14 June 2022
2 min read
Ethereum Name Service (ENS)

At the dawn of the internet, one of the major issues raised was matching up domain names and internet protocol addresses for user-friendliness. Because you would need to type out the full IP address (a string of numbers and dots) of the website you wanted to visit, you would need to use IP address instead of google.com directly. Similarly, despite all the present advancements in the crypto sector, the traditional method of using wallet addresses for crypto-transfers is widely used instead of something human-friendly like a crypto-wallet owner’s name. That’s the point where the crypto path lines with Ethereum Name Service (ENS)!

The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is a distributed, open, and extensible naming system that interacts with the Ethereum blockchain. ENS aligns human-readable names such as “aarna.eth” to a machine-readable name such as a wallet address like ‘2v552dl33pi9kw’, other cryptocurrency addresses, content hashes, and metadata. ENS also supports “reverse resolution,” which works to associate metadata like canonical names or interface descriptions with Ethereum addresses. ENS runs on a system of dot-separated hierarchical names called domains, with the owner of a domain having full control over subdomains. On one hand, users can purchase and manage their domains while using ENS, and simultaneously it helps to process secure and decentralized transactions without having to deal with long and complex addresses. On the other hand, it also reduces the probability of any input errors when typing out the recipient’s address to send funds.

Under the domains of ENS, the creator and owner of the domain have control over their top-level domain and subsequent subdomains. The hierarchical nature of ENS allows the owner to configure subdomains for themselves or others, like if X owns ‘x.eth’, he can create ‘pay.x.eth’ to configure it as he wishes.

ENS Architecture: The architecture of ENS is a recipe based on two fundamental ingredients:

The Registry

All the domain names recorded inside the ENS have an owner who owns a named domain and can transfer that domain to a new owner, called a registrant, as he must register that domain on the ENS. The ENS registry, a functionality of ENS, is a single smart contract that maintains a list of all domains and subdomains. It also includes the name of the owner and resolver of the domain. They can be changed at any point or level within the ENS and can be referred to by the owner of the registry. The owner of the domain can also change the ownership of the subdomains and transfer it to another address. So the ENS registry is purposely forthright and exists only to map a name to the resolver responsible for it.

The Resolvers

The actual process of translating names into addresses is handled by a resolver. ENS employs any contract executing relevant standards to act as a resolver. General-purpose resolver implementations are provided to users having direct and uncomplicated requirements, such as serving an infrequently changed address for a name. Each record type, like cryptocurrency address, IPFS content hash, etc., defines a method that a resolver must implement to supply that kind of record. A new record type may be introduced without changing the ENS registry or existing resolvers.

The Importance of ENS

ENS is native to the Ethereum blockchain and its ecosystem because it was developed for Ethereum smart contracts. ENS is not prone to security hacks as its records are indestructible and secure. Moreover, ENS supplies more transparency and easier interaction with names and addresses that allows users to create an ENS domain through an auction in which the highest bidder wins the domain name, allowing users to create subdomains and lease them. ENS has emerged as a productive solution for simplifying the crypto and DeFi sectors, especially for beginners who can rely on the ENS Ethereum domain.

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