The Ethereum Naming Service, or ENS, is the equivalent of DNS for the blockchain and for Web3. It is mainly 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 highly regarded collection in the world, registered a lower sales volume on OpensSea than the Etherum Name Service. The news, reported by CoinDesk, came as a surprise: ENS was not known for unleashing crowds. But the service has a growing popularity in the community, which isn’t out of the blue.
Founded in 2017, ENS is no newcomer to the NFT scene. But with the rise of these non-fungible tokens, blockchain, metaverse, and Web3, the service is becoming increasingly important and may soon become indispensable.
What is the Ethereum Name Service?
Specifically, the ENS is a service for managing domain names, such as the “classic” DNS (Domain Name System) currently used on the Internet. These DNS are used to associate IP addresses with human readable domain names: the www.numerama.com address is understandable, while our server’s IP address is not real, as it is a string of numbers. In fact, the DNS is like a giant directory that points to the addresses of sites for computers.
The ENS does the same, at the level of Web3 (a decentralized version of the internet 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 people can’t understand, making them hard to remember. The ENS aims to solve this problem by making these blocks of numbers readable expressions.
In concrete terms, 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 can be renamed to a readable address, for example numerama.eth. So if you want to make a payment to a friend, you no longer have to enter the entire address, afraid of making a mistake: just enter the ENS domain name lenomdevotreami.eth.
How does the Ethereum service name work?
While the ENS has the same role as the DNS, it operates on a completely different architecture. These differences 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.
The ENS architecture consists of two main components: the registry and the resolvers.
- The register consists of a smart contract, which maintains a list of all registered domains and subdomains, and stores certain information, such as their owner and resolver. The registry also contains a registrarthat allows you to assign subdomains and specify certain rules.
- solvers are responsible for the process itself: they are responsible for converting 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 the resolver for the answer to the question.
The ENS also acts as a 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 full 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 full control over subdomains† So if you have 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 management ruless”, indicates the ENS. The latter’s documentation can be consulted free of charge 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. Because the ENS works with a decentralized architecture, several computers check whether the readable address matches the number sequence.
This is not the case with a DNS. As tech firm Ripple Venture points out, the fact that classic registrars are centralized means they can be hacked more easily.
Above all, one of the main differences between the two is that: ENS sells domain names in the form of NFT† ERC-721 tokens, 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 put up for sale on platforms such as OpenSea. Once an NFT domain name has been purchased, it is entirely possible to transfer it to another user or to a different wallet, such as a non-exchangeable token classic.
One last difference: with the ENS it is possible to register a domain name address consisting of emoji. So it is quite possible to buy the address 👁👄👁.eth, or even 🌝‼️.eth. Unicode addresses are also popular on Open Sea, an NFT selling platform where you can buy ENS domain names.
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 will not be able to continue the operation. If you have Metamask, this will work just fine.
You need to go to the site manager.ens.domain and see if the domain name you want to buy is already reserved or not. Unfortunately for us, 👁👄👁.eth is already taken, as shown on the site.
If the domain name you want is not already in use, it will be displayed in green and the site will then offer to purchase it. You can choose for how long you can buy it (the minimum term is 1 year and there is no maximum term): the price depends on the term. The base price is $5 a year, plus gas costs (cost associated with any operation performed on the Ethereum blockchain, the amount of which varies according to size).
You must then click the ” request to register », then on the Metamask pop-up that will ask you to confirm the transaction.
The purchase must then be confirmed and ENS ensures that no one else tries to buy the domain name. It is important not to close your browser at this point: the step will take less than a minute. Once the wait is over, you need to confirm the transaction one last time with Metamask – and that’s it.
You can also choose to go through Open Sea. The platform sells a large number 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 depends on a number of things. First of all, as indicated above, depending on the duration in which you wish to acquire an address. Gas costs are also added to this price. The longer you buy it, the more you pay.
If you go through Open Sea, the prices 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 over $293,500.