Making wallet addresses Readable with the Ethereum Name Server (ENS)

Few could have predicted how significant a brand name followed by a strange-looking “.com” extension would be to every company a decade earlier. It wasn’t long before thousands of dollars were transferred between firms that were slow to adapt and others that were quick enough to jump on the bandwagon and acquire the most popular names.

The contours of Web 3.0 have begun to take shape, and momentum is on the rise as blockchain and crypto become more known aspects of our collective lexicon. Bitcoin, Ethereum, NFTs, DeFi, and many other blockchain-related terms are becoming commonplace. A forward-thinking organization will ask itself, “What’s next?”

One potentially important aspect of Web 3.0 may be Ethereum Name Service domains (ENS Domains). Similar to how web 2.0 IP addresses became easier to traverse with the growth of domain names, the Ethereum blockchain’s ENS Domains offer a much smoother link between you and your consumers and business associates.

One of the major issues that computer scientists encountered in the early days of the internet was that domains and internet protocol addresses had not been linked up, making them unattractive to the average user. That meant that if you wanted to access a website, you had to enter the whole IP address of the site, such as 54.235.191.121. Because IP addresses are merely strings of numbers and dots that are lengthy and difficult to memorize, it makes browsing the web difficult.

However, in 1983, Paul Mockapetris, an American computer scientist, invented the Domain Name System (DNS) in response to cutting-edge research conducted by Elizabeth Feinler, an American scientist, in the 1970s. The DNS system associates IP addresses with human-readable domain names. Instead of entering an IP address, you may just put wazirx.com into your browser’s search box and be directed to the website.

Despite all of the technological wizardry taking place in the crypto sector, cryptocurrencies continue to rely on a system similar to the traditional IP address setup.

If you wish to transfer bitcoin to someone else’s address, you must use that person’s wallet address rather than something more human-friendly, such as the wallet owner’s name.

This is where Ethereum Name Service (ENS) comes into play.

What exactly is Ethereum Name Service?

The Ethereum Name Service is a decentralized, open, and extensible name system that works with the Ethereum blockchain.

The role of the ENS is similar to that of the DNS in that it maps human-readable names such as “Rahul.eth” to machine-readable names such as wallet addresses such as “8g978dl39ji9xl.”

Users may buy and administer their own domains via the ENS, allowing for safe and decentralized transactions without the need for long and complex addresses. It also decreases the possibility of typing mistakes while entering the recipient’s address to send payments.

The ENS may sound similar to the DNS system built in the 1980s, but its design is vastly different.

The ENS, like the DNS, employs a hierarchical naming system known as domains, with the creator and owner of the domain having total control over the top-level domain and subsequent subdomains.

Components of the ENS

Registry

To begin, every domain name registered in the ENS has an owner. An owner owns a named domain and can transfer it to a new owner at any time.

The owner who wishes to purchase a domain is referred to as a “registrant” since he must register the domain with the ENS. The “registry” function of the ENS is in charge of recording, monitoring, and tracking who has registered for a domain – the registrar.

“Registrars” are smart contracts that assign subdomain domains and are managed by the permanent registrar, which is the primary registrar. They can be changed at any time or level inside the ENS and can be referred to by the registry’s owner.

A domain registration registrant can also migrate his registration to another account. Furthermore, if the individual chooses to restore a certain domain name, he can do so by reclaiming that name and domain.

This transfers ownership of the ENS name back to the registrant who reclaimed a specific account.

Names

Ownership of a name vs. ownership of registration is different. The ENS uses a “name” to identify a specific domain, such as “john.eth” which can be made up of a variety of labels separated by dots.

The “namehash” algorithm is used to process domain names published on the ENS. ENS uses the name hash to replace human-friendly names with 256-bit cryptographic hashes since the ENS can only work with that many human-friendly names. Using a name hash, the hash may be derived from the name while still maintaining the domain’s hierarchical features. For example, the name hash for “john.eth,” is 0x787192fc5378cc32aa. Representing names in this manner is exclusive to the ENS.

For the name hash to be effective, first and foremost, both upper- and lower-case names must be normalized. This is crucial because the name hash procedure guarantees that all users get the same representation of the names and domains accessible on the ENS.

DNS vs. ENS

Both the Domain Name System and the Ethereum Name Service are protocols that specify how certain Web2 and Web3 operations should be handled. The DNS translates the web server’s IP address into a human-readable string known as a URL.

The Ethereum Name Service translates an Ethereum address into a human-readable string structured similarly to a URL. In this regard, they are both comparable to a phonebook. You can look up a name in a phone book and receive the phone number for that individual.

The DNS is part of a network of internet protocols that allows Web2 to function properly. Web3, a concept that describes the upcoming decentralized version of the internet, is still in its early stages and faces challenges such as lengthy wallet addresses.

For the time being, the primary goal of ENS is to provide individuals and apps with a simple way to read and distribute crypto addresses, as well as to make Web3 more edible. More protocols will most likely be established on ENS as Web3 evolves.

Why is ENS an important innovation?

Because the ENS was created for Ethereum smart contracts – and is unique to the Ethereum environment – it doesn’t suffer from security vulnerabilities experienced by a DNS system. A centralized server stores DNS records for domains and names. That implies they are prone to hacks.

For example, in October 2020, Google’s threat research team tracked a record-breaking 180,000 assaults against DNSs and other network targets undertaken by Chinese internet service providers.

Alternatively, ENS records cannot be erased and are safeguarded by the Ethereum blockchain.

In addition, the ENS makes names and addresses more visible and more approachable. Anyone can create or register a “.eth” domain by participating in an auction process. The highest offer will obtain the domain name, allowing the victor to build subdomains as well as lease the domains.

This provides Ethereum blockchain users with a one-of-a-kind chance to establish a shop on the Ethereum network and become a distinct point of contact amid a sea of addresses.

How Do You Get An ENS Domain?

The process for registering an ENS domain name is basic. Users must first install a suitable wallet, such as MetaMask, by downloading and installing the required extension on their preferred browser. Users must also have enough ETH in their wallet to cover transaction fees and the yearly charge for the .eth domain. The following are the steps to registering a domain name:

Users should launch an Ethereum-compatible browser, either by downloading the MetaMask plugin or by using specialized browsers such as Brave or Opera and link their wallets. The official website has a list of supported extensions and browsers.The user should then go to the ENS DApp and search for the required name or address. If the name has previously been registered with another wallet, users will see a page with information such as the registrant’s address and the name expiration date. If the name is available, users will be sent to a page that requests the registration term as well as the amount of ETH necessary to register the name.Users can then select their preferred registration term and view the associated annual fee. The minimum registration time is one year, which users can always extend if desired.Users can begin the registration procedure after selecting a registration period. Users will be required to sign two transactions: one for the registration request and one for the actual registration. They must confirm the transactions in their wallet and pay the appropriate gas fee. After verifying the initial transaction, users must wait for the blockchain to validate the transaction.After the blockchain validates the transactions, users must wait one minute to guarantee that no one else is attempting to register the name at the same time. If no one else has registered the name, users may ultimately register it by signing the second transaction and waiting for blockchain verification.

Closing Note

ENS is a DApp that connects addresses with human-readable names. It runs on smart contracts from the registry, registrar, and resolver. Smart contracts monitor, store, and serve data. The service was created by Nick Johnson, an Ethereum software developer, and Alex Van de Sande, an Ethereum user experience designer. Since its inception, the ENS system has provided several benefits, including fewer errors, immutability, an easy-to-use name lookup system, and the potential for profit from the buying and selling of ENS-registered names.

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