There always seems to be a lot of disputes and disagreements when it comes to which updates need to happen to which crypto networks and why. But if there is one update needed for the entire crypto space that I think we can all agree on, it is that we all need an easier way to interact with crypto addresses and be confident of where we are sending crypto transactions, not to mention an easier way to share our public receiving addresses to others wanting to send us crypto.
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Unstoppable Domains Addresses The Problem
As you likely already know, crypto transactions are irreversible. So, when you send crypto to that 42-character, ridiculously long ERC-20 address and heaven forbid you mess up one character, you could be sending your precious crypto into oblivion never to be seen again. We all know the painstaking moments between when you send crypto, to when it arrives at the destination, praying to the crypto gods that the address was correct. The reverse is also true, say someone wants to send you some crypto and they mess up even a single digit, good luck asking them to resend more after they just lost their funds. This is hugely troublesome, especially if you are trying to run a business and are relying on crypto payments, with your customers all running the risk of entering your crypto receiving address incorrectly.
I know what you are probably thinking, “dude, just copy and paste the address… not that hard.” You are right, but that opens up another issue and that is the rise of clipboard hacking software. Thousands of people have lost funds as they copy a crypto address that they want to send funds to, not knowing they have malicious malware hidden on their device. Then when they go to paste the crypto address they copied, the address gets automatically changed to the receiving address of a devious and dastardly hacker’s wallet. Those Scoundrels! That is why it is important to ALWAYS double-check the address even when copying and pasting to make sure it was pasted correctly.
Also, Mr. Smarty-Pants with your “just copy and paste it,” solution, that isn’t very convenient or feasible during day-to-day life when we are away from a computer or phone. Imagine you are out with some mates for milkshakes, and someone wants to send you some crypto to pay for the next round. Unless you’ve memorized your 42-digit address (and want to take ten minutes to recite it to them), you now have to rummage around looking for it on your device and send it over to their device. Or imagine a future where crypto becomes more mainstream and you are running a lemonade stand at the side of the road and accept crypto payments. What are you going to say? “Please send funds to this ridiculously long crypto address” or just say, “Hey, thanks, send the money to bob.wallet” (Please don’t actually send funds to Bob.)
The solution? Well, that’s easy, Crypto Domains of course!
What are Crypto Domains?
Crypto, aka Blockchain domains, are a really fascinating development in the decentralized world. They have the ability to change the way we think about traditional “.com” domains and how they relate to online real estate. Crypto domains add a level of transparency, functionality and security to traditional domain names, a true evolution in domain name technology.
The leader in the blockchain domain space is Unstoppable Domains who build domain names using blockchain technology. This means that each domain is a unique, non-fungible token (NFT) that gets stored inside of a user’s cryptocurrency wallet instead of with a traditional centralized website registrar such as GoDaddy.
Unstoppable Domains is a San Francisco-based company formed in 2018 and was founded by Mathew Gould who is the current CEO. Matthew saw the need for interactions with crypto addresses needing to be easier while also providing a way to support a similar function to how DNS systems created a solution so that internet users did not have to learn and memorize IP addresses for traditional websites. Unstoppable Domains have since been making massive advancements in the world of crypto domains. Blockchain domains are essentially suites of smart contracts coded on the blockchain and they can work as a naming registry for crypto wallet addresses, linking crypto addresses to a name, or they can point users to content hosted on a blockchain network, acting similar to a website.
This gives crypto domains the unique ability to be multi-functional and censorship-resistant as websites hosted on a decentralized network cannot be shut down or censored which is a big step towards moving away from tyrannical tech giants such as Google and Amazon being able to shut down any websites or accounts hosting content that they don’t agree with or shutting down websites that directly compete with them. This will also effectively prevent the stifling of innovation and free speech as we have seen happen this past year with the banning of social media companies like Parler and seeing countless YouTube channels and Twitter accounts being banned for one reason or another.
Another way they have more utility is that it is possible to build programs on top of the domain and run them like apps and build software that can interact and integrate with them, making them far more versatile than traditional website domain names.
Crypto domains have been receiving quite a bit of hype lately and for good reason. If you recall back in the early dotcom days, people would purchase website names and sell them to companies for absolute fortunes such as the fella who first purchased the website techcrunch.com which was later purchased by AOL for a whopping $30 million dollars. We are seeing the next stage in that revolution now with big companies like Budweiser, the world’s largest beer company buying the crypto domain beer.eth for around 100k. A lot of investors and speculators are attempting to front-run this trend and buy .crypto and .eth domain names hoping to sell them off for big money as more companies start realizing the utility behind blockchain domains. Check out Guy’s video on flipping domain names if you want to get involved in domain flipping.
How Does Unstoppable Domains Work?
As mentioned, blockchain domains aren’t stored on a server like traditional domains, they are held in the public registry on publicly accessible blockchains. Unstoppable Domains Co-Founder Brad Kam sums it up by describing crypto domains as, “Your username for Crypto.” Users can choose from any available crypto domain which can essentially be any name or word and followed by: .crypto, .zil, .coin, .wallet, .bitcoin, .x, .888, .nft, .dao and .blockchain. I myself have acquired tayler88.crypto and that is fantastic as I can tell people to send any of the top ten crypto tokens there plus others that I have added regardless of the network and the funds are deposited easily and conveniently into my crypto wallet.
Unstoppable Domains currently supports over 240 different tokens with thousands of ERC20 and BSC tokens also being supported. The fact that Unstoppable Domains is chain agnostic and can support tokens on different networks is a huge game-changer. A full list of supported assets can be found here. Crypto domains will also become more prevalent as blockchain gaming rises in adoption as all those NFTs you can earn, buy and create can be identified in-game and inside of metaverses with your crypto domain acting like your gamer tag. I would way rather have my character running around and shooting things with a cool crypto gamer tag that my teammates could call me by instead of running around with a name that is just a 42-character long string of gibberish.
Unstoppable Domains Makes it Easy
The team at Unstoppable Domains has made the entire process really easy. I won’t go into the step-by-step guide on how to set it up as Guy has already done that for you in a video here, but what I will say is that I have gone through the process myself and found it very straight forward and I was able to get it all setup and running in less than an hour.
All you need to do is search for the domain name you want and check to see if it is available. The price of the domains range between $10 to well over $1000 dollars depending on how common the wording is and its popularity. I was able to scoop mine up for around $15 dollars using the Coin Bureau discount link, a great deal for a lifetime blockchain domain name!
Oh Ethereum, will you ever give us a break with those gas fees? Once you purchase your domain name you will need to pay the network fee to mint the domain name. While Eth gas fees may get you down, the team over at Unstoppable Domains have partnered with Polygon to support fee-free minting!
That’s right, users can choose to mint their blockchain domain on either the Ethereum network or for free on the Polygon network which is a nice break for the wallet. Other than the cost to purchase the domain name and the gas cost to mint it should you choose Ethereum, there are no monthly subscription, renewal, or any other fees you will need to pay, it’s yours for life!
Unstoppable Domains accepts payments with credit card, PayPal, and of course, crypto, which is awesome. Users will need to connect a wallet either by using Metamask, MyEtherWallet, Coinbase Wallet or Wallet Connect which works with dozens of wallets to connect their wallet to Unstoppable Domains and approve the minting transaction and cover any network fees. For users who choose to mint on Polygon and have not already set their Metamask up to support the Polygon network, that can be a bit tricky the first time so I have included a step-by-step guide on how to add the Polygon network to Metamask for you here.
Add Your Coins and Tokens
This is where things get really cool. Users will need to enter which of their crypto addresses they want associated with their domain name. I really like the versatility as I can use the same domain name to have Bitcoin deposited into my Exodus wallet, and Ethereum deposited to my Trezor or an exchange address, (just be sure to find out if your exchange addresses change, and be mindful of memos or ID tags required if using an exchange address)
As we are still in the very early days of crypto domains, not every app and exchange supports sending or receiving to crypto domains yet, but they will! The list of supported companies and applications is quickly growing and already include major exchanges such as OKEx, Okcoin, wallets such as Trust Wallet, Huobi Wallet, Bitcoin.com Wallet, and NFT marketplaces like OpenSea. Unstoppable Domains have also been integrated into the ever-popular Brave Browser. More on the Brave browser integration can be found here, a full list of supported applications can be found here.
Build and Connect Websites
The same domain that users use to receive crypto also enables them to build, connect and integrate websites and apps on top of the domain. All this sounds quite technical but the team at Unstoppable Domains have actually provided some great tools and templates to get started that anyone can use. Unstoppable Domains currently offer free templates for the following categories:
- Personal use
- For Sale
- Coming Soon
When building a website, Unstoppable Domains will assist in the storage of it with the decentralized storage network InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) with one click. Advanced users can build the site from scratch and manually link the IPFS has through the Unstoppable Domains user interface.
Decentralized websites built on the blockchain are viewable natively in the Brave and Opera web browsers, or through Chrome, Firefox and Edge for users who install the Unstoppable Domains browser extension.
Is it Safe?
It is about as safe as it can be! Once you have minted your domain name, the name resides within your non-custodial wallet. Nobody can ever take it from you and you have full 100% ownership of it for life unless you decide to sell it or give it away…Or in the unfortunate event that you lose access to the wallet where it is stored. Keep those recovery phrases safe people!
Crypto domains are as secure as the blockchain network itself and are made even safer due to nobody being able to censor or block the domain site.
In the words of Guy, “Long-string crypto addresses are so last year,” and I couldn’t agree more. Not only are blockchain domains easier to remember, but feature so much versatility and utility as they can be used for both linking crypto addresses to names and hosting web content for the inevitable evolution to Web 3.0. Blockchain domain names are becoming a hot commodity as their use cases are being realized more and more with companies and individuals both jumping on board and purchasing them at accelerated rates.
If crypto reaches mainstream adoption, and Web 3.0 is built on blockchain, it is likely that everyone will someday have a blockchain domain name associated with them, much like how nearly everybody has a phone number or an email address associated with them today. These blockchain domains are likely to become our very identities in metaverses and online and may become the main way in which businesses collect payments. Instead of entering card information into a website like Amazon.com for your items, it is possible that we all may just someday send digital currency payments to Amazon.crypto. My only advice would be to try and get yours soon before the masses or else you are going to have the same conundrum as we saw with email addresses where you want bob.wallet, but it’s taken so now you need a much less cool bob3244543.wallet. Or, if you do miss out on that dream domain, perhaps Bob may be willing to part with the name bob.wallet and sell it….for a price.