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Web3 Disruption and the Domain Name System: Understanding the Trends of Blockchain Domain Names and the Policy Implications

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Blockchain, or Web3 technology has the potential to disrupt the everyday use of the Internet. The polarised discussion around blockchain technology is notoriously difficult to navigate between the opposing narratives of blockchain evangelists and skeptics. This article focuses on blockchain domain names, a rapidly growing trend using blockchain technology that is currently non-interoperable with the Domain Name System (DNS) and therefore, out of scope of traditional Internet governance.
Publication summary

Since the Domain Name System (DNS) became an essential component in the functionality of the Internet, there have been multiple attempts at Alternative DNS roots. These alternatives operate on their own root name servers and are therefore not governed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Blockchain, or Web3 technology has the potential to disrupt the everyday use of the Internet.

Georgia Osborn, Senior Research Analyst and Nathan Alan, Director of Engineering have produced an academic paper from a mixed methodology using the DAP.LIVE platform. This study was an initial analysis of the burgeoning growth. It assesses the challenges of blockchain domain names and provides five recommendations to address them. Although many in traditional Internet communities may be hostile or ignore the blockchain alternative for naming and addressing, they argue that a pragmatic response should be adopted.

Even if it is not clear that blockchain domain names solve any problems not currently solved by the DNS, the increase in registrations continues to rise and diverse Internet communities must keep ahead of the trends to understand them and integrate policy implications.

The study is available pre-journal publication on SSRN and awaits final drafting. Feedback on the study is welcome. This is part of an ongoing piece of research around the growth in Blockchain Domain Names.

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Social Science Research Network

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First published on
5th July 2023

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