The most popular Ethereum Name Service (ENS) Domain Categories
The Ethereum Name Service has been around for a while now, but since the ENS airdrop, which was one of the largest airdrops in history, has triggered a new wave of adoption.
Far more people are registering .eth domain names than ever before, and the revenues for the ENS DAO (which is also one of the most active DAOs in the world) have also skyrocketed.
According to a report by CoinGecko, there are five distinct categories of ENS names that have been gaining traction and popularity recently. The report notes that there are five key categories of ENS domains that are extremely popular at the moment.
The 10k Club
The 10k Club refers to ENS domains that are four figure numbers ranging from 0-9999.
The Ethmoji 99 Club
The Ethmoji 99 Club refers to ENS names that have two numbers and two Ethmojis in the name.
The 999 Club
The 999 Club (given the 10k Club, it is confusing that this is not known as the 1k Club) refers to a more exclusive version of the 10k Club, except that rather than being numbers from 0-9999, the ENS names are from 0-999.
The single Ethmoji ENS name is one that has just one “Ethmoji” (Emoji on ETH). Interestingly, the proliferation of popularity for this type of name is more concentrated in geographies that have more pictographic languages.
Three letter ENS are now becoming exceedingly expensive, given that they are a fixed supply asset and truly do have a use case.
What are ENS names?
ENS names are .eth domains that can be resolved to wallet addresses so that a wallet can be identified by a unique name rather than a string of random numbers and letters.
This makes it far easier for people to send and receive crypto, whether they are sending to themselves or to someone else. It also makes it easier to differentiate between various wallets on block explorers like Etherscan.
Some people have made comparisons to the early days of the Internet, when domain names were selling for huge prices. PrivateJet.com, for example, sold for more than the cost of a private jet. Michael Saylor, the Bitcoin evangelist, bought many domain names during the 1990s such as hope.com and strategy.com.
Many of these names are now worth millions of dollars, because the simplicity of the name makes it easy to find in search engines and easy to remember.
However, in the case of .eth domains, the process is somewhat different. A name can be bought, but not indefinitely – one must specify the time period for which they want to own the name for and pay the commensurate amount of ETH to do so. Names can be renewed and transferred, and don’t have to be assigned to any particular wallet, as an ENS domains are ERC-721 NFTs.
Competition from other blockchains
ENS NFTs, as the name suggests, only apply to the Ethereum blockchain. If the Ethereum blockchain were to be displaced as the dominant dApp platform, or to significantly lose market share to competitors like Avalanche, then this would also dilute the value of ENS domain names.
Currently, there are already alternatives to using ENS names on different chains, such as Unstoppable Domains, which operates on Polygon. Stacks even has a .btc domain that can be used.
The future of the Ethereum Name Service
Many people have mused that the current process of logging in to accounts with a username and password is a Web2 phenomenon that ought to be obsoleted within a few years.
Cryptography provides much better security from hacks and nefarious characters, and the “Swiss army knife” of Turing complete chains like Ethereum means that a wallet address could serve as an effective log in for all sorts of dApps.
Culturally, it seems that the NFT community has invigorated the .eth trend, with many NFT influencers on Instagram opting to not only replace their PFPs with NFT avatars, but also to replace their names with .eth domain names.
As more and more people choose to opt for this convenience and enhanced UI, it may become a much larger cultural trend, and some of these domain names will become extremely expensive – more so than they are now. Just last week, Amazon.eth sold for $1m.
Convenience versus privacy
One of the main issues that the rise of things like the Ethereum Name Service could pose is a lack of privacy, and this is something that people are already engaging in. The two main reasons that people are willingly broadcasting their ENS names to the world are that it is convenient, and they can chase clout by doing so.
However, in so doing, they are not only exposing the ownership of a particular ENS name, they are also exposing the entire history of any transactions (both sent and received) that the wallet had ever conducted. Since there is no way to reverse any of these transactions, and many people are unintentionally making targets of themselves.
It appears that the new paradigm of Web3 is such that a lot of people simply don’t care about privacy, or want to showcase what they have. This is an interesting cultural phenomenon, and it will be fascinating to watch it play out, but people should be aware of the risks that they are taking in doxxing wallet ownership to the world.
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