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). Independent of traditional Internet governance, these alt-roots come with their own set of challenges. Although there has historically been a lack of interoperability with browsers, this may be changing with the increased uptake of so-called ‘blockchain domains names’.
Blockchain Domain Names are a decentralised implementation of a DNS root zone using blockchain technology operating their own root servers. The most popular providers of blockchain domain names include: Ethereum Name Service, Unstoppable Domains, Handshake and Namecoin.
Georgia Osborn and Nathan Alan have conducted a study across the top two Blockchain Domain Providers (Ethereum Name Service and Unstoppable Domains). This showed the increase of Blockchain Domain Name registrations from just over one million in March 2022 to over six million registered users within a year to March 2023.
This academic paper produced from a mixed methodology used the DAP.LIVE platform to analyse Blockchain Domain Name data. They also collected primary data by registering their own blockchain domain names and testing out the use cases such as:
- Attaching it to a crypto-wallet for cryptocurrency transactions.
- Creating a non-censorable website using a blockchain domain name.
- Domain trading and selling.
You can see our blockchain domain name web page by visiting oxilresearch.crypto on one of the blockchain enabled browsers: (Opera, Brave, Chrome with an extension and others). The article analysed the disruption caused by blockchain domain names which are ungoverned without clear laws or policies for users, companies or organisations to abide by. It then provides recommendations for policy makers and emphasises the importance of more research and analysis in this area.