What Is The Ethereum Name Service (ENS)?

What Is The Ethereum Name Service (ENS)?

The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is a distributed technology built on the Ethereum blockchain that replaces long alphanumeric addresses with simple, human-readable and memorable names.

For example; a Coinbase wallet, for use on the Ethereum blockchain might look something like this: 0xb15166d10aebc6bb4868668eff1b3acd95da920c

First, this string has 42 characters. There is no way you’re going to remember it. Second, if you get even one character in the string wrong, you might end up sending cryptocurrency to someone else – and there might be no way to recover those coins.

With ENS, that long string becomes something as simple as ‘henry.eth’. And that in a nutshell is what Ethereum name service is.

**What is the ENS?**

ENS takes the concept of Domain Name Service (DNS), which mapped websites with simple names like ‘facebook.com’ instead of long IP addresses.

In the early days of the web, you needed to type in the IP address to access a website. These IP addresses are a string of numbers difficult to read and remember and almost impossible to guess. This made surfing the web very inconvenient and hassled for users. Then came the domain name service (DNS) – human-readable names to make it easier for people to surf the world wide web.

Even after the recent boom of cryptocurrencies, NFTs and Defi, cryptocurrency is still very much in the IP address phase. Users need long, difficult to remember addresses in order to access the page that they want or locate a crypto wallet. This demotivates people to get into the crypto world on the top of already existing fear of lack of regulation. This is where Ethereum Name Service comes in. The ENS works in a similar way to make using crypto as easy as surfing the web.

Fun Fact: .eth domain names are actually NFTs. You can transfer a registered .eth name to a different person just like you would send any other non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

How does ENS work?

The ENS is a distributed, open and extensible naming system based on the Ethereum blockchain. It is composed of two Ethereum smart contracts: the ENS registry and the Resolver. The ENS registry records domain names. While the Resolver converts human-readable Ehtereum addresses like ‘henry.eth’ to machine-readable alphanumeric codes. The reverse is also possible – to associate metadata and machine-readable addresses with human-readable Ethereum addresses.

And like DNS, ENS also uses a system of hierarchical names separated by dots called domains. Domain owners can fully control their subdomains. The native name suffix for ENS is .eth. The .eth domain is native to the Ethereum blockchain, so it offers full security and compatibility benefits. However, you can also use ENS with DNS names that you already own. ENS supports most DNS names including .com, .org, .io, .app, .xyz, .art just to name a few.Browsers currently supporting ENS include Brave, Opera, Status (mobile), MetaMask MObile (mobile) and Puma. ENS will not work on a browser such as Chrome or Safari.

The Ethereum Name Service is not a naming service just for Ethereum; it is rather a name service built on the Ethereum blockchain. And of course, the Ethereum blockchain is only one of the several blockchains onto which Decentralized Finance (Defi) applications are being built. But it’s currently the largest, so users are rushing to secure their ENS domains before they become unavailable.

As of the day of writing, the floor price of an ENS stands at 0.005 ETH ($15.4) while the highest last transaction was made for paradigm.eth for over 420 ETH ($1.27 million). Imagine how much a large company will be willing to pay for it a few years from now.

What makes ENS unique?

The ENS is highly programmable and can interact with other smart contracts other than naming. It can make use of the existing Ethereum ecosystem to provide distributed, trustworthy name resolution for Web3 resources such as blockchain addresses. And unlike its competitors, ENS does not aim to replace DNS. Instead, it can transfer the DNS to the decentralized Web3. Thanks to blockchain technology, ENS does not have a single point of failure and is by design, more censorship-resistant and secure. This makes it a one-of-a-kind infrastructure of the Web3.

The ENS is also the solution to one of the main obstacles to the mass adoption of blockchain technologies – accessibility and ease of use. ENS simplifies the user experience and makes blockchain technology less technical.

Who runs ENS?

ENS is not a company but an open-source project that calls itself “an open public utility that belongs to the company.” The ENS was initially part of the Ethereum foundation before it spun off as a separate entity in 2018. Neck Johnson and Alex Van de Sande led the initial development of the ENS. The team consists of 9 people and is governed by a 4-7 multi-signature root with the following members:

- Nick Johnson - ENS
- Sergey Nazarov - Chainlink
- Dan Finlay - Metamask
- Taylor Monahan - MyCrypto
- Aron Fischer - Colony
- Jason Carver - Ethereum Foundation
- Martin Swende - Ethereum Foundation

The ENS is operated by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), which is essentially an organization with no centralized leadership. In November 2021, the project airdropped ENS tokens to users of the service. The token-holders use their assets as “shareholders” – they can make decisions about pricing, protocol changes and how to manage funds of the revenue. Although ENS has no investors, it is supported by the Ethereum Foundation, Binance_X, Chainlink, Ethereum Classic Labs and Protocol Labs.

What can you do with ENS?

The best thing to do with ETH is to replace your long, unreadable Ethereum address with a friendly, memorable ENS address such as henry.eth. This makes it easier to receive crypto assets. When sharing your wallet with someone, you can give out your ENS instead of a really long alphanumeric code. It also becomes easier to enter your ENS address into Ethereum dapps (Decentralized Apps) without needing to copy and paste the long public address.

Notably, your ENS name is also an NFT. So you can trade them on any of the marketplaces like OpenSea.

As already discussed before, ENS is not just .eth. Today, ENS can directly integrate with over 1300 top-level domain names. Meaning, that if you own henry.com, you can link it directly to henry.eth. Your visitors can view social content on the site and send crypto assets to the exact same place.

Aside from this, a decentralized web is being built on the partnership between ENS and the file storage system IPFS. And ENS is the core infrastructure in it. In the early days of the World Wide Web, the people that were savvy enough rushed into the marketplace and gobbled up the most popular domain names. And as Web3 has started taking shape, ENS domains hold a lot of value.

Ready to dive deeper into the world of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and the future of finance? Discover the latest insights and trends at our blogs section on Forget Juice and don't forget to explore our exclusive web3 merchandise collection – because web3 enthusiasts deserve the best. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.