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Why Branded Web3 Names Will Become Ubiquitous in Crypto

old mac computerThink the obsession with branded web3 crypto domains is an overhyped fad? Unless your email address is something like 81032840732@email.com, you’ve already bought into the branded address movement, just like everyone else finally did 30 years ago.

In the early days of personal computing, network enthusiasts were assigned a string of numbers to communicate with each other on CompuServe. Randomly assigned and formatted as 7 octal digits, this growing community was ported to the public internet in 1989. Almost overnight, they became reachable from outside their network through an email address linked to their numerical ID such as 7xxxx.xx@compuserve.com.

CompuServe effectively led America’s internet march forward until a rival, America Online, posed a threat. Offering users the option to select a memorable branded name and email address as early as 1992, the AOL branded name concept became ubiquitously known as a “Screen Name.”

CompuServe ignored it, partially because its aging technological infrastructure wasn’t designed to escape the numerical name system. But also because Americans and people the world over still weren’t sure what it was they liked about access to the Information Superhighway. Many critics compared the two on price. But as AOL began to crush CompuServe, CompuServe finally had no choice but to try and make its service more appealing to the public. It began with screen names.

“Finally it has happened!,” an announcement said. “CompuServe users can now forget about hard to remember email addresses with numbers (such as 72223.10@CompuServe.com) and start using ‘normal looking’ email addresses like the rest of the world! … If you’re a CompuServe user, just GO REGISTER to choose your new email address (actually, this is an alias to your current CompuServer email address, so you can use both addresses if you like)… If you’re not a CompuServe user, but frequently send email to CompuServe accounts, you might want to find out what their ‘easy to remember email alias’ is.”

Twenty million American adults had access to the internet that year. America Online would go on to register 35 million subscribers alone by the year 2002, impressing upon an entire generation the value of one’s “screen name.”

Today, almost nobody would ever think to use a string of random digits to identify themselves, yet that is exactly what crypto addresses have accomplished. In the case of ethereum, for example, a randomly assigned string of 42-chars is a hark back to the pre-1996 CompuServe era on steroids.

Perhaps if they were still around, they’d publish a more modern version.

“Finally it has happened! Web3 users can now forget about hard to remember crypto addresss (such as 0x8018asdfdssd809128320912428dfakd998) and start using ‘normal looking’ addresses like the rest of the world! … If you’re a Web3 user, just GO REGISTER to choose your new web3 address (actually, this is an alias to your current crypto address, so you can use both addresses if you like).”

How Web3 Will Soon Shape Fintech Onboarding

Fintech companies looking to tether customers to their platforms long-term will have no choice but to adopt web3 into their strategies. But how to do that? An easy solution would be to take advantage of the subdomain feature of the Ethereum Name Service (ENS).

With ENS, anyone can create subdomains of .eth domains that they own. It costs gas but the process is simple, simple enough that fintech companies may have an interest in offering a variety of custom ENS names for their customers to choose from.

And if they are successful in getting a customer attached to that name, well then that customer’s entire individual web3 identity will potentially live on the fintech company’s platform. In doing this, it may be smart to offer subdomains of a variety of top-level .eths, even if the branding is unrelated to the fintech company.

Imagine, for example, that a fintech company offered new customers the option to choose any username they want attached from the following options.

  • username.fntc.eth
  • username.rocknroll.eth
  • username.sofun.eth
  • username.blue.eth

A company that tires of its relationship with the fintech company might not feel compelled to change their web3 identity if perhaps rocknroll.eth is the domain their account is registered under. And thus the customer remains connected to the original fintech who controls that subdomain.

web3 signup

ENS Hack: Use Any Web2 Domain as an ENS Domain

web2 into web3As the crypto universe buys up every .eth ENS domain name it can think of, one of the little discussed features of the ENS system is that users don’t even need a .eth address to be a part of it. Any regular old web domain name can become a valid ENS wallet address and in effect become web3. your-name-here.eth may look and sound cool as a wallet address, for example, but there’s no need to have it if you already have any your-name-here.com already. Here’s how to do it:

1. First make sure you own the domain you want to use (.com, .org, .net, etc.) and that you have access to update the DNS records

2. Type in the full name of the domain on the ENS app.

3. If your domain name registrar doesn’t have DNSSEC enabled by default, you’ll have to enable it. Some have it enabled by default.

If you use GoDaddy, the option can be found at the very bottom of a domain’s DNS record page. GoDaddy might charge up to $35/year for this service. Once DNSSEC is activated, go to the domain name’s DNS record and click the 3 dots in the top menu of the DNS record and click “DNSSEC” from the dropdown. Click the “on” toggle for enabled and then enter your email address. Then click apply. Wait about 20 minutes for it to propagate.

4. Add a txt record to your DNS.
Host: _ens
Data: “a=0xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” [but make sure the 0xxxx is your long eth wallet address. Keep the quotation marks as well]

Wait about 20 minutes for it to propagate.

5. Go back to the ENS app and click the “Refresh” button. If the DNS record is correct and has propagated, it will tell you that it’s ready to register. Click enter and it will prompt you to pay a one-time gas fee. It could be a little expensive but it’s not something you’ll have to pay every year to keep the arrangement in place.

6. That’s it. Set up your ENS record for it like you would any .eth. Put btc, ltc, and dogecoin addresses in it so that your web2 domain can receive any of those cryptos. Have fun.

Notes:
1. MetaMask picked up on this right away when converted decashed.com to web3
2. Coinbase.com and the coinbase wallet are not yet configured to translate web2 addresses into web3 addresses. It translates my .eth no problem but claims that the .com is an “invalid email, phone or address.” It’s possible that Coinbase will upgrade its system to fix this.