What is ENS? Ethereum Name Service Explained (Updated 2022)
When the Internet first became popular, one of the primary issues consumers encountered was the mismatch between domain names and internet protocol (IP) addresses.
As a result, they were quite hostile to the typical person who had to physically key in the IP address of the website they wished to view.
Cryptocurrency addresses are much longer sequences of digits and characters than conventional IP addresses. A user must input the address and double-check that all of the numbers and letters are spelled correctly if they wish to send money to another user across the Ethereum network.
It’s also crucial to understand how harsh blockchain-based technology is in this regard. This is because if you insert an incorrect address or a letter, the money you send would be permanently gone. Since there is no centralized organization to get in touch with to cancel or refund the transaction, the money is gone.
And the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) was created similarly to how Domain Name Services (DNS) were created while utilizing the Internet.
What is Ethereum Name Service (ENS)?
The Domain Name Service (DNS) model is exactly what the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) adopts and modifies for the needs of Ethereum users. The Ethereum Name Service runs on the Ethereum blockchain and is fundamentally a distributed, open, and expandable name system.
It seeks to translate readable by hum humans into readable machine IDs. In this instance, the machine-readable identification may be the Ethereum address, whereas the human-readable name could be something like “cactus. eth” (or other cryptocurrency addresses, for that matter.)
We have proviillustrated it looks like in the image below. The Ethereum Foundation owns the address. For the sake of this instruction, the ENS domain name that we generated is only an illustration:
The common Ethereum address is transformed into language that can be read by humans (foundation. eth). This indicates that users can communicate or transfer money via “foundation. eth” rather than the default address. Naturally, this greatly simplifies things for frequent users and greatly reduces the likelihood of an error.
The system “has similar purposes to DNS, the Internet’s Domain Name Service, but has radically different design due to the possibilities and limits afforded by the Ethereum blockchain,” according to the official ENS description.
Similar to DNS, ENS also uses a system of domains—dot-separated hierarchical names—to conduct its operations. A domain’s owner also has total authority over its subdomains.
How Does ENS Work?
The Ethereum Name Service consists of two essential parts. These are, specifically, the resolvers and the registry. The system’s architecture appears as follows:
The registry is made up of a smart contract that stores three crucial pieces of information about each domain and subdomain as well as a list of all of them. These are the items:
- The website’s owner
- the domain’s resolver
- The total records within the domain’s caching time-to-live
The ENS registry’s goal is to link a name to the resolver in charge of it, which is a pretty simple goal. Owners of domains registered with the ENS registry are permitted to:
- Change the subdomains’ ownership
- Transfer domain ownership to a different location
- Set the domain’s resolver and time-to-live (TTL)
On the other side, resolvers are in charge of the conversion of names into addresses. Any contract that complies with the requirements can function as a resolver in the Ethereum Name Service. However, there are two processes involved in resolving a name in ENS.
The first step is to find out from the registry which resolver is in charge of the given name. The second step entails requesting the response to the query from that specific resolver. It appears as follows in terms of architecture:
As was already established, having a name differs from owning a registration. A “name” can be made up of many labels that are separated by dots and serve as a means for the ENS to identify a certain domain, such as “john.eth.”
The “name hash” technique is used to process domain names that are registered on the ENS. The name hash is necessary because the ENS system can only operate with hashes of a finite length of 256 bits and replaces human-friendly names.
A name hash is utilized if one wants to extract the hash from the name while maintaining the domain’s hierarchical features. For instance, the name hash for “john. eth” is 0x787192fc5378cc32aa.
The ENS is the only organization that represents names in this way.
Names must first be normalized, which means that both upper- and lowercase names must be handled identically before the name hash can be used. This is crucial because the name hash procedure ensures that every user sees the same names and domains accessible on the ENS.
Why is ENS important?
The ENS does not have the security problems that a DNS system does since it was created specifically for Ethereum smart contracts and is a part of the Ethereum ecosystem. On a single server, DNS records for domains and names are kept. They are hence vulnerable to hackers.
For instance, Google’s threat intelligence team saw a record-breaking 180,000 assaults against DNSs and other network targets in October 2020 that were launched from Chinese ISPs.
On the other hand, ENS records are protected by the Ethereum blockchain and cannot be lost.
Additionally, names and addresses become more accessible and clearer thanks to the ENS. An “. eth” domain can be created or registered by anybody by taking part in an auction procedure. The domain name will be awarded to the highest bidder, who will then be able to build subdomains and lease the domains.
As a result, users on the Ethereum blockchain have a rare chance to establish themselves on the network and stand out among the sea of addresses.
Why should you use ENS?
ENS names appear to not only be in demand right now but also to be here to stay. As more people, and even brands, become immersed in the Web 3 ecosystem, we’ll probably see ENS shatter several additional sales and domain registration-related records during the remainder of 2022.
We may expect to see businesses and other significant institutions enter the NFT ecosystem in a manner like to how American beer corporation Budweiser made a splash by acquiring the ENS name “beer. eth” in the fall of 2021. They’ll want to fit in as they try to adjust to the environment, so they’ll probably complete the rite of passage of getting a Punk or Bored Ape and, of course, getting an ENS name that will serve as their Web3 identity.
The Difference Between DNS and ENS
Paul Mockapetris, a US computer scientist, developed the Domain Name Service (DNS) in 1983. It was based on Elizabeth Feinler’s study, by an American scientist.
Simply said, the DNS’s function is to link human-friendly domain names with internet protocol (IP) addresses. Instead of entering the precise numeric IP address, users may now insert the name of the website.
The Ethereum Name Service makes an analogous but distinct effort to make it simpler for users and programs to read and communicate bitcoin addresses.
How to Register an Ethereum Name Service (ENS) Domain?
Simply having a hot wallet like MetaMask is all that is required to register an Ethereum Name Service domain.
Enter the domain name you wish to register at app. ens. domains (the official ENS domain registration website). This will confirm that it is available.
All you have to do is adhere to the guidelines below after choosing your name:
Ethereum Name Service Governance
Each of the several arms that make up the Ethereum Name Service’s governance has its importance.
ENS Token + Distribution
The ENS token is a standard token that runs on the Ethereum blockchain and adheres to the ERC-20 standard. Its primary function is to be applied to the system’s governance.
Holders of tokens can vote and propose suggestions. The forum discusses.ens.domains as the primary location where community members may conduct conversations about concepts and governance.
The ENS token airdropped early adopters who had already registered an ENS domain name. Users had until November 8th, 2021, through May 4th, 2022, to claim the tokens they were entitled to.
An airdrop dispersed 25% of the entire supply, with the remaining 75% being allocated as depicted in the pie chart below:
The Ethereum Name Service is run by a decentralized autonomous organization in the spirit of decentralization (DAO). The ENS token owners who can make ideas and vote on them to influence the protocol’s future development run the DAO itself.
The ENS Foundation, a current Cayman Islands Foundation, is the official representative of the ENS DAO.
It serves a variety of functions, such as:
- Due to the lack of a legal organization, DAO participants may be liable for a percentage of the DAO’s profits, even if they do not have access to this money, to comply with tax regulations.
- to sign agreements with other businesses.
- to offer members in the DAO minimal accountability for the DAO’s conduct.
ENS is a significant development in the cryptocurrency space and a move in the right direction to address some of the most important problems that plague the sector, specifically, user experience.
Errors are frequently caused by having to deal with lengthy sequences of random numbers and characters, and in the world of cryptography, errors are frequently quite costly. A step toward enhancing the entire user experience is normalizing addresses and presenting them in a comprehensible and welcoming manner, much like DNS does for Internet users.
However, DNS records for domains and names are frequently kept on centralized servers, leaving them vulnerable to hacking. ENS, on the other hand, are multifaceted and more secure since they are protected by Ethereum’s blockchain.
Having said that, there is no question that the Ethereum Name Service is a crucial innovation that has swiftly gained popularity and is utilized by thousands of individuals.