What is an ENS?
Sep 12, 2022
The Ethereum Naming Service NFTs, more widely known as ENS, have been on a tear through this bear market.
In August 2022 alone, they garnered 301,000 new .eth registrations and now have 2.17m names in total. They have earned $4.7m in protocol revenue which all goes to their ENS DAO and they added 34,000 new eth accounts with at least 1 ENS name (total 540,000) while accounting for 99% of OpenSea’s domain volume.
Source: Dune Analytics Dashboard by @makoto https://dune.com/makoto/ens
And that is just for August of 2022.
So it’s clear ENS has support from the NFT masses. Knowing that, we wanted to share a few ways you can use your ENS out in the world because who doesn’t love some NFT utility, right?
How do ENS domains work?
Not only are they an example of web3 .coms, but they are also built on the Ethereum blockchain, so they are more secure and censor-resistant than .coms.
They offer human-readable nicknames - like vitalik.eth - that can work across all of your crypto wallets, decentralized apps (dApps) and decentralized websites. Previously, users would send their Ethereum address to other users in order to interact on the blockchain.
These addresses have a length of 42 characters and always begin with “0x” like 0x71C7656EC7ab88b098defB751B7401B5f6d8976F. You may have already seen some of these addresses or maybe have come across some users who go by their 0x address as their social identity.
Ethereum smart contract addresses also follow this format, making them indistinguishable from wallet addresses and making it difficult to identify whether you are interacting with other users versus other smart contracts. However with your ENS, you can choose a wallet address without a 0x and with far fewer than 42 characters (ENS allows for a minimum of 3 characters).
So instead of sharing your address as 0x71C7656EC7ab88b098defB751B7401B5f6d8976F, it can be as simple as 413.eth or LFG.eth for example.
For those of you who will never have to send your ETH address as that long string of characters, you should consider yourselves lucky. It is hard to say exactly how much, but millions have been lost because of an ETH address being typed in the wrong way. One has to imagine ENS saved the general crypto public from any typos of 42 characters.
Many consider the consolidation and personalization of your ETH address to be the main use case of ENS, but what else can you do with it?
What else can you do with an ENS domain?
Crypto Wallets, Decentralized Apps, and Web3 Websites
Like we mentioned earlier, it can act as your connective tissue between crypto wallets, apps, and websites.
For example, you can send someone an NFT using their ENS name on MetaMask and have them open it using that same ENS name on Sintra. The MetaMask wallet is able to read your ENS address within the wallet and the Sintra website is able to read the same address and share what is on that address’ ledger to their site.
One of ENS’ goals is to have everyone able to use one name across all of their crypto experience. From any metaverse they choose to hang out in to any exchange they choose to trade on, the experience will ideally be simple, straightforward, decentralized, and all occur under one ENS name.
To further that effort, they have also incorporated other cryptocurrencies you can interact with through your ENS.
This means you can use one ENS name to receive a growing list of cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, BNB, DOGE, and more.
ENS as NFTs
On top of that, you can also buy, sell, and trade ENS names just like any other NFT.
Some of the folks who were clever and minted ENS names early like god.eth, amazon.eth, and beer.eth have been rewarded with plenty of ETH returns.
Users have speculated on common words, phrases, location names, company names, and 2.16m+ other names.
10k ENS Club
A recent spike in volume has been thanks to the 10k ENS club - a club for anyone with a 4-digit numbered ENS like 1989.eth or 9999.eth. Some joined the club because it is the number of their NFT (since so many NFTs are 10k projects and have a number associated with their NFT) while others joined because of the year they were born. No matter your reasoning, having 1 of these 10,000 NFTs gives you exclusive access to a community that has formed around these NFTs.
Whether it’s for easier naming devices, joining a club, or using one account across multiple platforms, many have speculated on the why you might want an ENS right now. They have also speculated on potential future use cases like passing down your inheritance, tying all of your legal documents (eg passport) together, provably receiving certificates or college degrees, and more.
Clearly, ENS has current utility and potential future utility on the horizon. The only question is, what do you want to call yourself in web3?