ENS Meets DNS: A Power Surge for Decentralized Digital Identities?

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Tech writer/editor based in Colombia. Always curious. ??

ENS is collaborating with GoDaddy to merge traditional Domain Name System (DNS) profiles with Ethereum-based .eth names, eliminating transaction fees for users. This move aims to bridge the gap between conventional Web2 and decentralized Web3 identities, potentially streamlining and simplifying how users interact with digital identities across the internet. By doing so, ENS and GoDaddy are working towards making Web3 technologies more accessible and user-friendly, encouraging broader adoption among internet users. This partnership could significantly impact the ease of managing online identities, pushing forward the transition towards a more decentralized web.

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Tech writer/editor based in Colombia. Always curious. ??

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Phone numbers tend to max out at ten digits. Bank accounts at roughly 12. But step into the Web3 realm, and your identity is tied to a 40-character wallet address. Naturally, weaving it into everyday transactions isn’t exactly user-friendly and offers room for error—a challenge Ethereum Name Service (ENS) has been addressing since 2017.

Operating as an open-source protocol, ENS converts these complex addresses into simpler identifiers, such as “terezabb.eth.” Having already registered over 2 million of them on-chain, ENS has established itself as the naming gold standard in the decentralized space.

And this week, it’s getting an interesting upgrade.

By partnering with GoDaddy, a popular domain registry, ENS will enable the integration of Domain Name System (DNS) profiles with .eth names, all without any gas fees. This means that GoDaddy users can obtain an ENS equivalent and vice versa, creating a bridge between Web2 and Web3 identities.

Towards “the next billion.”

DNS is a naming database that interprets readable addresses (domain names) into a unique string of numbers known as Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Similarly, ENS simplifies wallet addresses into human-readable names.

While it has always been possible to bring domain names over to ENS, high transaction fees have made it difficult. To address this, ENS has introduced new smart contracts that facilitate domain name resolution within ENS at the DNS top-level domain (TLD), offering a more efficient and cost-effective solution.

According to Nick Johnson, the founder of ENS, connecting the two will streamline the way users interact with web3 domains, blending the familiarity of DNS with the potential of blockchain technology. “ENS, much like DNS, is a public good and a core part of the internet infrastructure,” he notes.

As such, the partnership could represent an important step toward mass Web3 adoption.

While blockchain technologies have been gaining momentum, the quest to onboard “the next billion” of users remains central to the ecosystem’s ambitions. The lack of friendly user interfaces (UI) and well-defined value propositions are often considered the biggest barriers.

The ENS-DNS integration has some potential here: The absence of gas fees lowers the barrier to entry, potentially encouraging GoDaddy's 20 million users to explore Web3 by connecting their DNS domains with ENS. The initiative could play a key role in educating a broader audience about the value and possibilities of blockchain and decentralized technologies, enhancing overall awareness and understanding.

It's uncertain if DNS users will embrace this new opportunity, but the interest from traditional web businesses in exploring Web3 is undeniable. According to a Coinbase report, more than half of the Fortune 100 companies have engaged with Web3 since 2020, with a significant majority either already involved or planning to dive in soon.

Decoding decentralized identities

As we look toward the future of the Internet, decentralized identity (DID) is emerging as a critical element. Merging these new Web3 identities with existing Web2 frameworks seems like a compelling strategy to enhance their adoption and utility.

The infrastructure is more prepared than ever for such advancements, and upcoming Ethereum updates, such as Dencun, could further facilitate this transition.

The partnership between ENS and GoDaddy could mark an important step forward, aiming to give users more control over their online identities. Today, our digital identities are split across different platforms, each with its own identifiers. Bringing these together into a single, streamlined system could simplify user control and data ownership, strengthening the foundations of self-sovereignty and privacy.

The real challenge, though, is getting everyday internet users to embrace these decentralized identities. Their success hinges on providing a digital experience that's not just secure and private but also widely accessible and user-friendly. Achieving this could pave the way for a more decentralized internet, a shift many are eagerly anticipating.

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