ETHSimple is the latest service that intends to make the process of registering a .eth domain name through ENS easier for the average user. In fact, this new customer-facing solution could boost usage of ENS in many ways and could make Ether exchanges more fluid.
What Is Ethereum Name Service, ENS and What Is It Used For?
ENS is an open-source project put forth by the Ethereum developers’ community, with the goal to create a decentralized domain name registry for the decentralized web. Although the initial standard for ENS defines resolution for Ethereum addresses, the system is reportedly extensible to resolve more resource types.
Simply put, ENS defines the aim behind their project as to resolve human-readable dot eth (.eth) domain names, into machine-readable identifiers including Ethereum addresses, Smart Contract addresses, IPFS or swarm content hashes.
Today we use DNS services to resolve our dot com (.com) domain names to IP addresses. However, a centralized name registry like DNS is always vulnerable to spoofing and denial of service attacks. Since ENS is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, it is decentralized by design, and would not suffer from the same vulnerability as DNS.
Since their inception in May 2017, ENS domain names were thought to represent a huge step forward towards bringing mass adoption. The reason being the fact that dealing with long hexadecimal strings can be daunting to the average person. Furthermore, wallet addresses are not easy to remember and pass around.
The other issue that ENS tries to solve is that of domain squatting. Squatting is when people buy domains solely because they think those domains will be valuable in the future. Squatters just sit on the domain, never actually doing anything with it. This is a popular strategy in the world of DNS to make easy money.
ENS tries to counter this with some techniques like using a “Vickrey Auction” to give the rights to a domain name.
How Does Vickrey Auctions Work for Domain Acquisitions?
The idea behind the auction process is that the party willing to pay most for the domain will be the one that logically needs it the most. This prevents squatters from buying another brand’s domain name early and sitting on it.
With the auction process, the brand would also have the chance to bid on the domain name.
One of the biggest differences between ENS and DNS is that bidders are not actually buying the domain name in ENS. They are simply locking up Ether in a Smart Contract that gives them the rights of the domain for a certain amount of time. Once they let go of the domain name, their locked up Ether is returned to them. This is in contrast with how DNS works since once a domain expires, the owner doesn’t get any money back.
The Vickery Auction for new domain acquisitions is a complicated procedure. In fact, domains are allocated after a three stages process that goes as follows:
1- A user opens an auction for a domain name he wishes to buy, then places a bid. This starts a three-day timer for other users to place bids on the name. Details of bids are obscured so nobody can tell how much others are bidding or what names are being bid on.
2- Once the three-day auction period is over; a two day reveal process takes place. Every bidder must reveal the details of his bid. If they fail to, they lose their entire bid. Moreover, if their bid is not the highest they are refunded their bid minus a 0.5% fee.
3- Following the two days reveal period, the person who revealed the highest bid is the winner and will have to pay the amount bid by the second highest bidder. The amount is locked up in a smart contract for the period the winner retains the domain name. The winner receives a refund for the extra funds and gets assigned control of the domain in ENS.
ETH Simple Solution
According to a medium post published by ETH Simple, the service makes registering a custom .eth address less complicated by taking care of the Vickrey Auction process imposed by ENS. In fact, the blog entry reveals that bidders will not have to remember auction time and bid reveals, or deal with any sort of deadlines before getting control over the domain name they want, or before getting refunded if they fail to place the winning bid.
All a user needs to do is logging into their website using an Ethereum-enabled browser such as a Google Chrome browser with the MetaMask extension installed on it. The user then has to check for the availability of the domain, enter his Ethereum hexadecimal string address, and place a bid amount. ETHSimple would handle the rest of the ENS domain acquisition process, making it substantially simpler.