Back in 2004, I was working as an Account Manager for a SaaS company called CardinalCommerce. We sold credit card authentication services to the top internet retailers in the world.
The job required me to call on the decision makers of each organization. Frequently, we would get into other topics like marketing. I would leave the conversation with new ideas on how to market an ecommerce business, and of course a website address was always a part of it.
One day and I am not sure how I got on this path but I decided I wanted to start a pop-culture blog, similar to what TMZ is now, and I wanted to call it ‘Dumpster’.
So I went over to GoDaddy and typed it in and to my surprise it was available! Furthermore, it was just $10.99
Unfortunately, however, I only had like $15 to my name so I decided to pass on it. I figured it would be there on pay day, which was coming up in a few days.
When I went back to GoDaddy and typed it in again, it was taken. Someone had swooped it up, Waste Management in fact.
I was pissed but I got over it.
Later on that year I would form a group of investors and we would begin domain investing, and accumulate more 3,800 domain names.
To brainstorm domain ideas I would read Robb Report and would pick off the catchy article headlines they used to find keyword rich domain names. It was brilliant!
Fast Forward to 2021 and the same trend is coming back around. While all of the .com domains and lately the .io domains have been bought up, a new form af custom domain names has surfaced.
Understanding Blockchain Domains
Now that you have a better grasp of what non-fungible tokens are, we need to talk about blockchain domains. However, before we do that, you should know how domain names work.
How Domain Names Work
Computers connected to the internet have an IP address. These unique addresses allow individual devices to be identified on networks. However, they’re long and hard to remember. For example, Google.com’s IP address is 184.108.40.206. Not particularly memorable, is it?
Domain names provide an easier alternative. Instead of typing “220.127.116.11” in your browser’s address bar, you simply type “Google.com” and hit enter. Your browser automatically figures out that the website “Google.com” is hosted at the aforementioned IP address.
For that to happen, domain names need to be registered in the Domain Name System. DNS servers are spread all over the world, and help browsers resolve domain names to IP addresses. Internet service providers then connect users to the appropriate IP address.
The DNS network is administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). They oversee the development and architecture of the overall system at the top level. Up until recently, ICANN and DNS were the only methods to obtain a working domain name.
Blockchain Domain Names
Blockchain domain names are one of the most interesting usage cases for blockchain protocols. A blockchain domain system allows domain owners to control their domains using private keys. Unlike traditional domain names, no oversight organization oversees these domains.
This has a number of practical applications. While DNS servers are spread all over the world, the system itself is centralized and controlled by ICANN. It’s therefore possible for ICANN to censor individuals, or cooperate with authorities to achieve the same result.
In contrast, blockchain domain names are permanently etched into a public registry. They can’t be purged, modified, or censored by any third parties. As such, they provide an avenue for websites to fight back against censorship, effectively protecting freedom of speech.
Accessing blockchain domain names has historically required special software but is becoming easier to access. Users of popular browsers like Chrome or Firefox can now resolve blockchain domains directly through their browser with one small DNS change.
Another feature of blockchain domain names is that they can link to cryptocurrency wallets instead of websites. Asking for payments via “yourname.crypto” is more convenient and easier to remember than “1NVWiyvVLAuCoxzQ6Ujy4UDpkgRwe8VPwW.”https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fopen.spotify.com%2Fembed-podcast%2Fepisode%2F7r7KhBGi66w10zQFf0CwgG&display_name=Spotify&url=https%3A%2F%2Fopen.spotify.com%2Fepisode%2F7r7KhBGi66w10zQFf0CwgG&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.scdn.co%2Fimage%2Fa530ac22010aeb618013fc15da4bff684473c564&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=spotify
Blockchain Domain Non-Fungible Tokens
Enter blockchain domain non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They combine the easy trading of NFTs with customizable domain names built on blockchain. In the past few months, they’ve also seen a sudden rise in consumer and investor interest — for several reasons.
Companies such as Unstoppable Domains and protocols like Namecoin allow users to purchase blockchain domains and even entire domain namespaces. The latter allows users to rent or sell individual domain NFTs down the road.
For example, the owner of “.crypto” domains on a specific blockchain protocol can rent or sell individual “name.crypto” domains. This can pose a unique opportunity for early investors. Some, like Mark Cuban, are already looking towards this new, booming market.
Cuban has already launched several lines of collectibles, figurines, and digital art powered by NFTs. Still, he believes that these novelties are mere proofs-of-concept. “The real growth comes when corporate [intellectual property] goes [to NFTs],” tweeted Cuban in late February 2021.