Blockchain technology has a wide range of use cases beyond just finance. One of the oldest, simplest, and most powerful uses is programmable naming.
Naming systems are used for translating non-human-friendly computer generated identifiers like IP addresses (001:0db8:0000:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334) to human-readable names (example.com). The Domain Name System (DNS) is what currently does this for the Internet.
The first major blockchain after Bitcoin was Namecoin, a naming system with .BIT names launched in 2011. The insight was that if a blockchain could be used to trustlessly store a ledger for currency, it could also trustlessly store a database mapping names to data.
Namecoin was interesting conceptually, but had various technical issues that prevented widespread adoption. The launch of Ethereum in 2015 was a leap forward in this regard, as it allowed for more complex decentralized applications (or dapps) than could be supported on the Bitcoin blockchain.
The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) was first proposed in 2016 by Nick Johnson and launched on Star Wars day (May 4th) in 2017. It started only with .ETH names, and they could only point at Ethereum addresses. But the benefits of its being native to the Ethereum ecosystem led to an explosion in registrations and interest.
Since then, ENS has grown a great deal in functionality. ENS names can now point at:
- any cryptocurrency address
- at hashes for distributed file sharing networks like IPFS, Sia, and Swarm for decentralized websites; Tor .onion addresses
- at profile information (see brantly.eth's public info)
- and ultimately any arbitrary data with custom text records
And .ETH names are no longer your only option for names: you can now import traditional DNS names for use on ENS, the ones you might register at a normal registrar. See the records for brantly.xyz as an example of what's possible when we merge DNS with ENS!
ENS has become the most widely integrated blockchain naming standard by a significant margin, with more than 200 integrations, including 45 wallets and browsers like Opera and Brave.
You can learn more about ENS and what it can do on its website.
✅ Task: Earn $250 in ETH
Register a name on ENS and show others how you did it on Twitter
There are two parts of this task to complete:
- The first part is registering a .ETH name on ENS and setting up certain records.
- The second part is posting a thread on Twitter explaining how you did it, tagging
Note that you'll probably want to compose your Twitter thread while you're doing the name registration, or at least take screenshots and notes!
1) Register a .ETH name on ENS, point it at ETH and BTC addresses, and set up your reverse record
To complete this on Ethereum mainnet, you will need some ETH, which you can acquire from a cryptocurrency exchange. Given Ethereum network gas fees, expect the whole process to cost you around $150 USD (can fluctuate based on gas prices). You could also do most of this for learning/demonstration purposes on the Ethereum Ropsten testnet, for which you can get testnet ETH here at no cost.
You'll also need a self-custody Ethereum wallet. You can use most Ethereum or multi-coin wallets, but I recommend using the MetaMask browser extension in a desktop browser.
Once you have a self-custody wallet and some ETH, visit app.ens.domains and click "Connect" to connect your wallet. Search for an available .ETH name (e.g. yourname.eth) and follow the steps to register it.
After registration is complete, it's time to set up your records! To complete this task, you need to do two things.
1) First, click "Set Reverse record", which will take you to the My Accounts page, then click "Reverse record: not set." Select your ENS name then click "Save," and submit the transaction to save it on the blockchain.
2) Second, click your name in the list below (or search for it), which will take you to the name's records page. You should see that it already points to your Ethereum address. Click "Add/Edit Records" and paste in a BTC address in the proper field (you can get a BTC address from a multi-coin wallet or generate one here). Feel free to add in other records if you'd like (you can confirm that all in one transaction to save on gas costs). Once you have the records set the way you'd like, scroll to the bottom and click "Confirm," and submit the transaction to save it on the blockchain.
And you're done! Your .ETH name can be used to receive payments of BTC, ETH, or any Ethereum-based asset.
2) Tweet out a thread on Twitter explaining how you did it
This is where your creativity comes in. Feel free to use screenshots and links. Think about what would have been useful to you before you had done it. Be sure to tag ENS on Twitter at @ensdomains and @oneseventwonine so we can see it.
Then submit the form below. The best 20 Twitter threads on ENS registration will each win $250 in ETH. We'll retweet the best threads!
🏆 Winners: Best Twitter Threads
Twenty submissions received $250 in ETH for their Twitter thread tutorials. Check them out below and be sure to register your own .ETH name through ENS!