a lot of land waiting for adventurers to open up the land, and ENS has just launched the first round of long domain name auctions…

Over the past four years, encrypted art collections and Metaverse have brought cross-border and profitable narratives to NFT, while the performance of trainee ENS domain names in the secondary market during the same period was not impressive. Just as the land of Decentraland has increased with the continuous enrichment of the meta-universe world, the value of the blockchain domain name is also subject to whether it is widely used by wallets, Dapps and users…

Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login

(The earliest NFT project)

ENS is not only the username of Web3

ENS (Ethereum Name Service) is the Ethereum domain name service. It can provide readable name resolution services for blockchain addresses, Web3.0 storage resources and even social information in a decentralized form. It is also the most widely integrated block Chain naming standard.

Simply put, if the payment address happens to use the ENS service when transferring money on the blockchain, then the 32-bit payment address that originally needed to be copied and pasted can be directly replaced with the .eth domain name. Just like we no longer type in the IP address to redirect the website, ENS uses a readable domain name to facilitate the exchange of funds and the user experience of application interaction.

Although built on Ethereum, ENS is not limited to Ethereum, but supports the resolution of multi-chain addresses . Users can send and receive various encrypted assets through the same domain name on various mainstream multi-chain wallets (such as imToken) on different addresses resolved by different chains, such as BTC, ETH, LTC, etc. of the same ENS domain name. For example, has already supported users to deposit and withdraw BTC and BCH assets through the ENS domain name long before it launched ETH trading[1]. Multi-chain resolution makes the majority of Ethereum nodes become the DNS server of the blockchain universe.

Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login

(ENS can be used for multi-chain transfers)

In addition to address resolution, ENS also has the function of content addressing , which resolves to websites like traditional domain names and serves as the entrance to decentralized applications. In September 2019, Uniswap banned users from 10 countries including Iran, Cuba, Iraq, and North Korea from accessing due to policy reasons[2]; In July 2021, Uniswap delisted more than 100 synthetic asset tokens[3] . The decentralized exchange that advertises that there is no need for permission can not escape the iron fist in the traditional world, but Uniswap has already enabled uniswap.eth to resolve to the website hosted on IPFS. In the world of Web3.0, through the decentralized protocol stack 7*24 Serve every user indiscriminately.

Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login

(Esteroids.eth summarizes ENS-enabled Web3 applications)

After the domain name is given programmability, the use case expansion of ENS is only limited to the imagination of the developer. Umbra.eth developed by the Scopelift team developed an ENS-based privacy payment system using the master-child public key[4]; esteroids.eth listened to the newly resolved website of the ENS domain name on the chain, and presented the hao123 navigation of the decentralized website[5];DeFi777 Allow wallets that do not support browsers to use different DeFi protocols [6].

The DAO governance has not been realized, and the ecology has been fed back

ENS was born out of the Ethereum core development Nick’s leisure project in 2017. In 2018, Nick left the Ethereum Foundation to form a full-time non-profit True Name LTD for the development and operation of ENS, and received a one-million dollar donation from the Ethereum Foundation.

When it was launched in 2017, the .eth domain name opened for auction and registration of domain names with a length of more than 6 digits. At the same time, a free registration model was adopted, that is, users obtain the right to use the domain name by locking the ether. After the expiration, the ether will follow the domain name. The release and return. In May 2019, ENS upgraded the domain name to a token contract conforming to the ERC721 standard, and opened the auction of short domain names of 3 to 5 digits in length. At the same time, it changed to the rent model. When registering a domain name, users pay rent according to the length and registration period to obtain the domain name. Right to use.

The shift from a free model to a rent model has increased the speculative cost of cybersquatters, and at the same time has brought stable cash flow income to ENS. As of June 2021, the total revenue from .eth domain name registration exceeded 6,800 ETH, and the renewal revenue exceeded 2,400 ETH. According to the 2020 revenue and expenditure report, the total annual expenditure of the ENS team is approximately US$760,000[7]. After achieving self-sufficiency, ENS has gradually changed from the recipient to the ecological feedback. In June 2021, ENS announced that it would donate 180 ETH to Gitcoin, becoming the largest donor of GR10[8]. At present, the 9-person ENS team is also recruiting experts in development, operation and DAO governance to accelerate the popularization of ENS.

Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login

(Summary of ENS annual fee data)

ENS has not yet achieved DAO governance. The registration fee fund wallet is controlled by 4/7 multi-signature, and the key holders include Nick, Sergey (the founder of Chainlink), Dan Finlay (the core development of Metamask), etc. The decentralized governance of ENS faces conflicts between long-term vision and short-term interests. If the decision-making power is simply allocated based on the number of domain names held, it is easy for speculators with hoarding to manipulate the governance process and initiate proposals such as reducing annual fee and rent to reduce cybersquatting. The cost prevents the domain name from falling into the hands of the project that actually uses it, which is not conducive to the large-scale application of ENS itself. Therefore, in the online workshop held in March, the community discussed the use of GrantDAO to determine the money-spending posture of the treasury income, and experimented with the governance path of ENS [9]. ENS officials also released the recruitment of governance directors in July, and the advancement of DAO governance is accelerating.

Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login

(ENS possible DAO governance model)

Reverse compatible with DNS, exploring the new paradigm of Web3 login

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a “mnemonic” method that can make addresses easier to remember . Replace the obscure IP address with a string of familiar letters (ie, “domain name”), thereby improving the convenience of using the Internet.

On the entire Internet, there can only be one owner of a domain name, otherwise there will be confusion among users in the cyberspace. At present, under the coordination and organization of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the domain name space of the Internet has formed a consensus on smooth operation. The national top-level domain ccTLD such as and the popular .com .finance gTLD distribute globally unique domain name services to global users through the distribution of registrars.

As an innovator, ENS actually creates a new top-level domain in addition to the existing consensus on naming domains. Rather than creating a new domain name is a technical issue, it is more a matter of social collaboration. Whether it is .eth or other competing products such as .crypto, sol, .bit, the top-level domain created by the blockchain domain name is not included in the Internet domain name consensus managed by ICANN. For example, the .ETH suffix used by ENS itself is a three-digit reserved country domain of Ethiopia [10].

If the blockchain domain name system hopes to become a user identity in the Web3 world, it will inevitably overlap with the current DNS domain name space. How to deal with the consensus relationship with the existing domain name will affect the long-term interests of domain name holders such as .eth and .crypto .

Unstoppable Domains was originally built on zil and has similar functions to ENS. It is a blockchain domain name service system operated in the form of a company under the blessing of capital. After the .zil and .crypto domain names were launched, 8 new blockchain top-level domains including .coin, .wallet, .bitcoin, and .blockchain were launched in July 2021 [11]. Creating a large number of top-level domains out of thin air is not an act responsible for the unified namespace, and it also infringes on the long-term interests of the original .crypto registrants.

The reason why Unstoppable Domains needs to continuously generate new suffixes is related to the use of a one-time buyout and lifetime registration mechanism, that is, if you do not create new suffixes to sell domain names, you cannot generate continuous revenue maintenance. It can also be seen from the performance of the secondary market that the transaction volume of .crypto domain names is not as active as that of mana subdomains in the ENS ecosystem[12], and the hype space of .crypto has also been diluted due to the new suffix being spam.

Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login

(Mana.eth has a higher volume of subdomains than Unstoppable Domains)

After the 2020 short domain name auction, the ENS team officially announced that it would no longer create new top-level domains[13], but chose another path of backward compatibility, gradually providing blockchain address resolution to traditional DNS domain names . The existing DNS domain names can be introduced into the ENS ecosystem through DNSSEC technology. That is to say, after the user submits the DNS domain name record such as .xyz on the DNS system, he can create a .xyz blockchain domain name in the ENS system that also has multi-chain wallet address resolution. is both the URL in the user’s DNS world. , Is also the wallet address in the ENS world, this process does not charge annual fee rent.

It is precisely because .eth adopts the annual fee registration system that ENS does not need to frequently create top-level domains to obtain cash flow. Instead, as a public service, it cooperates with the DNS world to bring traditional domain names to Web3. In May 2021, the established domain name registrar UNR took out 25 ICANN-licensed top-level domains and packaged them into NFTs to provide all users with ENS domain name mapping services [14].

In order to create a namespace that achieves a global consensus, the creators of blockchain domain names need to develop close social collaboration with representatives and stakeholders from all over the world. As ICANN’s motto: “One world, one Internet”.

In addition to introducing DNS domain names into the blockchain world, ENS is also actively exploring a new paradigm for Web2 login. In July 2021, the Ethereum Foundation and ENS launched a joint request for proposal (RFP), seeking a third-party team to design a set of technical specifications for logging in to third-party web applications through an Ethereum account [15], and Oauth for Web2 services Implement and log-in-oriented JavaScript code library. In the future, when using ENS to log in to Twitter, Cryptopunk held under .eth will be automatically set as an avatar, and social relationships and various public information can be automatically synchronized. In the Web3 world, the account belongs to the user.

Crypto assets.ETH

The unified naming domain is exclusive , which is a natural fit different from the non-homogeneous token NFT. If spamming homemade top-level domains dilute the value of .crypto, does ENS, which are directly compatible with the entire top-level domain, dilute the value of .ETH?

Web3.0 will receive information and value from the giants to users. When registering a DNS domain name, users need to pay for the domain name from a qualified registrar; in the process of domain name transactions in the secondary market, there are also cumbersome transfer-out procedures; if you encounter domain name arbitration, your domain name may also be directly taken back , DNS domain names are digital assets that are exploited by intermediaries and centralized institutions.

The indigenous people of ENS. ETH is an encrypted asset attributed to the user. Neither the ENS team nor ICANN has the right to dispose of the ownership of any domain name. The transfer and registration of domain name assets no longer require the participation and custody of the registrar. Although the foreigner .xyz obtains an NFT that can resolve the address after mapping through DNSSEC, its ownership still follows DNS domain name.

The .eth domain name as an encrypted asset is fully compatible with the ERC721 standard, so it can also interact with DeFi protocol and NFT applications, such as mortgage .eth domain name on RocketNFT for lending[16], and fine-grained decomposition of domain names through AlchemyDAO. , Manage a domain name through DAO.

Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login

(TLD registration volume ranking)

Ethereum Domain Name Service (ENS): A new paradigm for Web3 login

(Total ENS registrations)

In June, gas gradually dropped to a normal level with the cooling of the DeFi farming market, but the number of .eth domain name registrations quietly hit a new high of 30,000, roughly the same as the total number of registrations in 2020 [17]. Pulling the coordinate system outside the blockchain, ENS with a total registration of nearly 300,000 is ranked between .space and .pro, and is about to enter the top 20 of the TLD ranking [18]. Among the tlds released at the same time as .eth in 2017, the best-performing .africa registered less than 30,000. TLD is weak, ENS is strong, and blockchain domain names will gain popularity and value discovery with the advent of Web3.


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