How to Buy a .ETH Name with ENS: Step-by-Step
Buying your first ENS domain and claiming your Ethereum identity is one of the best ways to get more involved with Ethereum NFTs and Web3 in general. Ethereum wallet addresses are 42-character alphanumeric strings of numbers and letters; Ethereum Name Service (ENS) .eth domains shorten these addresses to be more personal and shareable.
With the recent attention on three-digit ENS domains, .eth names have become more popular than ever. Over 1 million .eth domains have been created. The mad rush to claim domains is not dissimilar to people claiming Web2 .com domains back in the early days of the internet.
Luckily, setting up your first ENS domain and is easy, and affordable compared to other NFTs on the Ethereum network.
What is a .eth Domain?
On the traditional internet (Web2), the Domain Name System (DNS) converts IP addresses into a custom URL. Instead of numbers and letters, it converts it into a simple .com domain. ENS domains do the same, but for Web3.
When you set up an Ethereum wallet, if has a public address of random numbers and letters. But ENS takes that messy address and shortens it into a readable .eth domain. For example, an Ethereum public wallet address like “0x266e873A0d2E76C63aG2F50nc5Ca6D25867D4301” instead becomes as simple as “john.eth” (example only).
This allows people to give themselves a username in Web3, specifically in the Ethereum ecosystem. This also makes it easier to transfer Ethereum crypto to that address, by sending it to an easy-to-remember .eth name instead of the long character string. In the future, more use cases will arise with ENS domains.
ENS domains are each an NFT (ERC-721), which proves ownership and is easily transferrable and sellable. The most expensive ENS domain ever sold at the time of this post is paradigm.eth, which a collector accepted an offer of 420 Ethereum for (around $1.5 million USD) on October 9, 2021.
ENS Domain Launch and Airdrop
Believe it or not, ENS domains recently hit their five-year anniversary. The first ENS domain was registered on May 9, 2017. ENS is an open-source and decentralized protocol. It is community-governed by the ENS DAO, which has its own $ENS ERC-20 token.
Holders of the token are able to submit proposals and vote on future feature development. It has never taken outside funding (at the time of this post), making it a very neutral protocol.
In November 2021, an airdrop of $ENS tokens was distributed to people who had minted ENS domains. This was one of several token airdrops that the Ethereum NFT community experienced at the end of 2021. Many people benefitted from tens of thousands of dollars in $ENS value at the time, much of which was likely put back into Ethereum NFTs.
Those who had registered an ENS domain by October 31, 2021 got an airdrop, with the amount tied closely to how long they registered the domain for. Of this entire token distribution, 50 percent went to community treasury, 25 percent to ENS contributors, and 25 percent as the airdrop to .eth holders.
At the time of this post, the ENS ERC-20 token is around $8.50.
Three and Four-Digit .eth Name Craze
When four and three-digit ENS domains started aggressively selling in late April 2022, it created a frenzy of people speculating on the future value of the short .eth domains. Three is the minimum number of characters for ENS domains — they also are the most expensive to hold, at $640 per year.
There’s even a community-created “3 Letter Club” of people who own three-character domains, and a “10K Club” for four-digit number holders.
These four-digit number ENS domains are speculating that many who own NFTs want to own the ENS of their profile picture serial number, and many NFT PFPs are only 10,000 collections. A former Bored Ape Yacht Club holder put 97 Ethereum from the profit of their Ape sale into three and four-letter and number ENS domains.
This ENS revenue chart from early May by nick.eth shows that when three and four-letter domains started to capture attention — “number go up.” After three-digit domains ran up in price, four-digit domains were quickly minted out days after.
How to Create an .eth Domain with ENS
Step 1. Set up an Ethereum wallet if you haven’t yet. Use our guide to setting up a MetaMask wallet and loading it with Ethereum. ENS names are only able to be purchased in Ethereum.
Step 2. Head over to app.ens.domains to search what names are available. Names cost as low as $5 in Ethereum per year if they are five characters or more, and more if they are three or four characters. ENS names have a minimum of one year registration period and seemingly no maximum number of years. When purchasing, registration will require two transactions from your Ethereum wallet.
Step 3. Once you have bought the .eth name, you will want to assign it to your wallet so you can easily share your wallet with others to receive crypto. Go to app.ens.domains, click “My Account” and set your primary ENS name under your wallet address.
One primary ENS domain per wallet can be designated. You can have as many non-primary ENS domains in your wallet as you’d like.
Step 4. Be sure to check out all the options for your ENS domain after you’ve registered it. These include creating subdomains (like smith.john.eth), which can also resolve to an Ethereum wallet address. You can set your NFT as your ENS profile picture as well — here’s a step-by-step guide.
ENS domains also integrate with .com, .org and .edu domains. You can link your Web2 domains with your ENS domain.
You can also purchase ENS domains on secondary markets like OpenSea or LooksRare. Plus, instead of sending NFTs or Ethereum to a long address, now you can just type in your .eth address instead.
Always make sure the dApp you’re using supports ENS domains. Some of them only accept the old-school long string of characters and numbers — especially some allowlist opportunities.
TL;DR — Buying a .eth Name with ENS
As more people enter the Web3 space, they are searching to establish their identity in a new space. Simplifying complex Ethereum wallet names into easily-identifiable names is helpful in many ways. They break down yet another barrier for beginners, who can be intimidated by getting into crypto and NFTs.
ENS domains have been sent surging to a new level of popularity, thanks in part to three and four-digit ENS domains. These domains are being bought not just by people speculating the market, but by those who are preparing for Web3 dominance.
The ENS DAO enables the organization to make community-driven decisions, and these will be more crucial than ever for long-term success of public web3 identities.