Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) domains are those based on a blockchain. Therefore, the data of these domains and the websites linked to them are stored in a decentralized manner.
The key benefit to owning an NFT domain is that it simplifies crypto transactions by replacing wallet addresses with the domain name and easily creates and hosts websites on Web3.
Keep reading to learn more about NFT domains and whether they’re indexed by Google.
What Are NFT Domain Names?
NFT domain names are the newest kids on the block(chain) and they have the power to change what we know as the internet today. But before we dive into all that goodness, let’s take a step back to run through what traditional domains are and define NFTs — that way, you can truly understand the superpowers behind NFT domains.
Typically, you interact with a traditional domain when you type the address (like Twitter.com) into your browser. But did you know traditional domains were originally built to do so much more on the internet? Think of functionalities like email and payments. Hard to believe, right?
But as we can see, traditional domains haven’t progressed much beyond displaying websites. This might be because traditional domains have been controlled by centralized servers since the internet was created. This made it much more difficult for developers to innovate on top of that technology.
Luckily for us, the tech that powers NFT domains (a.k.a. blockchains) open up a whole new realm of possibilities for us on the web!
Advantages of NFT Domains
The fact that an NFT domain is 100% yours and you can host websites independently of the traditional Internet is one of its advantages. You can also use the domain to log in to other decentralized applications (so-called DApps) and convert your cryptocurrency wallet address into an easy-to-remember URL. Instead of a complicated chain, you buy and sell through your NFT domain.
Unlike traditional domains, which incur an annual fee, NFT domains are registered once and incur a one-time payment. An NFT domain is yours permanently, without incurring additional fees.
Why You Might Need Decentralized Domain Names?
The average Internet user cannot see the many complex layers that ensure websites and online activities run smoothly. With hundreds of millions of domain names registered, not to mention the other systems and processes to keep Internet Web 2.0 running smoothly, ICANN has a lot of work to do. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a department within ICANN that manages domain registrations.
Domain registries are large private companies that manage and manage domain names and their registries. These are different from domain name registrars that handle commercial domain name sales and can be considered intermediaries. GoDaddy is a domain name registrar. It sells domain names to end users, registers paid domain names and also pays a fee to the domain registrar.
If this all sounds a bit unwieldy, you might be starting to understand why developers are pushing for a more decentralized system. Even if the DNS is already largely decentralized, the context in which it operates is still largely centralized, with domain registries at the center of it all.
Major NFT Domain Extensions
NFT domain names typically carry one of the following extensions:
There are many alternative names for NFT domains, but they all refer to the same thing:
- Blockchain domains
- Decentralized domains
- Web3 domains
- Wallet domains
- Crypto domains
How to Create an NFT Domain Name?
You can only purchase and create a traditional domain name for your website or application from a registrar that ICANN has approved. This system works for many users because their browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, Brave, etc.) are automatically configured to use this single centralized network of domains.
At the heart of any domain, the name platform is a union between the systems that allow applications to share their information (e.g. websites) and the systems that enable users to perform lookups (e.g. browsers).
For developers building decentralized applications (dApps), such a centralized system is unlikely to be fully satisfactory. The most common path for developers looking for a decentralized alternative is to use one of two well-established providers: ENS or Unstoppable Domains.
These providers leverage blockchains and NFTs to manage domain names.
There are many benefits to using NFT-based domain names. They give you the ability to:
- Purchase and own a domain name rather than renting it.
- Manage the domain directly via smart contract on the blockchain.
- Sell or transfer the domain name without centralized permission.
Downsides of NFT Domains
You may notice that both of these approaches use a centralized provider (ENS or Unstoppable Domains) that must be manually integrated into every application that performs DNS lookups. This is a fundamental challenge for fully decentralized systems.
To address this challenge, you could build your own NFT domain name system from scratch and issue as many domain names as possible. You could even issue domains with overlapping TLDs such as .com or .eth. The problem is that you would then need to build and maintain the system and drive users to adopt your lookup system using a browser extension or through a custom integration into every application, your users expect to use.
The challenge of achieving universal adoption for a domain name system drives most users to centralized distributed systems and proven tools like the ones they rely on every day. Still, NFT-based domain name systems ensure that the control and management of their domains are in the hands of users, and new decentralized systems are free to grow and change.