The cryptocurrency market may be a developing niche compared to other traditional asset classes, but it has seen tremendous growth over the past decade.
Blockchain has already proved to be a disruptive technology, and one of the places undergoing a disruption is the domain name system (DNS) industry.
Conventionally, the allocation of domain names is a privilege afforded to a few central agencies called domain name registrars, controlled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
To get a domain name, you have to lease it from the registrars, and you have to pay annual lease costs to continue using the property.
One company in the blockchain field called Unstoppable Domains is trying to eliminate these centralized agencies by allowing users to register their preferred domain names on the blockchain.
There are several advantages to doing this, as we will discuss later in this guide.
Two top-level domain (TLD) extensions have already gained traction of the ten extensions offered by the company, and they are the .crypto and .x extensions.
This guide will delve into why they are becoming more popular than the rest and which one is better to have if you are looking to get a blockchain name.
.x Vs .crypto Compared
First of all, it’s worth mentioning that Unstoppable Domains currently supports domain registrations on two blockchains only – Ethereum and Zilliqa.
Out of the ten domain extensions it offers, nine are hosted on Ethereum. These are .bitcoin, .blockchain, .coin, .crypto, .dao, .nft, .wallet, .x and .888. The only domain extension hosted on the Zilliqa network is .zil.
The .zil and .crypto TLDs were among the first to be supported on the platform, which only launched in 2018. The other eight were launched recently in June 2021.
When comparing .x Vs .crypto, the two TLD extensions have one main similarity: they are hosted on the Ethereum network.
Ethereum is the second-largest blockchain network by market value, second to Bitcoin.
However, it is the leading smart contract platform that supports decentralized applications (dApps).
Both domain extensions have become popular with crypto enthusiasts for different reasons.
In the case of the .crypto TLD, the extension was launched sooner than several others giving it more of a head-start as it had to compete with none other.
Even when Unstoppable Domains launched the .zil extension on the Zilliqa network, the .crypto TLD benefited from the popularity of Ethereum.
Also read Is Staking Zilliqa Worth It?
The .X extension is highly desirable for being “short, premium and exclusive,” according to the press release by the company.
Both .X and .crypto appeal to the crypto community by being neutral extensions that can be used in front of almost any domain name.
Another reason for the popularity of the .crypto TLD is that it has implied inference and association with the cryptocurrency industry.
Crypto is a common phrase within the blockchain industry and including it within a domain name gives the name that instant identifier tag.
Which one is better?
There are three main factors to consider when deciding which one is better for you. These are:
The two domain extensions vary in terms of cost. The price to register a regular domain name with the .crypto extension starts from $40 onwards, while that one with the .X extension starts at $100.
Premium domains, which are names sold in the secondary market, have their prices determined by the interaction of market forces of supply and demand. You can get a .crypto domain that is more expensive than a .X domain.
Domain names are assets, and the good ones are hard to find. When choosing whether or not to register a domain name with a .X or .crypto extension, you have to consider which of the two is available to register. Sometimes, both may or may not be available.
How you intend to use your domain name is perhaps the most significant factor to consider when choosing the domain extension to use.
A great example is to consider the .wallet extension, which is great for registering a name that will serve as a wallet address.
If you are Elon Musk and want to register the SpaceX name, it makes more sense to buy the domain Space.X rather than SpaceX.crypto.
What is a decentralized domain?
A decentralized domain is a website address whose root registry is maintained on a public blockchain such as Etheruem or Zilliqa.
In the conventional domain name system (DNS), all domain names are registered with a centralized entity (the ICANN) through multiple agencies called domain registrars.
ICANN is tasked with keeping an updated record of all domain names registered through the DNS system. The reason why domain owners have to pay an annual fee to keep their domains is that it costs to maintain the DNS records.
A decentralized domain sidesteps the need to have a centralised entity maintaining a domain registry.
Instead, all domains registered on a public blockchain have their register stored on their host networks indefinitely without paying any annual registration renewal fees.
Why are these domains unstoppable?
Blockchain domains are considered unstoppable because crypto domains are not leased to their owners, unlike the conventional domain names.
Instead, the owner of a blockchain domain maintains that ownership indefinitely unless they choose to transfer ownership to another person.
Indefinite ownership also means that no one else other than the owner can censor content created on the website associated with any blockchain domain, not even the government.
Who owns Unstoppable Domains?
Unstoppable Domains is a Fintech company launched in 2018 to serve as a blockchain domain name provider and gateway to the decentralized web.
It was created by its current CEO Matthew Gould and his co-founders Bradley Kam, Braden Pezeshki and Bogdan Guseiv.
Where is Unstoppable Domains located?
Unstoppable Domains’ headquarters are located in San Francisco, California.
What is a Zil domain?
.Zil domain is a blockchain name minted on the Zilliqa blockchain. Like Ethereum, Zilliqa is a smart contract platform on which blockchain domains in the form of NFTs can be minted and hosted.
Additionally, Zilliqa has a naming service similar to the Ethereum Naming Service (ENS) that helps resolve DNS settings and route traffic to the appropriate Zilliqa wallet or smart contract.
Can you host a website on the Blockchain?
Yes, you can. Hosting a website on a blockchain is very similar to hosting it on a centralised server.
The only difference is that those files are not stored on a single server but instead are distributed across several computers managed through the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).
IPFS is a network protocol that facilitates peer to peer file storage similar to how BitTorrent works.
To operate a website hosted on a blockchain, you will need to specify an IPFS hash, an identifier for your website’s file documents on the blockchain network.
Conventionally, the website files are stored in a single server, and the file locations are linked to the domain registrar with a DNS record.
What are NFT domains?
The term NFT means non-fungible tokens, and in crypto, NFTs are digital records of unique assets minted on the blockchain.
Domain names are unique in that you can’t have two similar domain names existing on the blockchain or in the conventional DNS system.
NFT domains are thus blockchains domains that have features associated with NFTs, such as the ease of being traded on an exchange platform. These domains can be bought, sold, stored in a wallet just like NFTs, and several parties can jointly own one or several names.
Is an Unstoppable Domain an NFT?
Yes, Unstoppable Domains can be considered NFTs. By definition, NFTs are records of unique digital assets minted on the blockchain and UD domains are just that – they are unique, and they are minted on their respective blockchain and claimed by the owner.
Additionally, just like NFTs, they can be bought, sold, and traded for profit, and multiple entities can share ownership.
What are NFT domain names?
NFT domain names are crypto domains minted on a blockchain like Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain (BSC).
These names are unique, meaning that two instances of the same name can never be hosted on the network.
NFT domain names are issued under the same principles used in the conventional DNS system, whereby each domain is associated with a single entity, and the records are maintained to avoid conflict in domain resolution.
Can a domain name be an NFT?
A domain name can only be an NFT if minted on a blockchain that supports smart contracts such as Ethereum, Zilliqa or Binance Smart Chain.
NFTs are digital records of unique assets maintained on the blockchain, but not all domain names are minted tokens. A majority are conventional, and their registration records are maintained in centralised servers administered by ICANN.
For crypto enthusiasts, having a domain name that identifies them as community members may just be the next best thing to owning digital assets.
Whether that is .x or .crypto or any of the other eight extensions supported by Unstoppable Domains is a subjective decision that an individual can make.
They all come with similar features as blockchain domains, including perpetual ownership, censorship resistance and wallet address integration.
As NFTs, crypto domains can also be traded or sold for a profit, and their ownership can easily be confirmed on public blockchains.