ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WEB3 (1): Centralization vs Decentralization: Websites, Domain Name Services, and More
October 28th, 2022

In the recent bear market, one of the winners now in a stronger position is ENS. According to NFTgo statistics, ENS’s trading volume in the past 30 days earns them the top spot in the NFT market. The positive trend is also witnessed in several special name types such as "10k club". In terms of historical transaction volume, the total ENS volume has exceeded 80K ETH, ranking 17th. Therefore, it can be concluded that ENS has become, both in the short and long run, an important part of the NFT market. This article is aimed at discussing the current value of ENS and decentralized domain names and their future development.

1. Ethereum Name Service

Ethereum Name Service (ENS) uses readable domain names to provide a secure and decentralized solution for on-chain and off-chain addressing of data. Here is a description of the official document:

ENS’s job is to map human-readable names like ‘alice.eth’ to machine-readable identifiers such as Ethereum addresses, other cryptocurrency addresses, content hashes, and metadata. ENS also supports ‘reverse resolution’, making it possible to associate metadata such as canonical names or interface descriptions with Ethereum addresses.

To sum up, ENS is mainly used in two scenarios, namely decentralized identity, and decentralized websites.

1.1 Decentralized Identity (DID)

Decentralized Identity is a decentralized domain name case that has been agreed upon. Take ENS as an example, if you set the ENS name as the reverse resolution of the Ethereum address, you can directly access the wallet address through the ENS name. Current mainstream Ethereum wallets and DAPPs are usually compatible with ENS names. After logging into a DAPP, the ENS name will be exhibited. Operations such as transactions can also be performed through the ENS name.

Based on this case, some decentralized domain name projects began to position themselves as DID projects, using the domain names as DID.

1.2 Decentralized Websites(Dweb)

Another neglected case is the content access address which is just like a traditional DNS domain name, which is described as a decentralized website on the official website of ENS. The ENS can associate the content stored in decentralized storage networks such as IPFS and ArWeave, and use the ENS domain name as the link to access the content.

However, the ENS has not yet reached the level of functionality of traditional DNS. At a basic level, the current mainstream browsers do not support direct access through the ENS domain name. So, what kind of improvement does the decentralized domain name need in order to be compared with DNS? Let’s analyze and try to find out.

2. Cweb vs Dweb

2.1 Cweb and DNS

Most of the current centralized web pages adopt a client-server architecture. The host that provides the service is called a server, such as a big portal website, social platform, etc. Hosts that access servers to obtain useful information are clients, such as various home computers and smartphones. For example, if you write an article on Google Docs, the article is stored in the Google server and accessed by the client through the computer browser when reading the document. The content is transferred from the Google server to the computer browser.

The process of obtaining and transmitting the content obtained from the server is implemented through the TCP/IP protocol and the HTTP protocol built on it. Each server has a corresponding IP address through which the client accesses the contents of the server. However, the groups of numbers of the IP address is difficult to remember. Therefore, the concept of Domain Names came into being. The domain name provides a convenient and understandable address for any web server available on the Internet. With the domain name, we do not need to enter an IP address to access the web page. Instead, we can directly enter a domain name in the browser that is easy to remember. The current domain name system is managed and operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which will assign different suffixes to different regions, countries, and operators for operation and maintenance. For example, the cn suffix is given to CNNIC, the com suffix is given to Verisign, and the operation ownership of mo is owned by the Macao Registration Authority. Suffixes are generally priced based on the operator’s cost plus a reasonable profit, and suffixes such as cn, jp, and hk are priced by each region. Some of the fees paid by users to purchase domain names are given to ICANN, while others are given to service providers.

With the correspondence between the domain name and the IP address, it is necessary to record the correspondence and provide a query service, hence there is the DNS (Domain Name Service). DNS is a distributed database that records the mapping relationship between a domain name and an IP address. After inputting the web address in the browser, the user searches through the DNS database layer by layer to finally determine the IP address corresponding to the domain name and transmit the contents of the server corresponding to the IP address back to the client.

2.2 Dweb and decentralized domain name system

In Dweb, a very important difference is that the content is not stored in a centralized server, but in multiple nodes of the decentralized storage network such as IPFS and Arweave. Searching for content is no longer to find the location of the content server through IP, but to generate a link corresponding to the content after the file is stored. Although distributed content storage decreases the risk of a single point of failure of centralized servers, the form of its links is also difficult to remember, even harder than IP addresses.

Therefore, the decentralized domain name plays a similar role, that is by binding the domain name with the content link, the corresponding content is accessible through the domain name on the link. Different from the traditional domain name, an on-chain domain name does not need a system, like DNS, to record the correspondence, but directly records the correspondence in the intelligent contract, and the content corresponding to the domain name can be found by querying the smart contract data. The following is a comparison table of Cweb and Dweb.

2.3 The current dilemma of Dweb

The user can find the content by entering the domain name in the browser address bar because the browser uses the HTTP protocol to query the IP address corresponding to the domain name and read the content from the server, but the HTTP protocol cannot access the on-chain domain name. Therefore, apart from a few browsers such as Opera and Brave, the mainstream browsers do not support on-chain domain names, which makes it impossible for users to directly access the content by entering the ENS domain name at the browser address bar.

Currently, only through gateways that provide ENS resolution services can users access ENS in mainstream browsers, such as and For example, if you want to access curve.eth, enter “” in the browser to access the corresponding content. At this point, eth Link acts as an intermediary, helping you read the content corresponding to ENS, and making it accessible in all browsers through the DNS domain name.

Access “curve.eth” in Brave browser
Access “curve.eth” in Brave browser
Access “curve.eth” through DNS domain
Access “curve.eth” through DNS domain

3. The next step for decentralized domain names

To sum up, Dweb is mainly composed of two parts: decentralized content storage and decentralized domain name. This article takes domain name as the theme, so the following contains a summary of what problems still exist in the centralized domain name, and how to develop it, so as to help the promotion and self-progress of Dweb.

3.1 Develop standards for domain names

The current decentralized domain name can be said to be in the wild development stage, there is no unified standard. Because domain names are resolved through smart contracts, multiple identical top-level domain names appeared, such as Unstoppable Domains and TwitterScan, which have both issued “.nft” domain names.

As the earliest decentralized domain name and the leading project now, ENS has been planned for a long time. The goal of ENS is to integrate the existing Internet domain name standards. That is to say, “.eth” will be registered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), so that ENS can become a mainstream domain name on par with generic top-level domain names such as .com and .org.

There are also some views that decentralized domain names should establish independent standards, but whether being independent or integrating the existing standards, it is necessary to establish a standard with a unified access method. Each top-level domain name has the only recognized smart contract address, without duplication. Otherwise, decentralized domain names are difficult to put into large-scale applications. Current mainstream browsers are not compatible with decentralized domain names, and the lack of standards is one of the important reasons.

3.2 Upgrading pricing mode

At present, there are two main modes for pricing decentralized domain names, most of which adopt the annual renewal system, and a few (such as Unstoppable Domains) adopt the one-time payment and permanent holding mode. But no matter which mode, the fixed fee is set according to the length of the name.


There are two main problems with this model:

1. High-quality domain names are occupied by early adopters, but with low utilized


Traditional domain name registrars can alleviate the problem of high-quality domain names being occupied by releasing more top-level domain names. But the problem is that a decentralized domain name has not yet been able to compete with the ENS, and that it is unlikely that there will be a new top-level domain name of the same status anytime soon. Moreover, the current market is abundant with speculators. All these situations create a market environment for speculators to maximize their interests. They can hold domain names and bid high prices, while prospective buyers have no other choice, which greatly increases the cost of domain name acquisition.

2. The protocol didn’t enjoy the added value during its development.

The ENS DAO (the recipient of the protocol) can only charge the annual registration fee, but cannot benefit from the value added by the ecosystem development of ENS, which limits the income of the DAO and its ability to improve the system.

Therefore, Vitalik Buterin proposed a scheme that uses the normal pricing scheme based on demand. In short, anyone can bid on a domain name after it is registered. If the domain name holder does not accept the bid, and the bid lasts for a certain period of time, then the minimum valuation of the domain name is set at this price, and the annual fee of the domain name will be set at a proportion of the valuation (e.g. 5%); If the bid is canceled later and the domain valuation declines at a constant rate, a cap on renewal fees may be considered.

For example, if I buy the domain name abcde.eth, and the basic annual fee is $5, after the purchase of the $200 bid, I can immediately accept the bid to sell the domain name. But if I do not accept the bid and the other party does not cancel it, after a period of time, my domain name value becomes $200. At this time, if the ratio is set to 5%, the abcde.eth renewal price becomes $10 / year.

3.3 Improving supporting

Relevant ecosystem tools include domain name market analysis tools, Dweb construction tools, etc. In a way, this has made some progress, but for most external users, it still has a high application threshold.

4. Some Dweb products experience

If you have a decentralized domain name and want to build your own Dweb, what should you do? Here are two tools to share. The first tool is Plante, through which you can easily build your own decentralized blog. The second tool is 4everland, which is more suitable for developers to host code content through the platform and access it with a decentralized domain name.

4.1 Plante

Plante is a tool for building a decentralized blog. At present, the Mac version has been released. In Plante, you can create a blog, and the content of the blog will be automatically stored in IPFS. Then you can configure the IPFS link to the background settings of ENS, and you can access the blog content through ENS. Vitalik Buterin has set up his own blog via Plante, which can be accessed at

Instructions for using Plante to build your own Dweb:

1.Download Plante:

2.Create a plant: Click on the “+” in the bottom left corner, and then click on “create plant”. Enter the name and description in the pop-up window, and then click on “create” to see the created plant.

3.Create a new article: Right-click on the name of the plant and click on the “new article” button to enter the editing page of the new article; on the editing page, you can enter the title and content, and insert emoji, pictures, videos, and recordings.

4.Publish a new article: Click on the small airplane button to publish the article, which will be displayed as follows. The hourglass icon behind the title of Plante is the icon that reminds you of uploading ipfs. When the hourglass icon disappears, the article has been saved in ipfs.

5.Configure the ENS: Right-click on the Plante name and select “copy IPNS” in the menu to copy the ipfs storage address; then enter your own ENS management page, click on “edit record”, select “content” in the expanded drop-down menu. Paste the copied link, click on “save” to save, then pull to the bottom of the page, and click on “confirm” to submit the on-chain transaction. After the transaction is successfully completed, the configuration is successfully set up.

6.Access: via ENS domain names.

4.2 4everland

4everland is a code hosting platform that provides code storage and hosting services based on IPFS and AR. This is a developer-friendly platform, and it doesn't require a lot of instructions for developers, so there is no need to cover step-by-step instructions in the following text. 4everland synchronizes the Github codebase or uploads the code itself, and automatically configures it to IPFS or AR networks. Similar to Plante, 4everland configures storage links to ENS content records to access web pages through ENS domain names.

5. Conclusion

  1. Currently, there are two development scenarios for decentralized domain names. One is as a web3 decentralized identity, which has come to a consensus. Second, it serves as the access portal to the decentralized website (Dweb).

  2. After configuring the content links stored in the decentralized networks such as IPFS and Arweave to the content records of the ENS domain name, you can access the content through the ENS domain name. Except for browsers like Brave, mainstream browsers do not support the ENS domain name at the current stage, so the content bound to the ENS domain name can only be accessed through the resolution gateway (such as or

  3. For decentralized domain names, further development awaits in domain name standards, pricing modes, and supporting ecosystem tools.

  4. At present, there are some tools for building Dweb, such as Plante and 4Everland, which can be used to build Dweb easily.


About is a Web3 information aggregation service platform, dedicated to serving the Web3 ecosystem, guiding new users to enter Web3, and integrating and visualizing off- and on-chain data in a comprehensive and user-friendly interface. The service will bridge Web 2 and Web 3 and be a one-stop for your Web3 exploration.

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