What Are Crypto Domain Names and How do They Work?

A centrally owned domain is managed by a third-party organization, which has to report its ownership to ICANN, an international organization that tracks the property of all domains. Crypto domains change this and democratize access to domain names.

Crypto Domain Names

Traditional domains are not really owned by the organizations that use them, in fact, most domains are leased and need to pay a renewal rate every month. Another downside of traditional domains is that you need to disclose your full identity to purchase one. This is a problem for political activists and freedom fighters in troubled countries and can lead to identity theft if there is a data leak from the domain company.

Apart from protecting your personal identity, crypto domains present other interesting traits. Due to the way they work, once a user purchases a crypto domain, it’s part of their property forever. Also, it presents an opportunity for leaving the middleman out in case the user wants to sell its domain. Crypto domains can be sold by the domain owner directly to other parties, amassing all of the value without introducing intermediaries. In fact, some domains have been sold for big amounts of money, Recently,

How Do They Work?

Technically, domains in the Ethereum network aren’t domains as they are conceived traditionally. Domains are represented as a special kind of token under the ERC-721 standard, or to be short, NFTs. Yes, crypto domains are also Non Fungible Tokens, but not associated with a game asset or an art piece, but with a domain string.

This property allows these domains to be combined with IPFS systems to create truly decentralized and uncensorable web assembly. While the cryptocurrency domain takes care of showing systems the entry point to the information, IPFS organizes how these archives will be saved and retrieved for displaying them when needed. Also, these domains can be linked to specific cryptocurrency addresses, substituting that awful chain of alphanumeric characters for a nice human-readable string.

However, not everything is good when it comes to crypto domains. Due to the innovation of this proposal, most browsers still don’t include support for these blockchain domains. This means that blockchain domains are not as accessible as normal domains yet, but there is work being done in this regard. Opera, one of the big browsers out there, announced support for decentralized domains directly from its platform. Other browsers like chrome would have to use Cloudflare’s DNS service to access decentralized domains, complicating the access of the average user to these.

In any case, the technology around these domains keeps improving, and maybe in the short term, we will see support for them integrated into every major internet browser out there.

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