A domain name, such as www.google.com, is the online equivalent of a website’s physical address. A web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, requires a domain name to direct users to a specific website, just as a GPS requires a street address or coordinates to find a location.
Because websites are hosted on web servers, users who want to view a specific website must first connect to its server. While an IP address can be used for this, a domain serves as a user-friendly shortcut that allows users to connect to the required services without memorizing a random string of numbers.
What exactly is a traditional domain?
Traditional internet domain names are essentially centralized. Most businesses and establishments use web addresses with extensions like.com,.net,.biz, and hundreds of others. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, manages these domains, which can be bought from a domain registrar such as GoDaddy or Bluehost.
Because centralized domains and websites are hosted in a single location, they can be quickly and easily removed by various authorities if the content is suspected of violating any laws or regulations.
In essence, traditional, centralized domain owners do not truly own them.
Domains and how they work
When you type a domain name into your web browser, it sends a request to the domain name system, also known as DNS, which is a nationwide network of servers.
The servers then look up the domain name’s servers and forward the request to them. The hosting company manages these name servers and forwards requests to the appropriate computer. This computer, known as a web server, is outfitted with specialized software that retrieves the requested web page and content. This data is then sent in a viewable format to your browser.
What exactly is a blockchain domain?
Decentralized domains — extensions such as .crypto or .zil — are stored in multiple locations and are nearly impossible to take down or censor because they use blockchains instead of centralized services. The main benefit of blockchain domains is that they advance the concept of a decentralized web by eradicating the need to rely on a central authority such as ICANN.
Unstoppable Domain is a service based on this concept that can currently be used for simple tasks such as paying someone in cryptocurrency without requiring their address or phone number.
“However, the more important use case is to build completely user-owned websites,” said Bradley Kam, the company’s founder and head of business development.
Traditional domain name system flaws
The current domain name system is flawed and has numerous flaws, which are listed below:
Payments are not indigenous
Payments were supposed to be a critical component of the Internet’s design, but at the time, there were no cryptographically secure methods of sending money. Only recently have tools like Stripe made accepting digital payments simple for businesses in the United States and Western Europe. However, this infrastructure is difficult to integrate with other global solutions.
Users do not own
The current domain system is based on a single registry that can be updated by a group of approved parties. Such parties include registrars such as GoDaddy and Google Domains. When you buy a domain name, you do so from a registrar, who then serves as the Domain’s custodian. Registrars have the authority to take your Domain away because they are custodians.
Centralized entities have complete authority
ICANN has complete control over the issuance of new extension permissions and assesses a recurring renewal fee per Domain. This is not the case with blockchain domains, which give owners complete control and enable censorship-resistant websites.
Blockchain and NFTs are becoming increasingly popular. Decentralized, blockchain-based domains may gain traction and eventually compete with traditional domains at the current rate of growth.
Benefits of Blockchain Domains
Traditional domains help users navigate the Internet, but they are not without flaws. As a result, blockchain domains strive to improve this infrastructure. Blockchain domains have numerous advantages, including the fact that they are decentralized, resistant to censorship, give users more ownership, and provide a path for more efficient payments.
The first advantage of blockchain domains is decentralization, which provides users with complete power and access.
Resistance to censorship
The second advantage of blockchain domains is that they are resistant to censorship. Domains in any part of the world can be easily censored by central authorities and governments, for whatever reason. With blockchain domains, this is not possible.
This means that journalists and content creators can publish content without fear of the government flagging their websites. Furthermore, many platforms that have been banned in various countries can be easily resurrected by using new domains based on blockchain technology. In the highly centralized age of the Internet, there are numerous applications for censorship-resistant domains.
The third benefit of blockchain domains is improved ownership. The current system delegated unchecked authority to a few select authorities to update the domain registry. Even if a user purchases a domain, they do not own it.
There are no domain fees
Furthermore, because blockchain domains have no fees, this eliminates the hassle of having to pay annual domain fees. They also have a one-time purchase option, and once you pay for a domain, you own it in perpetuity. This means that once your Domain is registered to your digital identity (in this case, a crypto wallet address), no one can stop you from using it.
Smoother cryptocurrency transactions
Finally, blockchain domains facilitate faster cryptocurrency transactions. For example, imagine typing your friend’s name and instantly transferring 15 ETH. In this case, you are effectively attaching your crypto address to a blockchain domain. Your peers can then send you money without having to waste time copying and pasting long, complex wallet addresses. To make instant payments on Web3.0, you only need a blockchain domain.
What Is the Future of Blockchain Domains?
Blockchain domains are a game changer. Although blockchain domains are still in their early stages, they have the potential to advance the concept of true decentralization and democratization by restoring the Internet to its original vision.