What is Ethereum Name Service (ENS)?

Medium Sep 27, 2021 · 5 min read

ENS
Key Takeaways:
— Similar to Domain Name Services that help us access information on today’s internet through names, we have Ethereum Name Service or ENS for the blockchain-based Web3.
— ENS or Ethereum Name Service is built on the Ethereum blockchain and enables you to buy secure, private, censorship-resistant domains .eth domain names.
— You can use this domain to link to your crypto wallet address or other information stored on a Web3 infrastructure such as the Interplanetary File System.
— In this article, we explore what it is, some fun facts about .eth domains, and how you can get one for yourself.

Looking to get yourself a .eth but don’t know much about ENS? We’ve got you covered!

If you are a regular at Ledger or Ledger Academy, what would you rather memorize to visit the website: its domain name ledger.com or its IP address 104.18.24.74?

Unless you’re some math or physics buff who talks in numbers, we can bet our Ledger wallets on the fact that you’d want to go with the short and sweet ledger.com.

How it all started: DNS (Domain Name Services)

What’s interesting is that there was a time during the internet’s evolution when this wasn’t possible. You could only explore information on the web by typing in its IP address. Then came DNS, a.k.a. Domain Name Service. It struck a truce between the complexity that computers needed and the simplicity that humans demanded. 

While computers only understand IP addresses, DNS enables you to link a domain name to that IP address. So, whenever you want to explore any information, you can type in the domain name and the DNS takes care of translating it to the respective IP address and conveying it to the computer.

But DNS is too Web2. 

For Web3, we needed something better, something more resilient and decentralized. So, some Web3 pioneers gave us ENS — Ethereum Name Service.

What is ENS (Ethereum Name Service)?

Similar to how initially you’d have to use IP addresses on Web2, today, you are forced to use long alphanumeric values such as your wallet address or transaction hashes in the crypto and Web3 space. To solve this issue, we have ENS or Ethereum Name Service.

The primary role of ENS is to help you translate complex identifiers on Web3, such as crypto wallet addresses, hashes, and metadata, to readable names (domains), which then get registered on the Ethereum blockchain. 

So, using ENS, you can buy a domain such as batman.eth or cinderella.eth and link it to your Ethereum wallet address — that looks something like this: “0x3bsfjbk234basf8iwerb….” Now, every time you want to receive a payment, you can share your ENS domain instead of your complex wallet address.

That’s almost exactly like DNS, isn’t it?

Right. But the difference between ENS and DNS comes from their underlying architecture. ENS is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain — a decentralized network with no central entity controlling it. Furthermore, ENS replaces manually operated and controlled systems with automated smart contracts based on Ethereum.

Now, if you’ve carefully read our Academy articles, you know what difference that makes. It renders domains registered through ENS more private, secure, and censorship-resistant.

And once you own an ENS domain, you can easily create and own its subdomains. For example, if you own batman.eth, you can create subdomains such as donate.batman.eth or blog.batman.eth and configure them to take donations or share Batman’s day-to-day activities.

Fun Facts About .eth Domains

Now that you know what ENS is, it’s time we explore some fun facts about the .eth domains ENS offers to users.

As they’re based on a decentralized infrastructure, .eth domains are censorship-resistant. No central entity like a government can ban your .eth domains in any geographical region.

Besides, you can link your .eth domains to your crypto wallet address. This enables you to share your domain name with a friend or client and receive payments directly in the wallet linked to it. So, the next time you want to receive payment, you can simply share your domain to the sender instead of sharing a wallet address like “0x845sjh38sb334…” Say goodbye to the after-transaction anxiety!

You can also link it to files uploaded to the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) and then, with the use of specific plugins, anyone with access can view these files as web pages.

Last, but not least, the .eth domains offered by ENS are in fact ERC721 tokens, or an NFT, whose ownership is recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. This means you can also trade your .eth domains on NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea.

How to Get a .eth Domain?

You didn’t think we’d leave you without an easy-to-follow guide to buy yourself a .eth domain, did you? Here we go:

Step 1: Go to app.ens.domains and connect your preferred crypto wallet by clicking “Connect” on the top left corner.

ENS

Step 2: In the search tab, look up the .eth domain you’d like to own.

Step 3: If no one else has bought the domain yet, ENS will show the domain as “Available.”

ens 2

Step 4: Once you click on the domain name, it will lead you to the registration page. You can add the number of years you want to register the domain for, check the details of the transaction, and request to register. 

Step 5: You will receive a request to approve the transaction from your connected wallet. Click “Confirm” to approve the transaction.

And tadaa! You will officially own a domain on Web3, which you can then connect to your wallet or use for whatever purpose you see fit.

Note: the price you pay will depend on the length of your ens domain, your desired duration and of course the availability.

Into The future

Web3 has seen massive growth over the past three years. No one would have imagined but today we have almost 300,000 domains registered on ENS alone owned by over 100,000 people. That’s for just one of the many naming services on Web3. But given the dominance of Ethereum, it is likely that .eth domains will be to Web3 what .com was to Web2.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into all things crypto, check out our School of Block episode all about Web 3 for Beginners right here!

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