📰NewsThe Ethereum Name Service (ENS) has announced they are rolling out a major upgrade to their smart contract based registrar system next week. The new system will greatly simplify the process of purchasing and renewing a human readable name to point at your full ethereum address. Additionally, the names themselves will now be represented by a non-fungible token compatible with the widely used ERC-721 standard. This means it will be simple to buy, sell, and transfer ".eth" names using many different wallets and exchanges in the ecosystem. Link.
If you're not already familiar with the basics of the ENS scheme, it's worth taking a few minutes poking around their documentation. Essentially, ENS is a decentralized, smart contract based system that allows users to register human readable names and point them at wallet addresses. Instead of requesting funds be sent to an incomprehensible, unrecognizable string of digits and characters, users can instead request funds to a name like "janedoeswallet.eth". ENS is a decentralized equivalent of the Domain Name System (DNS), which resolves domain names to IP addresses on the web. Unlike DNS, the Ethereum Name Service does not rely on trusted registrars to provide this service for ".eth" names. It's all in the smart contracts. Link.
This upgrade comes just two months after the last major enhancement rolled out to ENS: an integration with most top level domains in the traditional DNS system. The integration relies on the DNS security extensions, which almost 90% of top level domains now support. This allows owners of most normal websites, like "ethereum.org", for example, to claim that same domain on ENS by submitting a proof that shows they control it in the DNS world. Link.
As I've said before, ENS is one of my favorite projects in the ecosystem right now.
For one, it demonstrates what's possible on a robust smart contract platform like Ethereum. Being able to claim and utilize human readable names, without a trusted intermediary, is legitimately useful. It's also simply not possible on most other decentralized public blockchains that exist today.
Secondly, the project is building at the right level given the current state of the ecosystem. While I wish decentralized cryptonetworks were ready to onboard mainstream users, the truth is, we're not there yet. There's still a ton of infrastructure left to build. That's exactly what ENS is doing.
Finally, I love following the ENS project because the team is top notch and executing at a high level. There's no huge hype around ENS, no flashy fundraising or needless token sales. Yet over the course of years, they've continuously improved their service and nonchalantly made it a standard integrated throughout the ecosystem. These latest upgrades demonstrate that.
The ability to easily claim a human readable name and use it instead of a clunky string of characters may not seem like a big deal, but it's a huge step in improving the UX of cryptocurrencies. One day we'll take it for granted, just like we do today with web URLs. Getting us to that point, though, is no simple task. The ENS team deserves credit for making it look easy.