Unstoppable Domains and Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains are currently the two leading protocols for creating non-fungible token (NFT) domain names. Both provide similar functionalities and have been widely adopted. How are NFT domains actually used, and how does Unstoppable Domains differ from ENS domains?
What is Unstoppable Domains?
Unstoppable Domains allows its users to create human-readable URLs to replace complicated and long wallet addresses. The process mirrors how web URLs allow individuals to replace their IP addresses with human-readable addresses such as Apple.com or Benzinga.com. This way, when someone wants to send cryptocurrency, they can send it to a memorable address, which lowers the risk of error significantly.
Unstoppable Domains makes transacting cryptocurrency a simpler process by eliminating the need to know a recipient’s public key address, which is made up of a long and difficult sequence of numbers and letters.
Blockchain domain names from Unstoppable Domains are supported by many major blockchain applications such as OpenSea and Coinbase wallet.
Another neat feature of Unstoppable Domains is that it allows you to create censorship-resistant decentralized websites by uploading your website onto the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). IPFS is a peer-to-peer distributed file storing and sharing system.
Unstoppable Domains offers a wide variety of extensions such as .x, .crypto, .dao and .blockchain. The company behind Unstoppable Domains is located in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the company Unstoppable Domains has faced criticism for its centralization and for being a privatized for-profit company. ENS, on the other hand, is an open, public protocol that was developed by a non-profit without private investors. Unstoppable Domains also reserves well-known domains of famous people and corporations to prevent domain squatting. On the other hand, ENS is a permissionless protocol that allows anyone to purchase any domain name.
What are ENS Domains?
ENS domains provides the same functionality as Unstoppable Domains to create human-readable domain names for cryptocurrency wallets. Similar to how Domain Name System (DNS) translates web domain names into IP addresses, ENS translates domain names into Ethereum addresses. ENS also provides the same functionality of creating censorship-resistant decentralized websites. ENS allows you to register DNS names you already own as ENS addresses.
ENS blockchain domain names end in .eth and are registered directly onto the Layer 1 Ethereum blockchain. ENS is currently the most widely integrated blockchain naming standard with over 760,000 names registered, 501 integrations and 327,000 owners. ENS is popular in the crypto social space, and more people have ENS domain names on their Twitter accounts than Unstoppable Domains names.
The Ethereum Naming Service has a governance token that was airdropped to participants of the ENS ecosystem back in November of 2021. Unstoppable Domains currently does not have a governance token.
Unstoppable Domains vs ENS Domains: Pricing
When purchasing an ENS domain, you choose how many years to register a specific domain. ENS domains are registered directly onto the Ethereum blockchain. Because of this, gas fees can have a big impact on the cost of registering a domain. It is recommended that you lock up important domains for many years to avoid having to pay gas fees to renew the domain.
On the other hand, domains purchased through Unstoppable Domains are yours to own for perpetuity. When you purchase an Unstoppable Domains domain name, you don’t have to worry about it expiring. Domains from Unstoppable Domains can be minted on Polygon, so the gas fees necessary for minting these domain names are negligible compared to the gas fees required to mint an ENS domain. Furthermore, Unstoppable Domains allow its customers to pay for domains using fiat currencies as well as cryptocurrencies.
History of NFT Domains
Both ENS domain names and Unstoppable Domains domain names are NFTs. This means that the transferring of these domain names to others is as simple and easy as transferring an NFT to another wallet. ENS added this additional functionality when the .eth registrar became an ERC721 compliant NFT contract when the ENS .eth registrar migrated in May of 2019.
Since both domain name protocols are NFTs, you are able to purchase already minted domain names from other users on NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea.
How to Buy ENS Domains
To purchase an ENS domain, you need a hot wallet that has already been funded with Ethereum. Some ways to purchase Ethereum are from centralized exchanges such as Coinbase Global Inc. (NASDAQ: COIN) and Gemini or from decentralized exchanges such as Uniswap. Afterwards, head to the ENS website.
Then you may search for ENS names you would like to purchase by using the search bar.
Select how long you want to register the domain name for.
Read the instructions and complete the registration process.
The process is complete, and you own a domain name.
How to Buy Unstoppable Domains
First, go to the Unstoppable Domains website.
From here. sign in if you already have an account or create an account using your email.
Use the search bar to search for available domain names.
If you see that a domain name that you would like is available, add it to your shopping cart. Notice that you may choose a wide variety of domain endings.
You can pay with various options, including credit cards and cryptocurrencies. In contrast, ENS only accepts cryptocurrencies.
Keep your NFTs and Crypto Secure
Hardware cryptocurrency wallets are wallets that store access to your cryptocurrencies on an external device. Hardware wallets are a form of offline storage. A hardware wallet is a cryptocurrency wallet that stores the user's private keys on a secure device that isn’t connected to the internet.
A software wallet is an application you download onto your computer or mobile device. Software wallets, which are connected to the internet, are often called hot wallets. Storing valuable cryptocurrencies and NFTs on hot wallets is risky because hot wallets are more exposed to scams, hacks and leaking of your private keys.
Best Hardware Wallet: Ledger
If you have a significant amount of money invested into NFTs such as NFT domain names, it might be worth your while to purchase a Ledger wallet. Ledger wallets are hardware cryptocurrency wallets. The company is headquartered in Paris and was founded in 2014 by eight experts with backgrounds in embedded security and cryptocurrencies.
Best Software Wallet: ZenGo
ZenGo Wallet is a non-custodial mobile cryptocurrency wallet that uses 3D biometric facial recognition technology. The wallet contains no single point of failure, resulting in no risk of losing your cryptocurrencies if your wallet is hacked. These features make this software wallet much more secure than other software wallets.
Is it Worth Getting an NFT Domain Name?
NFT domain names help reduce the hassle of using cryptocurrencies. NFT domains provide great value to anyone who is a frequent user of cryptocurrencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What doe ENS stand for?
ENS stands for Ethereum Naming Service.
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About Sungyu Kwon
Sungyu Kwon is a student studying Computer Science and Business at Michigan State University. At MSU he serves as the VP of Spartan Blockchain Solutions. Originally from West Hartford, Connecticut, Sungyu currently resides in Ann Arbor and East Lansing, Michigan. He holds positions in Ethereum, Cardano, and a handful of DeFi projects.