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Blockchain Domains – Everything You Need to Know

Blockchain Domains - Everything You Need to Know
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Blockchain domains have sort of become a new trend in cryptocurrency. They are fairly groundbreaking and will likely change the way domain names work in the future. 

Of course, most people have no idea how domain names work, which makes it difficult to understand how blockchain domains can change them. 

With that in mind, this article will cover the basics of domain names along with how blockchain domains will completely change the industry. 

Domain Names Explained

Domain names are not a particularly difficult concept to understand, even for those unfamiliar with technology. 

It helps, however, to know how the internet evolved. In the early days, a website was accessed by typing an IP address in the console. In fact, you can still enter an IP address to access a website. 

The release of the GUI and web browsers led to the creation of domain names. Basically, remembering a series of numbers is a lot more complicated than remembering an actual word.

Is it easier to remember Google or 66.102.15.255?

It’s obviously easier to remember Google. 

It’s important to note that the IP address is what the computer uses to retrieve the information. The computer obviously does not care about the aesthetics of the domain name. 

You can think of the domain name as a readable skin for an IP address.

Who Controls Domain Names?

Not just anyone can go and assign a domain name. In fact, only one organization can assign a domain name to an IP address.

This organization is called International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). 

Now, assigning a domain name to IP addresses is a lot of work. People register a very, very large amount of domain names every year. Due to that, ICANN also allows companies to purchase a licensing agreement that allows them to register and manage domain names on ICANN servers.

This is the route all the popular domain registrars operate. The registrar doesn’t actually assign the name – they serve as an intermediary for ICANN. 

There is one huge, major problem with ICANN, though. 

The Centralization of ICANN

The internet originally started out as this decentralized mess of a place. Truly anything was possible on the internet and no one really had much control over one part of it. 

Sadly, the centralization slowly creeped into the place, and now we’re in the current situation with an extremely centralized internet and a decentralized competitor trying to usurp it. 

Anyway, ICANN is a centralized organization. It’s based in California, which is already concerning because that’s in the United States. 

The centralization of ICANN means that if ICANN decides to not issue you a domain, then you are effectively banned from the internet. 99.9% of people have no idea how to access a website without a domain name nor do they have any idea how to use Tor. 

Your website would also probably not appear in Google search results and people would be very skeptical clicking on a link that looks like https://66.102.15.255.

It’s just an overall bad situation in regards to the censorship potential. 

And it gets even worse than just censorship. 

Remember that we said ICANN is a centralized organization?

This means that the domain name server (DNS) servers can be hacked rather easily because, well, they’re all located in one centralized place. A hack could be done by a national government attempting to take down a website they don’t like or hackers looking to have some fun. 

Most people took this glaring weakness of the internet as a cost of doing business because, quite frankly, the internet would not really function as smoothly without the DNS model. 

Imagine having to type an IP address into your browser to access a website?

Well, the introduction of blockchain domains are challenging the assumption that we have to “live with” the weaknesses of the DNS structure. The next section will explain everything you need to know about blockchain domains. 

Web 3.0 – Blockchain Domains

Blockchain domains are the solution to the hacking and censorship concerns of the DNS model we currently use with ICANN as the sole arbiter of domain names. 

What are Blockchain Domains?

Domain names replace IP addresses to make websites easier for humans to access, but what do blockchain domains replace?

Blockchain domains replace cryptocurrency wallet addresses. 

Cryptocurrency addresses have the potential to have the same functionality as a web server. This is particularly noticeable on a blockchain that has smart contract compatibility like Ethereum or Solanana. And just like IP addresses, cryptocurrency wallet addresses are very difficult for humans to remember. 

They’re actually even more difficult to remember because they’re made up of random letters and numbers. The letters can sometimes be case sensitive to make things even more difficult. 

What Can Blockchain Domains Be Used For?

Blockchain domains can be used for anything that a regular cryptocurrency wallet is used for. Remember, a blockchain domain is simply a readable skin for a cryptocurrency wallet. 

Naturally, the most common use case for a blockchain domain is as a payment method. You can simply tell someone your blockchain domain (Example.Eth) rather than your Ethereum address (0x0000000000fdsui45).

That’s a whole lot easier to read. It also looks so much cleaner. 

Blockchain domains have more uses than just that, though. Entire websites can be hosted on a blockchain domain. 

This isn’t particularly common because, well, it’s difficult to access a blockchain domain without a special plugin. They can easily be accessed on Brave browser, so progress is being made in that regard. 

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The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, actually has a blockchain name. You can visit it by going to Vitalik.eth in Brave browser. 

It’s a rather simple website, but websites weren’t complicated when the internet was first released. And blockchain domains are essentially going to replace the internet as we know it, so that makes sense they will start small. 

The Benefits of a Blockchain Domain

Blockchain domains have a few benefits over traditional ICANN domains. These benefits include the following:

  • Blockchain domains are censorship resistant.
    • No one can censor things that go on a truly decentralized blockchain. This means people living under oppressive governments should not have any censorship issues with a blockchain domain.
  • Blockchain domains give control back to owners.
    • At the moment, most webmasters have zero control over their website’s server or security. This is different with blockchain domains. If you have the private keys to the wallet, then you control the content of the wallet (ie. the information on the website).
  • Increased security with blockchain domains.
    • Blockchain domains are not immune to hackers. Someone will figure out a way to hack a blockchain domain once they become popular. That said, blockchain domains are far more secure than the current DNS model. 

Where to Register a Blockchain Domain?

There isn’t a centralized source that registers blockchain domains. Different blockchains have different registrars and processes, and no one can actually deny you registration of your domain name. 

Here are some of the popular places to register a blockchain domain on the different blockchains:

  • Namecoin (Bitcoin; .btc)
  • Ethereum Name Service (Ethereum; .eth)
  • Unstoppable Domains (multiple; .crypto, .zil)
  • Bonfida (Solana; .sol)

All these companies and organizations might sound like the beginnings of organizations like ICANN forming to gatekeep domain registration. 

That’s not really the case, though. 

Anyone can register a blockchain domain on Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Solana without using any of these organizations. 

In fact, that will likely become the only option because credit card companies will likely cancel the merchant accounts of these organizations at some point in the future. 

These companies simply make the registration process much more simple. But they are wholly unnecessary to register a blockchain domain. 

The Future of Blockchain Domains

Blockchain domains are a nascent technology. 

Sure, they have been around for some time, but no one really knew about them until 2021. And these domains are already showing a lot of promise when we compare them to the ICANN model. 

This section will offer a brief overview of the future of blockchain domains. 

  1. People slowly become accustomed to using blockchain domains over the next two years.
  2. Governments and big tech companies view an uncensorable internet as a huge problem.
  3. Big tech companies attempt to shut down blockchain domains by not allowing plugins that allow users to visit blockchain domains.
    1. This will be most noticeable with Google Chrome as the web browser is owned by the largest tech company in the world.
    2. The tech companies will likely cite hate speech as a reason for the ban. 
  4. Credit card companies will close the merchant accounts of blockchain domain registrars in order to curtail users from registering blockchain domains.
    1. This will fail as it’s possible to register a blockchain domain on the blockchain itself.
    2. Credit card companies and banks will view the DeFi applications hosted on blockchain domains as a major threat to their business model.
  5. Blockchain domains continue to grow in popularity despite the best efforts of Big Tech and the government to shut the system down.

This entire process may take a decade to come to fruition, but make no mistake about it, blockchain domains will become the internet within the next decade.

The best part is that there really is no way to stop this process. It’s simply so decentralized that these companies controlling the current tech industry will have little way to exert control over the industry. 

Closing Thoughts

That should cover it for everything you need to know about blockchain domains. The technology is rather simple to understand from a very general perspective. 

The decentralization aspect of blockchain domains will completely change the way that people use the internet. Imagine an internet with no censorship, no centralizing authority gatekeeping the flow of information, and that anyone can access?

That was the original goal with the internet, but somewhere along the line it got messed up. Blockchain domains are a chance for us to make the internet that we always wanted.  

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