What Are Blockchain Domains?

Tijesunimi Jegede
Tijesunimi Jegede

SEO tech content writer; Articles and blog posts on technology and online marketing

Explore the world of blockchain domains, a new innovation built on blockchain technology to simplify complex user identity and access to decentralized websites and blockchain apps.

Blockchain domains are the kind of domain names that will power the decentralized internet - Web 3.0. They are minted and hosted on a base blockchain making them decentralized, unique, authentic, and immutable.

Much like regular domain names that give daily internet users human-readable aliases to geeky IP addresses, blockchain domains can represent super lengthy crypto wallet addresses, can be used as usernames to access blockchain applications, and can also be used as domain names for blockchain websites.

Blockchain domains are a relatively new phenomenon and have not been widely adopted yet, but the concepts behind how they work promise a lot for the future - you’ll truly own your domain.

So in the rest of this piece, we’ll be discussing what blockchain domains are, how they work, applications of blockchain domains, how they differ from regular domains, how to register a blockchain domain, and some popular blockchain domain extensions or top-level domains (TLDs).

What are blockchain domains?

A blockchain domain is an alternative, human-readable identifier that’s hosted on a blockchain network and is used to represent a wallet, a service, or a decentralized website on the network.

The crypto universe, the Metaverse, and other infrastructure powered by blockchain technology is quite complex. These systems use cryptography to ensure security and uniqueness.

Addresses of cryptocurrency wallets and access keys to blockchain apps are complex and nearly impossible to memorize. A crypto wallet address contains a cryptographic sequence of alphanumeric elements - up to 42 for Ethereum addresses - e.g: 0x7f533b5fbf6ef86c3b7df76cc27fc67744a9a760.

Blockchain domains provide an easy way to send money to crypto addresses, link to blockchain websites, and access blockchain-based apps by representing these complex cryptographic identifiers with much shorter, human-readable names that are far easier to remember and use.

How blockchain domains work

So how exactly do blockchain domains work? Blockchain domains are created and hosted on a blockchain network.

A blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies and is basically a publicly available ledger that contains records of all the transactions performed within that network. Records are stored in sets on blocks, and once a block is added, it can never be changed and is linked to the previous block, forming a chain of blocks - hence the name ‘blockchain’.

Blockchains are not hosted on a single server, but rather a network of nodes making them decentralized.

Blockchain domains inherit the characteristics of any blockchain - they are immutable, unique, free from the control of a central authority, and cannot be tampered with.

Adding new data to an existing blockchain like validating transactions, creating a new block, or adding a blockchain domain is called minting. After buying a blockchain domain, you would have to mint it before it is linked to a wallet address on the blockchain platform.

After a blockchain domain is linked to your wallet, the details about the domain’s ownership are stored on the blockchain and anyone can search the blockchain to see which address owns the domain.

Blockchain domains vs regular domains

The concept of blockchain domains can still be confusing but they will make more sense if we compare them with regular domains. So how do they differ? Let’s see how:

Ownership

With regular domains, you don’t really own them. When registering a new domain, you pay a subscription fee and have the domain assigned to you for a period of 0-10 years. So domains are actually like leased property - you own them for as long as your subscription period lasts and if you don’t renew them, the domain expires, and eventually, someone else can register them.

Blockchain domains have become incredibly attractive because, for the first time in history, you would actually be able to own a domain name. With a blockchain domain name, you pay a single fee for the domain and minting it, and it is yours forever.

Remember that blockchains are immutable right? So once a domain is yours, it is tied to you permanently and you won’t have to renew it anymore. However, like regular domains, you will still be able to transfer ownership of a blockchain domain to someone else if you want to sell it.

Domain resolution system

The domain naming system (DNS) - a network of specialized servers - is responsible for resolving domain names into the right IP addresses of the right web servers. To effectively do this, the nameservers assigned to the domain tell browsers the right IP addresses to query.

With blockchain domains, browsers will be directed to the appropriate blockchain and then scan the ledger to see the services - websites or applications - linked to the domain name. Blockchain websites are hosted on the blockchain across a network of nodes and when a query is made, rather than request centralized DNS servers, it requests the distributed ledger on which the domain resides.

Control

With regular domains, how domains are assigned, maximum registration periods, registrant lock periods, and every other thing that concerns domain names are controlled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Also, domain registrars are responsible for giving you tools to manage your domain name settings and control all of a domain’s backend.

This means domain owners must stick to the ICANN’s rules and terms and conditions provided by registrars or they could have their domains seized or restricted.

With blockchain domains, the domains are hosted on the blockchain across a network of servers and there is no central authority governing how these domains can be used. Owners have full control over their domains and blockchain websites and no one can dictate how they should be used.

Where they are hosted?

Regular domains and all the data tied to them - registrant data, IP addresses, registration period, expiry details, etc. are all stored in the domain DNS records managed by the relevant registry for the domain. The nameservers have access to these DNS records and this is how they direct browsers.

Blockchain domains, on the other hand, are stored and hosted on the native blockchain and all the data is also available to all members of the network. Minting a blockchain domain is adding the domain to the ledger and all the permitted owner’s details will be shown.

Applications of blockchain domains

Now that we have an idea of how blockchain domains work and how they compare with regular domains, what are some real-life applications of blockchain domains?

Aliases to crypto wallet addresses

The most basic and practical application of blockchain domains is providing human-readable aliases to otherwise complex and lengthy crypto wallet addresses.

To transfer crypto to a crypto wallet, you need its wallet address. Crypto wallet addresses are typically anywhere between 32 to 64 alphanumeric characters that just look intimidating. It’d be very hard to memorize a crypto wallet address and there’s really no point in doing so.

A good practice when sending crypto out is to copy and paste the wallet address and not try to write it out manually.

Blockchain domains are revolutionizing crypto transactions by allowing people to trade crypto using short, human-readable, and easy-to-remember domain names. E.g: ‘Dylan.eth’ instead of the complex wallet addresses. Once you type in the domain name, it gets resolved into the appropriate wallet address.

Domain names for blockchain websites

Blockchain domain names are also being used as domain names for blockchain websites much like regular domain names link to websites. While very few browsers support blockchain domains currently, in the future, browsers will be able to scan a blockchain domain’s underlying network and find out all the services tied to it.

Blockchain websites are still a new concept too. Storing large volumes of data on a blockchain is not as efficient as on web servers. So a popular compromise that’s being discussed is the domain names pointing to the hash of a website or a relational database or could store references to where website data is stored.

Username and login details to blockchain apps

Blockchain applications and games are very popular among blockchain enthusiasts and blockchain domains hold the potential to make accessing these platforms incredibly easy.

Play-to-earn games give players the opportunity to earn in-game characters and exchange these for crypto that can be exchanged for real money. Users will be able to connect their wallets using blockchain domains.

Blockchain domains may also be used in the same way email addresses are used today to access platforms and applications across the internet. With a blockchain domain name, you’ll be able to log in to access blockchain apps with just your details.

How to register a blockchain domain

As blockchain domains are still new, the platforms available for registering them are still limited, unlike the vast number of registrars for regular domains. The three most popular platforms today offering blockchain domains are Unstoppable Domains, the Ethereum Name Service (ENS), and the Trust Domains.

On the other hand, the blockchains holding the most domains today are the Ethereum blockchain, the Handshake blockchain, and the Unstoppable blockchain.

Blockchain domains that you buy through Unstoppable domains and the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) are written onto the Ethereum blockchain. The ENS manages the registration of .eth domains while the .hns domains are written on the Handshake blockchain.

To buy a blockchain domain, you will need to join the network, set up a crypto wallet, buy the native token - Ethers (ETH), and then search the platform. Most blockchain domain providers allow buyers to bid on domains in an auction or just make a single one-time payment.

After buying a blockchain domain, you will then have to mint it to the blockchain to actually tell the network that it’s now yours. To mint the domain, you’ll have to pay gas fees that are charged by the blockchain administrators before it is linked to your wallet. Your crypto wallet functions as your account on the blockchain. After the domain is linked to your wallet, you can then point it to wherever you want it to be.

Some popular blockchain domain TLDs

What are some of the most popular top-level domains or domain extensions you get when registering a blockchain domain? The extensions you get depend on the platform you are buying the domain from. However, some of them include:

.bitcoin .coin .eth .blockchain .crypto .dao .nft .wallet .888

Etc.

Some web browsers like Opera and Brave already support some blockchain domain extensions.

Rounding up: the future of the decentralized internet

The decentralized movement started with the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and stemmed from the desire to have an uncontrolled, permissionless, and trustless way to safely transact value between two parties.

Today, the blockchain revolution has evolved way beyond just enabling crypto transactions, thanks to smart contracts and other technologies. One such application of blockchains is blockchain domains.

With a blockchain domain, you truly own the domain and can use the domain in any way you like as the owner. One core problem that has plagued blockchain networks is they are slower than traditional centralized networks. However, as new technologies emerge to increase their speeds, the blockchain will find applications in more industries that power our lives.

A core need will be to create a seamless way to host fully functional websites on blockchain networks and browsers that can scan blockchains. With those, people will be able to use blockchain domains to their full potential and point them to censor-free websites, crypto addresses, and applications hosted on the blockchain.

Or browse the best traditional domains in auction:

Name Link Price BID EAP WBY MDA END
newscafe.com
GoDaddy 2 000 58 36 680 1996 50 2024-05-21
somethingnavy.com
GoDaddy 9 600 69 10 219 2010 48 2024-05-21
nzone.com
Backorder 7 354 1996 56 2024-05-22
voltra.com
Backorder 6 802 1997 3 2024-05-22
bedbug.com
GoDaddy 9 999 128 6 714 1998 27 2024-05-21
buddyloans.com
GoDaddy 6 605 43 5 943 2005 48 2024-05-21
bridgersteel.com
GoDaddy 3 931 146 4 040 2003 44 2024-05-21
assurances.com
Backorder 3 498 2000 17 2024-05-22
expono.com
Backorder 2 453 2004 38 2024-05-21
naturalcure.com
GoDaddy 3 350 68 2 319 2001 5 2024-05-21
  • newscafe.com
    GoDaddy
    2 000
    58
    36 680
    1996
    50
    2024-05-21
  • somethingnavy.com
    GoDaddy
    9 600
    69
    10 219
    2010
    48
    2024-05-21
    Screenshot
  • nzone.com
    Backorder
    7 354
    1996
    56
    2024-05-22
    Screenshot
  • voltra.com
    Backorder
    6 802
    1997
    3
    2024-05-22
  • bedbug.com
    GoDaddy
    9 999
    128
    6 714
    1998
    27
    2024-05-21
  • buddyloans.com
    GoDaddy
    6 605
    43
    5 943
    2005
    48
    2024-05-21
    Screenshot
  • bridgersteel.com
    GoDaddy
    3 931
    146
    4 040
    2003
    44
    2024-05-21
    Screenshot
  • assurances.com
    Backorder
    3 498
    2000
    17
    2024-05-22
  • expono.com
    Backorder
    2 453
    2004
    38
    2024-05-21
  • naturalcure.com
    GoDaddy
    3 350
    68
    2 319
    2001
    5
    2024-05-21
    Screenshot