🍵 Today’s Topic
Today we’ll explore naming systems across Web 2 and Web 3, more specifically ENS and DNS. This is blog post #1 in our new “Web 2 vs Web 3” series where the team at Ripple breaks down the similarities, differences, and impact of similar technologies across Web 2 and Web 3.
Why did we start this series? As we learn more about the Web 3 space, the value of certain elements is difficult to grasp fully right away. We believe that by comparing new Web 3 technology and features to Web 2 features, we can draw better comparisons, and in turn, understand the value proposition of the features people are building in the Web 3 space.
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📟 What’s DNS?
The current domain naming system we use for everyday websites like Facebook or Google is called DNS. Whether you know it or not, everything on the internet has an IP address, from your laptop to the server that hosts information for your favorite website.
For example, the IP address of your laptop could be 188.8.131.52 and the IP address of Netflix’s servers might be 184.108.40.206. Your laptop and Netflix’s servers need to know each other’s IP addresses to communicate and share/send information, which is how you’re able to enjoy thousands of shows and movies from your laptop!
In order to access Netflix’s website, you need to type in their IP address in your web browser’s search bar. Imagine having to Google “220.127.116.11” every time you wanted to watch Netflix! It’s difficult to remember and annoying to type out. In comes DNS. DNS helps translate legible domain names into IP addresses.
What does this mean for internet users? Instead of typing in or remembering 18.104.22.168, you just type in www.netflix.com to watch your favorite show or movie.
DNS had two main benefits that derive from the fact that legible domain names are much, much easier to remember than IP addresses:
- Security: Easier to remember domains means fewer typos that take you to the wrong website
- Speed: Easier to remember domains means typing in website names and reaching the website quicker
DNS is still the system we use today and helped to improve the experience of being an early internet user.
💻 What’s ENS?
Crypto has a very similar problem and solution that’s aiming to improve the experience of being an early crypto user, much like what DNS did for Web 2.
In the world of crypto, everyone has a wallet address. Addresses can belong to individual wallets of users like you and me, or they can belong to a company. Addresses look like this “e32fre43f584bnf2784b3”, which is quite hard to type into your laptop or phone, let alone remember. If you want to send your friend crypto, or if you want to move your crypto off an exchange into your wallet, you have to type in a string of alphanumerical letters like that. That’s a terrible experience because with something that’s so hard to remember you can make mistakes, and in this instance, a mistake could mean losing all of your crypto.
That’s where ENS comes in, the Web3 version of DNS. ENS stands for Ethereum Naming Service, and it helps make crypto addresses on the Ethereum Blockchain a lot easier to remember and type. Instead of remembering that your crypto address is "fn438fb4873bf”, you can instead buy the ENS domain “john.eth” and type that in instead.
ENS has the same benefits as DNS; by having a .eth domain that’s easier to remember you benefit from:
- Security: Lower chance of messing up an address and losing your crypto
- Speed: Type your address in faster which improves the speed of making Web 3 transactions
- Marketing: Companies signal that they are embracing Web 3. Much like how if you embraced the internet early on, by having a .eth address you signal your bullish sentiment on the space.
🌱 Comparing the Two
Both ENS and DNS simplify a complex online address, whether it's an IP address or crypto wallet address, into a simple, legible name
- ENS simplifies your crypto address into a yourname.eth instead of something like this ox014875y31r4189f678954q718rfrw9574813f
- DNS simplifies a website URL into a www.yourwebsite.com instead of something like 198.06.218.21
ENS is decentralized however DNS services are often centralized.
- With ENS you have multiple computers verifying ENS, which means that there's multiple computers verifying that rippleventures.eth is attached to “fn4u9317bu239f4389fn51u93581n9”.
- With DNS, godaddy.com could get hacked more easily due to its centralized servers
🧠 Why This Matters
Comparing DNS and ENS is important as it lets us see how important naming services are when it comes to adopting new technology. No one wants to remember an IP address or an alphanumerical crypto wallet address.
DNS and ENS allow us to rename these factors into more memorable names. Doing so helps improve the security of the space, increase speed, and enhance user experience. With global crypto adoption under 10%, ENS and other user experience improving features will play a crucial role in onboarding the next 1b users into the crypto ecosystem.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any suggestions on edits or more content we should cover, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.