The human brain is capable of remembering 7 items, plus or minus 2 on average. Domain names serve a crucial function as mnemonics for our highly volatile short memories to retain. Heuristics (shortcuts) like the teledotcom [e.g. 1–800-FLOWERS] are game-changers as easily memorable means of resolving intricate number strings into usable formats.
The same can be said of dotcom domain names (e.g. www.pledgebond.com) which go a layer of abstraction further to enable resolution of protocols such as TCP/IP and HTTP into much of the internet infrastructure we so depend on today. These are incredibly powerful tools upon which the utility of the internet has been built.
Yet to begin with much of this functionality tends to be obscured from its inventors and early adopters. Take the personal computer for instance, and what we now understand of its near infinite potential applications. In the 70’s a brand called Honeywell promoted the “Kitchen Computer,” a desk-sized recipe book and this remained a theme in how PC’s were marketed for nearly a decade. The early value proposition of IP tends to be nebulous, with Comic Books for instance the most successful of which are now realised as theme parks, animations, movies and merchandise.
As the proliferation of the technology progressed, so did the use cases.
In the decentralised blockchain era a similar early roadmap has played out across its nascent domain name ecosystem. In 2017 for instance the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) was launched as a decentralized domain name provider allowing anyone to buy and manage .eth domains without relying on a centralized domain registrar.
This allows users to easily map human-readable names to Ethereum addresses and other resources on the Ethereum blockchain. These names are called ENS domain names, and their primary use cases so far have included wallet address resolution and online identity.
For wallet address resolution ENS is the blockchain equivalent to a Domain Name System (DNS) that assigns addresses on the internet. ENS translates long complicated Ethereum addresses featuring random numbers and letters into memorable monikers.
e.g. 0x55A5705453Ee82c742274154136Fce8149597058 → papajams.eth
And these monikers have served to become digital identities akin to the online representations we’ve become accustomed to through the usage of usernames, social media account names, and website avatars — with one important distinction: irrefutable control. The decentralised domain smart contract is immutable (cannot be changed), irreversible, and cryptographically secure. Accessible using self custody wallets that maintain complete control of digital assets featuring private keys that are stored directly on web browsers or mobile devices — not with centralized authorities.
Adhering to the “power law” ENS is the dominant decentralised domain name service platform, amongst a growing cadre of alternatives:
Zksync: zks.domains (app under development)
Cardano: adadomains.io (app under development)
Since 2017, over 2.3M ENS names have been created for over 550,000 unique participating addresses. From August 2021 to ENS registration peak in May 2022, combined monthly ENS revenue increased by 264%. For names that are longer than five characters, yearly ENS name renewal costs $5, while shorter names are pricier: four characters — $160/year, three characters — $640/year. TheDefiant
There is a saying that if necessity is the mother of invention — fiction is its father. So beyond wallet address resolution and online identity, a new tranche of applications is now established including sending and receiving both cryptocurrencies and NFTS; creating ENS subdomains; and building or integrating with web3 applications such as
As the scope of potential use cases expands, I’ve selected a random set of ENS domain names and asked ChatGPT for potential future use cases.
merseyside.eth: This ENS domain name could be used by a business or organization based in Merseyside, a region in northwest England. The organization could use the domain to create a website that provides information about their products or services, as well as a way for customers to contact them. Liverpool football club, the greatest in the world, is based in Merseyside.
cryptobags.eth: This ENS domain name could be used by a company that sells bags specifically designed to hold cryptocurrency hardware wallets, such as Ledger or Trezor. The company could use the domain to create an online store where customers can purchase these bags, as well as to provide information about their products and shipping options.
hiddenstash.eth: This ENS domain name could be used by a company that offers secure storage solutions for individuals or businesses looking to keep their valuable items safe. The company could use the domain to create a website that provides information about their services and pricing, as well as a way for customers to request quotes or make reservations.
screenprotector.eth: This ENS domain name could be used by a company that manufactures and sells screen protectors for electronic devices. The company could use the domain to create an online store where customers can purchase screen protectors for their phones, tablets, and other devices, as well as to provide information about the different types of protectors they offer and how to properly install them.
bestrose.eth: This ENS domain name could be used by a company that specializes in growing and selling high-quality roses. The company could use the domain to create a website where customers can purchase roses online, as well as to provide information about the different types of roses they offer and how to care for them.
belomancy.eth: Belomancy is a type of divination that involves using arrows to answer questions. This ENS domain name could be used by an individual or group interested in practicing belomancy or teaching others about it. The domain could be used to create a website with information about the history and practice of belomancy, as well as resources for those interested in learning more about it.
raptitude.eth: This ENS domain name could be used by a company or organization that provides personal development and self-improvement resources. The domain could be used to create a website with information about their services, as well as resources such as blog posts, podcasts, or online courses.
canwetalk.eth: This domain name could be used for a messaging or communication platform that allows users to have conversations over the Ethereum network. “Can We Talk” is a song recorded by American R&B singer Tevin Campbell in 1993. CAN WE TALK TV is an award winning Christian Based Talk & Variety format airing on BPN; MNN, NAC &JamVibes Network. Can We Talk is a canadian television commercial series raising awareness of the mental health of children.
wellfound.eth: This domain name could be used for a platform or service that helps people find resources or information related to health and wellness. AngelList Talent, a platform that connects startups with angel investors and job seekers, has been rebranded as Wellfound.
weirdcreatures.eth: This domain name could be used for a website or platform that features information or content about unusual or exotic animals. It could also be used for a marketplace or platform for buying and selling rare or unusual pets.
Beyond wallet address resolution and online identity, decentralised domain names offer a secure means of usage for a wide and growing range of purposes, from creating online stores and providing information about products or services, to offering personal development resources or practicing divination. Whether you are a business looking to establish an online presence or an individual interested in a particular topic, a domain name can help you connect with others and share your ideas across blockchains.
Not Financial Advice (NFA), please do your own research (DYOR), disclaimer that assets and properties owned by the author are used in the article, and some artistic license has been applied to some of the ChatGPT responses.
Papa — linktr.ee/papajams