The internet is evolving. Web 3 is the next internet generation that aims to create a more open, decentralized, and user-controlled online experience. One of the critical components of Web 3 is the idea of decentralized domain name systems and domains.
But what exactly are Web 3 domains, and how do they differ from traditional domains? This article will provide an in-depth look at what Web 3 domains are, how they work, their key benefits, and more.
What is a Web 3 Domain?
A Web 3 domain is a website address part of a decentralized domain name system (DNS) on the blockchain rather than the traditional DNS controlled by ICANN.
Some key points about Web 3 domains:
- They use the decentralized Domain Name System (DNS) rather than the traditional DNS. This allows them to be community-governed rather than controlled by a central authority.
- They end with extensions like .crypto, .dao, .nft, .wallet, and .coin instead of .com or .org.
- They are minted as NFTs on the blockchain, which allows actual digital ownership of the domain.
- They point to decentralized websites hosted on IPFS, Arweave, Skynet, or other decentralized storage systems rather than traditional web hosting services.
In summary, a Web 3 domain gives users more control and ownership over their online presence in a decentralized manner outside the traditional DNS system.
How Web 3 Domains Work
Web 3 domains function quite differently from traditional domains. Here’s an overview of how they work:
- Minting: Web 3 domains must first be minted or registered as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on a blockchain platform like Ethereum. This allows actual digital ownership of the domain.
- Naming: Web 3 domains use naming conventions like .crypto or .dao instead of .com or .net. This identifies them as part of the decentralized web.
- Resolving: Instead of DNS servers, Web 3 domains use resolvers to point the domain to the location of the website files hosted on decentralized storage networks.
- Hosting: Web 3 sites are hosted on decentralized networks like IPFS, Filecoin, Skynet, or Arweave rather than traditional web hosts. This makes censoring or taking down sites much more difficult.
- Renewals: Domain renewals are managed through smart contracts in an automated, decentralized manner rather than relying on a central registrar.
In summary, minting, naming conventions, resolvers, decentralized hosting, and built-in renewals via intelligent contracts make Web 3 domains distinct from traditional domains.
Key Benefits of Web 3 Domains
There are several advantages that Web 3 domains provide over traditional domains:
- Censorship Resistance – Sites on decentralized networks are virtually impossible to censor or take down.
- Ownership – Web 3 domains are NFTs that provide actual ownership rather than renting from a registrar.
- Control – You have more direct control over your domain settings and don’t rely on centralized authorities.
- Security – The decentralized nature makes Web 3 domains more secure and resistant to attacks.
- Privacy – Blockchain domains provide increased privacy since registrant info isn’t public like with traditional domains.
- Interoperability – seamlessly interact with other blockchain apps and DeFi platforms.
- Investment Potential – Popular Web 3 domains, like other NFTs and crypto assets, can gain significant value over time.
In essence, align better with the decentralized ethos of blockchain technology and provide censorship resistance, increased ownership and control, enhanced security and privacy, better interoperability with other decentralized apps, and investment potential.
Popular Web 3 Domain Extensions
There are a variety of new domain extensions that are native to the Web 3 ecosystem. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- .crypto – The most common Web 3 extension for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related sites.
- .dao – Used for decentralized autonomous organizations.
- .nft – For sites related to non-fungible tokens and NFT projects.
- .wallet – For web 3 compatible cryptocurrency wallets.
- .coin – For cryptocurrency brands, platforms, and services.
- .bitcoin – Specifically for bitcoin-related websites.
- .blockchain – For sites related to blockchain technology.
- .metaverse – For metaverse and NFT gaming-related sites.
- .vr – For virtual reality experiences.
- .x, .xb – Used for metaverse spaces.
There are also specialized geo-extensions like .zil for Zilliqa domains and .crypto.eth for Ethereum name service domains. These new extensions help identify sites in the emerging Web 3 ecosystem.
Where to Register Web 3 Domains
Here are some popular platforms for minting and registering :
- Ethereum Name Service (ENS) – The most widely used DNS system for registering .eth domains as NFTs on Ethereum.
- Unstoppable Domains – Offers .crypto domains minted as NFTs across different blockchains.
- Handshake – Decentralized domain system and marketplace for .handshake domains.
- OpenSea – Major NFT and crypto collectibles marketplace where various are bought and sold.
- Zilliqa – Platform for registering .zil domains as NFTs on Zilliqa blockchain.
- Holo – Provider of .holo domains for the Holochain ecosystem.
- Decentralized Websites – Provider of .hns domains for the Handshake blockchain.
So, domains can be minted across various blockchain networks and marketplaces. ENS, Unstoppable Domains, and Handshake are currently the most prominent players in the decentralized domain space.
How to Point Web 3 Domains to Websites
Once you’ve minted a Web 3 domain, you need to point it to your decentralized website files to connect the domain with the hosted content. Here’s how it works:
- Upload your website files to decentralized storage networks like IPFS, Filecoin, Arweave, or Skynet. This allows websites to be hosted in a censorship-resistant manner.
- Ensure the files are hosted permanently immutable and you have the content hash. The hash is a unique identifier for accessing the files.
- In your domain admin dashboard, fill in the content hash when configuring your domain. This points the domain to your uploaded files.
- Some platforms like Unstoppable Domains automatically pin files when you upload them. You connect your domain to your account, which has the hashes.
- For Ethereum domains, edit the content record in ENS by filling in the content hash. This updates where the domain resolves to.
- Set the domain’s resolver to a Web 3 compatible resolver like the Ethereum multicodec resolver. This enables proper decentralized resolution.
So the key is uploading files to decentralized storage, obtaining the immutable content hash, and inputting it in your domain’s configuration to point your domain to the hosted website seamlessly.
In summary, Web 3 domains provide an alternative decentralized website naming system outside the control of ICANN and traditional DNS. They offer enhanced ownership, security, and censorship resistance for websites by leveraging blockchain technology, decentralized storage, and platforms like ENS and Unstoppable Domains. As the ecosystem matures, these blockchain-powered will become the new standard for websites across the next generation of the internet.