The rise of Web3 functionality has been a boon for decentralized domain name services over the past two years, with millions of blockchain-based domains registered to date. Challenging market conditions may have hampered exponential growth, but industry leaders believe that utility-driven adoption will continue in the future.
Web3 is fundamentally changing how businesses, brands and retailers serve customers, who are taking full control of their data, wallets and online identity courtesy of blockchain ecosystems like Ethereum.
Decentralized domain names are proving to be valuable tools for users and businesses to integrate with Web3 functionality. From providing human-readable names that replace numerical wallet addresses to serving as a decentralized profile across the Web3 ecosystem, decentralized domains offer an alternative to conventional domain services.
Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and Unstoppable Domains are the two most prominent platforms serving the space, having a combined 6 million-plus domain registrations since their respective inceptions. Both services saw significant increases in newly minted domains through 2021 and into 2022.
Cointelegraph reached out to a handful of decentralized domain name platforms to gauge the current state of the industry, who is leading registrations and what the future holds for the space.
2022 in review
2022 proved to be a massive year for both ENS and Unstoppable Domains, with both firms highlighting some key metrics from the year in correspondence with Cointelegraph.
ENS is a distributed, open, extensible naming system that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. It maps human-readable names like “alice.eth” to machine-readable data like cryptocurrency addresses and URLs.
ENS emulates the conventional Domain Name Service (DNS) by using dot-separated hierarchical names, commonly known as domains, with the owner of a domain controlling both it and any subdomains. An ENS domain is effectively a nonfungible token (NFT) that serves as an Ethereum wallet address, cryptographic hash or website URL.
ENS developer Makoto Inoue said that the platform’s official registered domain total was 2.8 million as of January 2023, excluding any reregistered names after expiry. When including subdomains and DNS names, that number rises to 3.9 million — excluding off-chain names like Coinbase’s in-house cb.id domain solution for wallets and decentralized identities.
Nora Chan, vice president of communications at Unstoppable Domains,…
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