Ethereum Name Service (ENS): understand everything about the decentralized Web3 and blockchain platform

The Ethereum Naming Service, or ENS, is the equivalent of DNS for the blockchain, and for Web3. It is especially one of the most popular services on the Internet for a few weeks.

On April 28, 2022, something unexpected happened in the world of NFTs: the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club, the most prized collection in the world, recorded on OpensSea a lower sales volume than the Etherum Name Service. The news, reported by CoinDesk, surprised: ENS was not known to unleash crowds. But the service has a growing popularity in the community, which doesn’t come out of nowhere.

ENS, which was created in 2017, is not a newcomer to the NFT scene. But with the emergence of these non-fungible tokens, blockchain, metaverse, and Web3, the service is becoming increasingly important and may soon become indispensable.

The bockchain is an increasingly used technology // Source: Canva

What is the Ethereum Name Service?

In concrete terms, the ENS is a domain name management service – like the “classic” DNS (Domain Name System) currently in use on the Internet. These DNS are used to associate IP addresses with domain names readable by humans: the address is understandable, while the IP address of our server is not really, given that it is a sequence of numbers. In fact, the DNS is a kind of gigantic directory referencing the addresses of sites for computers.

The ENS does the same thing, at the level of Web3 (a decentralized version of the Internet that we use today, based on a blockchain). If you have a crypto wallet, you probably know that their addresses are long strings of numbers that humans cannot understand, which makes them hard to remember. The ENS wants to solve this problem, by making these blocks of numbers readable expressions.

Concretely, the platform “translates” the addresses of sites, crypto wallets, but also transaction references and digital fingerprints into readable domain names. These are then recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. For example, the Ethereum address 0x913a8f37c005cfF880e83a0Bc19A180b8e7d2c16 could be renamed to a readable address, for example, numerama.eth. So, if you want to make a payment to a friend, you no longer need to type in the entire address, afraid of making a mistake: just enter the ENS domain name lenomdevotreami.eth.

How does the Ethereum Service Name work?

Although the ENS has the same role as the DNS, it operates on a completely different architecture. These disparities are due to the way the Ethereum blockchain works, as explained on the ENS website. The differences are also explained by the fact that the ENS is decentralized, while the DNS is centralized.

There are two main components to the ENS architecture: the register and the resolvers.

  • The register consists of a smart contract, which maintains a list of all registered domains and subdomains, and retains certain information, such as their owner and resolver. The register also includes a registrarwhich allows you to assign subdomains and specifies certain rules.
ENS architecture // Source: Ethereum Name Service
  • Solvers are responsible for the process itself: they are responsible for transforming the sequences of numbers into understandable names.

The procedure then takes place in two steps: first you have to ask the registry who is responsible for the domain name, and then ask the resolver for the answer to the query.

The ENS also acts as registrar

However, the ENS does more than assume the role of DNS: it also has that of registrar. To buy a domain name, you can go directly through the ENS.Like the DNS, the ENS operates on a system of hierarchical names separated by dots, called domains. says the site’s documentation. “ Domain owners have complete control over subdomains. »

The site also states that “ anyone can own a domain name ”, as long as they respect the rules of the domains. Domain owners have complete control over subdomains. So, having numerama.eth, it is possible to have pay.numerama.eth or whatever.

However, ” domains like “.eth” and “.test” are controlled by smart contracts called registrars that specify subdomain governance ruless”, indicates the ENS. It is possible to consult the documentation of the latter for free on the ENS website. Finally, the ENS makes it possible to import classic domain names for use on the blockchain.

What are the differences between ENS and DNS?

There are several differences between ENS and DNS. The fact that the ENS works with a decentralized architecture means that several computers check that the readable address corresponds to the sequence of digits.

With a DNS, this is not the case. As tech company Ripple Venture points out, the fact that classic registrars are centralized means they could be more easily hacked.

Above all, one of the main differences between the two is that ENS sells domain names in the form of NFT. ERC-721 tokens, which are a type of special token used on the Ethereum blockchain, serve as certificates of ownership. The fact that they are sold in the form of NFTs means that domain names are offered for sale on platforms like OpenSea. Once an NFT domain name has been purchased, it is quite possible to transfer it to another user or to another wallet, such as a non fungible token classic.

One last difference: with the ENS, it is possible to register a domain name address made up of emoji. It is therefore quite possible to buy the address 👁👄👁.eth, or even 🌝‼️.eth. On Open Sea, an NFT sales platform where you can buy ENS domain names, Unicode addresses are also popular.

Emoji domain names are popular on the ENS // Source: Open Sea

How to buy a domain name with Ethereum Service Name?

To buy an ENS domain name, you must first have cryptocurrency and a crypto wallet — otherwise you cannot continue the operation. If you have Metamask, this will do just fine.

You will need to go to the manager.ens.domain site, and see if the domain name you want to buy has already been reserved, or not. Unfortunately for us, 👁👄👁.eth is already taken, as can be seen on the site.

:'( // Source: Ethereum Name Service

If the domain name you want is not already taken, it will appear in green and the site will then offer to buy it. You can choose for how long you can buy it (the minimum term is 1 year, and there is no maximum term limit): the price will vary depending on the term. The base price is 5 dollars per year, to which must be added the gas costs (expenses that accompany any operation carried out on the Ethereum blockchain and whose amount varies according to its size).

What a great domain name I say // Source: Ethereum Name Service

You will then have to click on the button ” request to register », then on the pop-up of Metamask which will ask you to confirm the transaction.

The purchase must then be confirmed and ENS will ensure that no one else is trying to buy the domain name. It is important not to close your browser at this time: the step should take less than a minute. Once the wait is over, you will need to confirm the transaction with Metamask one last time — and that’s it.

You can also choose to go through Open Sea. The platform sells a large quantity of “.eth” domain name NFTs: if the name you want is already registered, it may be for sale on the site.

How much does a domain name with the Ethereum Service Name cost?

The price varies depending on several things. First of all, as specified above, depending on the duration during which you wish to acquire an address. Gas costs will also have to be added to this price. The longer you buy it, the more you will pay.

If you go through Open Sea, the prices will depend on the reputation of the domain name. For example, the name defi.eth, which refers to the field of decentralized finance, is currently on sale for 260 ETH, or more than $293,500.

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