The development of blockchain has disrupted many aspects of the financial and tech industries – and the purchasing of domain names in the traditional sense of the internet is being re-invented as well.
In the past domain names were not actually owned by domain name holders. Instead, domain names were in fact “rented” by paying a domain name registry an annual fee for the rights to use a domain name.
The blockchain has changed all that with the invention of crypto domains where domains are represented by a single NFT which is fully owned by the domain name holder, is written into the blockchain in a decentralized way and gives the owner full rights to publish any content they wish to make public.
Crypto domains are an innovative system that provides new levels of security to domain holders represented by a single Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT). These domains no longer have a central point of failure and allow users to post without the risk of being censored by a third-party entity.
In the past, domain ownership worked on a rental basis– domain holders wouldn’t actually own the domain they “purchase.” Instead, they would rent the rights to a domain registry and pay a renewal fee. With crypto domains, holders simply make a one-time payment and own the domain until they choose to sell it.
Crypto domains also differ in the way they’re run. Unlike traditional domains which are housed on a server and managed by a central organization, crypto domains are decentralized and written onto a public blockchain. This gives the domain holder full ownership and rights to publish any information they want on their domain.
Although the concept of actually owning a domain is relatively new, it has already proven to be popular with over 500,000 crypto domains being registered as of early 2022.
Popular domain options include .crypto, .nft, .x and .eth.
We suspect there are two reasons fueling their popularity:
- The advantages crypto domains have over traditional domains, listed below.
- The speculative flood of investors seeking to purchase what could be lucrative domains in the future, such as the initial wave of domain purchases in the early 2000s.
Crypto domains are one time-purchases through providers like Unstoppable Domains. Instead of having to renew their domain each year, domain holders can make a single purchase and own the domain for life.
Each domain is 100% user-owned. This means that a centralized entity such as Google Domains can’t censor the information on the domain, thus giving full rights to the owner.
Many crypto domains can also double as cryptocurrency public addresses. This means the domain can be used to send and receive cryptocurrencies and tokens. With cryptocurrency becoming an increasingly popular means of exchange, such domains would be extremely effective in speeding up the mass adoption of cryptocurrency.
Popular Crypto Domain Providers
Domain providers such as GoDaddy, Google Domains, and Hostgator are household names in the Internet world, but crypto domains stand to shake things up a bit.
Web-3 companies aim to give power back to the people in the form of domain ownership. As blockchain technology continues in innovative industries around the world, the opportunity to take power from the large multinational corporations and give it back to the people grows with it.
One such company is Ethereum Name Service–ENS helps give crypto domains a human face. Instead of an address being a random code, users will see a typical domain name such as yourbusiness.eth. Once the domain has been linked to a website address, it will display a fully functional website similar to most sites we see today. As of 2022, ENS has over 179.46K total users, making it one of the most popular crypto domains in the world.
Another popular crypto domain provider is Unstoppable Domains. Much like ENS, Unstoppable Domains allows users to create a non-censorable website. This website can be stored in a holder’s wallet (much like any other NFT or cryptocurrencies). However, domains registered on the site work as more than just a domain. They can be used to generate universal usernames, transfer cryptocurrency and even create a login to the decentralized web.
All Unstoppable Domains are built on either the Ethereum or Zilliqa blockchains, with several different domain options available. Once a user has bought a domain, they will have complete ownership, meaning they don’t pay renewal fees and can keep the domain until they wish to sell it.
Popular Crypto Domain Extensions
Similar to traditional domains, there are many different options when it comes to crypto domain extensions. Each extension has its own unique benefits, with some extensions only being available with certain providers. Here are some of the most popular options and their associations.
.blockchain – This domain is associated with blockchain evangelists. It’s easy to remember and is designed to help move people from traditional .com domains to crypto-based alternatives.
.bitcoin – Designed especially for Bitcoin fans, this domain is provided by Gemini. It’s perfect for users who already use Bitcoin for transactions.
.coin – This domain was created as an easy-to-remember option for NFT domains. Its compatible with USDC for easy payments and can be purchased from Circle.
.nft – Designed with NFT projects in mind, .nft is perfect for NFT fans, artists and collectors.
.wallet – Associated with payment-related crypto projects, .wallet is the best option for payment pioneers.
.888 – Often associated with gambling, this domain name is linked to sites that wish good fortune upon their users.
.dao – .dao domains are associated with open governance and a focus on community. As the support for blockchain communities continues to grow, this particular domain is one we may see often in the future.
.x – Simple, short, and exclusive. This is what users believe .x domains stand for.
Crypto Domains: How Popular Are They?
Although Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have become fairly mainstream, crypto domains are still a relatively new concept. The concept was critiqued by many current browser companies, many of which still refuse to provide browser access. Despite this setback, crypto domains have made significant ground over the past few years.
Originally, crypto domains could only be accessed with certain browsers. The most popular options were Brave browser and Opera browser. In addition to this, a plug-in was often required to access the sites, making the process extremely inconvenient for users.
However, recent announcements by Unstoppable Domains have changed the game entirely. Unstoppable Domains have uncovered a new service that would allow internet users to access decentralized websites without needing to download any additional software. This service works with Cloudflare’s Distributed Web Resolver to allow any .crypto web address to be viewed from any browser or location around the world.
Although it’s still relatively new, this technology would allow for the mass adoption of crypto domains, helping move the internet from a centralized platform to a decentralized one.
Final Thoughts: Will Crypto Domains Be As Common as the .coms and .orgs?
According to a study by Dune Analytics, almost 90,000 crypto domains were minted in November 2021, the highest number of crypto domain registrations recorded in a single month. This significant growth in domain registrations suggests that crypto domains may one day become a norm on the internet.
The popularity of these domains will ultimately be determined by how easily they can be accessed by day-to-day users.