We are all familiar with URLs like www.viabtc.com. As we enter these well-known URLs in the address bar, before leading us to the specific webpage, the browser first needs to translate the URLs into IP addresses like 58.220.70.XX. In this complex process, the Domain Name System (DNS) plays a key role. DNS translates the human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses and sends them to the server, which is why we just need to remember the simple domain name of viabtc.com, instead of a random IP address.
Today, we will introduce Ethereum Name Service (ENS), which is a distributed, open, and extensible naming system based on the Ethereum blockchain that functions like DNS. ENS’s job is to translate human-readable names like brantly.eth into machine-readable identifiers such as Ethereum 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.
Using ENS, you can link any registered domain name with an Ethereum address, which means that we can receive cryptocurrencies, tokens, and NFTs via a simple domain name like bratly.eth, without copying or typing in the lengthy hexadecimal addresses.
However, due to the functional characteristics and limitations of the Ethereum blockchain, ENS significantly differs from DNS in terms of architecture. ENS has two principal components: the registry, and resolvers. The ENS registry consists of one smart contract that maintains a list of all domains and subdomains and stores three critical pieces of information about each: the owner of the domain, the resolver for the domain, the caching time-to-live (TTL) for all records under the domain. The owner of a domain may be either a user or a smart contract. Owners of domains in the ENS registry may set the resolver and TTL for the domain, transfer ownership of the domain to another address, and change the ownership of subdomains.
Resolvers translate names into addresses. Any smart contract that meets the relevant standards may act as a resolver in ENS. General-purpose resolver implementations are offered for users with simple requirements, such as users with an infrequently changed address.
It will only cost you $5 a year to register your .eth domain name, which can be renewed or abandoned at any moment. At the moment, ENS has developed an extensive ecosystem, covering wallets, applications, and explorers.
Not long ago, ENS officially announced that it will fully integrate the DNS Namespace on Ethereum, allowing any .com domain name to be associated with an Ethereum address. For example, if a user owns example.com on DNS, he can import it into ENS and continue to use example.com instead of example.eth. In addition, users are allowed to set ENS records to receive cryptocurrencies such as ETH, BTC, and DOGE on the example.com domain name. ENS said that the development of this feature was funded by the Ethereum Foundation and ETC Labs.
Apart from this, on October 9, ENS announced that “ENS now supports NFT avatars for your ENS profile. What this means is you can now set an NFT you own as the avatar of your ENS profile, and Dapps can then display it alongside your ENS name”. In addition to the ENS Manager App itself, this feature is also supported by Uniswap and 1inch.
As stated by ENS, this is merely a start of a greater vision. Initially, ENS was only developed for .eth domain names on Ethereum. Despite this, it has evolved into a full extension of DNS. As the ENS profile supports the display of users’ NFT avatars, users are looking forward to the new features ENS might introduce in the future.