Something wonderful has happened in crypto. One of the biggest issues with Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general, is usability. In other words, if I wanted to buy your car for Bitcoin, up until now, you would have to give me a long, random set of characters (called a “public key”) to which I would send the Bitcoin. (This, for example, is the public key for a wallet I own: bc1qasj5mjeuqm6hvtqzuzy4drw87emtgcxaq0p20x – donations welcome). Somehow I would have to get that string of characters into my phone, or computer, in order to send the Bitcoin. Not appealing, not easy to understand. Now, QR codes (those funny graph-looking things you can point your phone at to bring up a website, a menu at a restaurant, and yes, a public key address) have made things easier, but only to a point.
What I have long wanted is a “DNS system” for crypto just like there is for the rest of the internet. In other words, the IP address for my law firm website is: 220.127.116.11. Will you remember that? Of course not. So instead, the architects of the internet created the Domain Name Server system, whereby you can type in www.goodattorneysatlaw.com and get to where you’re going (that’s a long address too, but that’s a story for another day). The point is, we use the English language on the World Wide Web to navigate to websites. Much easier than numbers.
Enter a company named Unstoppable Domains (www.unstoppabledomains.com). Unstoppable Domains is the “new GoDaddy” for two new types of web domain extensions: .crypto and .zil (for me, .crypto is a lot easier to remember). What’s revolutionary is that not only can you use your .crypto domain to build a website (if you want to) but you can also send crypto directly to this address! This, to me, is nothing short of revolutionary. It’s kind of like having your own little bank attached to your domain. In the example of my car purchase above, the seller would give me something like Johnsautomart.crypto, or something to that effect, to which to send my payment. Easier to remember and use than that long string of characters? You bet. Does it reduce the risk of making a mistake and sending your money into cyberspace, never to return? Without a doubt. Also, unlike a .com address, a .crypto or .zil address “lives” on the Ethereum blockchain, not in a central database. As such, there is no central authority to tell you what to do or not to do with it, no bank or payment processor to wag their little finger at you and hold up your payment. Amazing. And oh, by the way, no renewal fees! Once you buy the domain it’s yours forever.
Unstoppable Domains exercises some “editorial” discretion over what domains are available, which I think is actually very responsible. In other words, don’t think you can run out and register pepsi.crypto and sell it back to that company. They are restricting obvious trademarks to the proven owners, and otherwise holding back certain domains. I can live with that.
The process is also a little different than with your garden variety .com domain. Once you buy the domain you have to “claim” it on the ethereum blockchain. This is sort of like if you bought a piece of raw land, you would then have to put up a no trespassing sign on the property to mark it as yours. I’m still reading their features guide to figure this part out. Alternatively, for around $20 you can “park” your new .crypto domain with the Gemini exchange, which is a regulated New York trust company, and, in my opinion, a very worthy custodian. When you’re ready to claim or build a website on your domain you just pull it out of storage (you may have to wait a few months to do this, however), and you’re off and running. I bought a couple and parked them with Gemini in this manner, until I fully figure out the product and until .crypto becomes a wildly popular way to send cryptocurrencies, which it inevitably will. Put simply, I think Unstoppable Domains is just that, unstoppable, and a tremendous addition to the world of crypto.
(The opinions in this post are mine alone. I am not affiliated with nor do I receive any compensation whatsoever from either Unstoppable Domains or Gemini)