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Embracing On-Chain Domains for a Safer Internet

From the humble beginnings of ARPANET to the birth of the internet as we know it today, domain registrars have been the silent architects of our online activity. Now, as we stand on the cusp of the Web3 revolution, domains are set to undergo yet another profound transformation.

Internet innovations have given us a remarkable ability to connect, but now we are bouncing against the limits of this paradigm. Each person’s digital identity and data are scattered across different domains, each controlled by a respective network. Your Twitter persona doesn’t translate to Facebook, TikTok, or beyond. Moving between platforms demands a fresh start registration. Re-enter your data. Rebuild your digital footprint. Prepare for login fatigue. To compound the issue, the emergence of AI poses a significant threat, potentially unleashing unprecedented levels of misinformation and fraud. Web3 domains are already combatting this, providing users with a verifiable and immutable online identity. And domain registrars are beginning to understand the importance of adopting them.

To understand the significance of this paradigm shift, we must first journey through the annals of DNS history. Born out of the need to navigate the burgeoning complexities of the internet, the DNS has undergone several iterations.

The Evolution of Domains

Initially conceived during the early stages of ARPANET, the DNS served as a fundamental tool for mapping numerical IP addresses to human-readable domain names. This was fit for purpose at the time, but as the internet expanded and evolved, so too did the DNS.

After several iterations to accommodate the increasing demand for domain registration and resolution services, the DNS transitioned towards centralization, dominated by a handful of authoritative registrars and domain management platforms.

As the internet began to experience growing pains, more challenges arose. Domain registrars once considered the custodians of online presence, began to grapple with security vulnerabilities and dependence on centralized authorities. Change was sorely needed.

The Promise of Web3 Domains

Enter Web3—a new world where the immutable nature of blockchain technology promises to revolutionize our online experience. Web3 domains, underpinned by blockchain’s core tenets of immutability, self-custody, resistance to censorship, and independence from centralized authorities, offer a beacon of hope in an increasingly centralized digital landscape.

These blockchain-backed domains herald a future where users wield unprecedented control over their online identities. Empowered domain owners are invited to reclaim ownership of their digital footprint. Now, you can wield a unified, self-sovereign digital identity that makes you not simply a user, but an owner and controller of your online presence. Domain name infrastructure can be leveraged to solve the digital identity problem.

Web3 domains are universal online identifiers—portable, personal, and entirely self-sovereign.

Benefits for Users

To access online services, every user needs a unique online identity. In the current Web2 model, each offering compels users to create new login credentials, typically either a username and password or an email address and password combination. This has led to intense “login fatigue,” because no consumer wants to manage 50+ separate identities. It has also led to password management tools that can expose all of your login credentials to bad actors in one fell swoop.

Web3 domains, on the other hand, can address the login fatigue dilemma by providing a single, verified profile that can be used across the web. Better still, this profile remains controlled by the individual it represents, existing as their consistent and persistent online identity. Simply put, you and your Web3 domain are inextricably linked.

Leveraging Web3 domains also helps to address scams and identity theft, as they can provide an unfalsifiable means for proving who any user is, eliminating the scourge of fake accounts that proliferate social media. Instead of trusting what an account looks like, platforms can confirm its authenticity and validity via the blockchain.

Persistent profiles that offer confirmed histories also significantly increase the cost for a scammer to run a fraudulent account, further discouraging the practice. Put simply, the more you use your Web3 identity, the harder it is for a scammer to impersonate you.

Benefits for Registrars

The integration of Web3 domains into registrar portfolios signifies a notable shift in the digital landscape. Registrars stand to gain from portfolio diversification, and enhanced user ownership rights. Let’s explain.

By incorporating Web3 domains alongside their Web2 counterparts, registrars expand their revenue streams and position themselves as innovators in the evolving digital ecosystem. While blockchain technology fortifies domain ownership, providing users unprecedented security against hacking, censorship, and unauthorized manipulation. Web3 domains make registrars look good.

Flexible renewal terms will also simplify user management and streamline registrar administrative tasks, enhancing operational efficiency. In short, not only will we offer a superior product, but we will also have fewer problems to solve as a byproduct.

Realistically speaking, however, challenges remain. User familiarity with blockchain technology and integration with existing web services are hurdles we must overcome. Time is on our side. It will be worth it, as registrars that embrace the transformative potential of Web3 domains pave the way for a more inclusive, secure, and decentralized digital future. That’s a good enough reason to support this movement and get your Web3 identity sorted now (plus, all the best names are still available).

The Future of Domains

The potential for Web3 domains to become the new standard in digital identity and online transactions is undeniable.

Domains are the world’s first real-world digital assets and will be the first industry to go 100% on chain. This movement to on chain will bring verifications, payments, and digital finance to consumers globally.

We are now at an interesting crossroads. Staying technologically progressive and ahead of the curve is crucial to attracting crypto users to take up their Web3 identities while being supportive, educational, and realistic will help transition Web2 into this new world. What comes next will be exciting to watch unfold.

By Matt Gould, CEO and Co-founder at Unstoppable Domains

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