- Unstoppable Domains is a domain registrar based in San Francisco, CA which offers TLD domains for the decentralized web.
- It is the largest NFT domain registrar by total registrations (2.4 million domain registrations since 2018).
- It enables users to access various decentralized apps via a single digital identity, and gives users lifelong domain ownership of any Web 3 websites they create, instead of having them pay for yearly renewals.
One of the biggest gatekeepers on the internet as we know it today is the domain registrar. Domain registrars, such as GoDaddy and Namecheap, are companies that manage the reservation of domain names for websites–like fluffballs.com–as well as the assignment of the IP addresses for these domain names, such as 220.127.116.11.
In other words, these companies decide whether you have the right to own a certain domain name. They are accredited by the non-profit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization charged with overseeing the name and number systems of the Internet.
In the world of Web 3.0, however, a different set of domain registrars are cornering the market, the biggest of which is Unstoppable Domains.
This guide will explain what Unstoppable Domains does, and provide a comparison with one of its close competitors, Ethereum Name Service (ENS).
What Is Unstoppable Domains?
Unstoppable Domains is a Web 3.0 domain registrar that provides an identity for Web3 using the ERC-721 standard on Ethereum (ETH). The company is based in San Francisco and is the largest registrant by total number of domains registered.
The idea behind Unstoppable Domains is to provide a user-friendly bridge between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 in three ways:
- For crypto wallets: Instead of having a long wallet address such as “X0912398012490”, a user can change their address to something neater such as “Jack.bitcoin”, “Lilly.crypto”, making it easier to send and receive payments through MetaMask and other wallets.
- As a Web3 username: This enables users to access various decentralized apps (DApps) and Metaverse games such as Axie Infinity as well as display their NFT avatars using just one digital identity, in contrast to current Web2 experience where users have to create separate accounts for different platforms.
- As a website URL: Users can build Web3 websites with a domain that they fully own and control–for life. There are no renewal fees, gas fees or hosting fees, a vast improvement over current domain hosting plans where users have to pay recurring fees for any websites they own–for life.
Over 2.4 million domains have been registered on Unstoppable Domains alone, up from 800,000 last year, and it’s easy to see why–these names make for a better overall user experience. The goal is to streamline the use of unique identities and domains, giving users seamless access to various blockchain-based applications and protocols.
How Does Unstoppable Domains Work?
Unlike regular domain names such as Google.com, Facebook.com and Wikipedia.org which are registered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), domains registered with Unstoppable Domains are managed by Crypto Name Service (CNS.)
CNS comprises smart contracts that reside on the Ethereum blockchain, governing how domains are created and used. As such, each domain registered by Unstoppable Domains is an ERC-721 non-fungible token.
Upon registration, the domains are uploaded to the InterPlanetary Filing System (IPFS), a P2P file-sharing program without a central server. Once a user uploads a website to IPFS, it will resolve only on Web3 browsers such as Brave or Opera (“resolving a domain name” means converting a domain name into an IP Address.)
The NFT domain industry is currently in its infancy and support across all browsers is expected to increase in the future. Once support for more browsers is implemented, NFT domains will likely continue growing in popularity.
We will also likely see the emergence of hosting services specifically catered to hosting decentralized websites and providing servers for IPFS. NFTs domains are currently mostly used for social media, trading/flipping, and Metaverse games.
Unstoppable Domains supports the following TLDs (top-level domains):
Registration fees range from $5 up to $100. Registering a domain is done using the built-in search functionality on the Unstoppable Domains platform. Unstoppable Domains has the advantage of permanent ownership without renewal fees. Web 2.0 domains have to be renewed on an annual basis, and this is also the case with Ethereum Name Services (ENS) domains; ENS is a direct competitor of Unstoppable Domains. Once a user registers an Unstoppable Domain, however, it belongs to them forever.
Registration costs on Unstoppable Domains vary based on the TLD.
Here’s how to claim a domain on Unstoppable Domains: If a domain is available, we can immediately register it using funds in our crypto wallet such as MetaMask and the domain will automatically be transferred to our wallet.
The domains can communicate with external addresses on the blockchain and smart contracts. For example, a smart contract by Aave (AAVE) can withdraw funds from a wallet that resolves to an Unstoppable Domains address. This opens up a world of possibility for developers in the Metaverse.
How To Sell & Trade Unstoppable Domains?
NFT domains can be bought and sold on marketplaces such as OpenSea, X2Y2, LooksRare, and others. OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, currently has a dedicated section for Unstoppable Domain name sales and processes millions in sales volume daily.
Unstoppable Domains listed for sale on the OpenSea NFT marketplace.
As with other NFT markets, domain names accumulate value based on their rarity and many have sold for thousands of dollars. For example, if we own a rare Unstoppable domain name such as “Bitcoin.crypto”, we can expect it to be more valuable than a name like “BitcoinsAreGood009.crypto”.
Unstoppable Domains has a premium section where users list the most commercially valuable domains on the network.
Premium domains listed for sale on the built-in marketplace.
Short domain names such as “Earn.crypto” or “Coin.nft” are currently listed for $100,000. It is not uncommon for valuable and unique domains to fetch 6-figure sales.
ENS vs Unstoppable Domains: How Do They Compare?
Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is a giant among NFT domain name registrars and a direct competitor of Unstoppable Domains.
While both can be traded on OpenSea and other marketplaces, both differ in terms of registration costs and renewal fees. Unstoppable Domains offers better long-term savings because there are no renewal costs associated with domains – users pay once and own the domain forever.
ENS, on the other hand, has been criticized by some who say that their renewal costs are a cash-grab because ownership records on the blockchain are permanent and since ENS does not owe fees to ICANN, the implication is that they pocket the fees for themselves.
Another key difference between Unstoppable Domains vs ENS is that ENS only registers .eth domain names while Unstoppable Domains offers a dozen TLDs which users can choose from.
ENS domains enjoy higher social media reach, with most influencers identifying with the .eth TLD on Twitter and other platforms, such as this Twitter profile belonging to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin:
Both domain name services resolve natively in browsers such as Brave and Opera, and lack support on Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers. They use nearly identical smart contract technology and users can build websites on IPFS for both.
In terms of native tokens, ENS has a governance coin; Unstoppable Domains does not. The ENS coin airdrop was one of the largest in history and started a bull-run for the platform that propelled it to multi-billion market cap.
The Unstoppable Domain crypto was not announced yet and there is no indication that there could be an Unstoppable Domains airdrop, but if they follow in ENS’ footsteps this may happen in the future.
Once released, the Unstoppable Domains coin will likely be a governance coin and allow domain holders to vote on proposals for the platform.
Unstoppable Domains offers dozens of TLD options for blockchain with advantages such as low registration costs and no annual renewals.
Domain names registered on the Unstoppable Domains can be traded on NFT marketplaces, and early adopters can purchase rare domains at a low cost.
The service is currently the largest NFT registrar with 2.4 million domains registered, and is tightly competing with ENS for market share.
The domains do not resolve on major browsers, similar to ENS, but this will likely change in the future and allow web developers to build fully-decentralized websites.