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A Guide to Ethereum Name Service (ENS)


The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is an Ethereum-based decentralized application (dApp) built on smart contracts. It enables users to buy a domain name for their wallet addresses, letting them transfer their funds directly to a name instead of an address (still in development).

The ENS can also be used for Swarm and IPFS content hashes, and other identifying processes, permitting users to effortlessly browse and access files on these networks while supplying metadata-concerning names, such as ABIs for contracts, and Whois-like info for users.

Difference Between ENS and DNS

In a way, ENS has a similar job to DNS, the Internet’s Domain Name Service, but has a very different structural design, due to the abilities and limitations offered by the Ethereum blockchain.

Since the ENS runs on Ethereum smart contracts, it is not affected by the same security problems that affect the DNS system.

Why Would You Want an ENS Name?

ENS gets rid of the necessity of copying or typing lengthy hexadecimal addresses. With ENS, you’ll be able to send funds to the domain name instead of the long address, engage with your smart contract at mycontract.eth, and check out swarm-hosted sites at swarmsite.eth.

Once you acquire an ENS domain, you can point it to any kind of funds you want, as well as create subdomains and assign them as you see fit.

ENS is a completely decentralized system. Creating new domains under the “.eth” top-level domain is possible by an auction process that takes place on the Ethereum blockchain, and anyone can procure a domain for themselves by taking part.

How Name Auctions Work

New names are assigned using an auction process based on a Vickery auction. Auctions are comprised out of three stages:

  1. Someone opens an auction for a name they want to buy and places a bid. In that moment, a three-day timer starts, and other people are also allowed to bid on that particular name. In this stage, the details of the bids are hidden: nobody knows how much you bid, or the name you bid for.
  2. After the three-day period is up, a two-day “reveal” period starts. In this two-day period, everyone who bid must disclose the details of their bid — if not, they lose their entire bid. If your bid is not the highest, your bid is refunded, minus a 0.5% fee, which gets “burned”.
  3. After the “reveal” period, the winner is the one with the highest bid, but he or she only has to pay the sum of the second-highest bidder. This sum is specified in a contract and will stay that way for as long as the winner has control over the name. The winning bidder must send a “finalize” transaction to collect a refund of any extra funds and to acquire the ENS name.

Once the auction is won, the name belongs to the winner with the interval of the primary registrar. However, after a year, the winner has the option of releasing the name and recuperating the whole sum of the initial deposit.

Not all ENS names are immediately available for bidding, as they are released for auction on a steady basis over an eight-week period. This is because the system needs to scale up and bugs need to be found and fixed during this period.

How to Buy a Name

There are now more than a few user-friendly interfaces that let you buy ENS domains:

  • ens.domains, the “official” dApp. It requires a blockchain-enabled browser (Mist, Chrome with the MetaMask extension, or Parity with the browser plugin).
  • My Ether Wallet, an open-source solution that runs entirely in your It requires you to use your wallet’s credentials if you want to use it.
  • ETHTools’ ENS integration, a closed-source solution that guides you through the whole process.
  • Code connoisseurs can help you bid using the command line in a JavaScript console and web3.js

Keep in mind that when you place a bid, you must reveal it in the forty-eight-hour reveal period, or you will lose the entire amount of your bid. Disclosing implies providing access to your account/private key, along with other supplementary information.

It’s very important that you back up your bid details if your solution of choice demands this; or else, you will not be able to reveal your bid when you need to, and you will, consequently, lose it entirely. We hope that now you have all the information you need in order to get your very own ENS name!



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