What Is Ethereum Name Service (ENS)?

Apr. 3, 2023
What Is Ethereum Name Service (ENS)?

In the past, the internet was not widespread. Therefore, users had to type an IP (internet protocol) address to visit a website. Consisting of a series of numbers and dots, these IP addresses were hard to remember and almost impossible to guess. However, a major problem among computer users was that IP addresses and domain names hadn’t been matched up. This made them very undesirable for the average users, who had to enter the IP address of the website (such as 51.21.472.321.) they wanted to visit. 

Then, a human-readable naming system, Domain Name System (DNS)arrived. It created convenience for individuals to explore the World Wide Web (WWW). In 1983, an American computer scientist, Paul Mockapetris, created the DNS.

Despite all the technological advancements in the crypto ecosystem, it depends on an old IP address setup. Unlike traditional IPs, crypto addresses represent long and complex sequences of numbers, letters, and symbols. However, for transferring BTC to someone else’s account, you should use the owner’s complex wallet address correctly instead of a human-readable name such as the wallet owner’s name.

Moreover, this outdated setup is one of the reasons why blockchain technology is criticized. Because if a person enters the wrong letter or address, it will result in a permanent loss of money. Since cryptocurrency favors decentralization, no central authority can help recover these lost funds. Just as Domain Name Services (DNS) became part of the online world, Ethereum Name Service (ENS) also came to facilitate transactions.

Ethereum Name Service (ENS)

The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) was introduced on May 4, 2017, by Alex Van de Sande and Nick Johnson from the Ethereum Foundation (EF). 

ENS is an open, extensible, distributed, and naming system that operates on the Ethereum blockchain. Simply put, it’s an excellent service for naming confusing and lengthy crypto addresses. It works similarly to DNS. Notably, it is only for the convenience of Ethereum users.

It aims to map human-readable names such as “Haider.eth” to machine-readable identifiers such as Ethereum address “a2394nd4rnMsorna342mbJU2ADA837.” However, instead of typing long and complex addresses, you only need to enter a short readable name for decentralized and secure transactions.

It is a fully distributed domain name provider that allows anyone to purchase and modify a domain name. It also decreases the chance of typing errors when entering the payee’s address. Ethereum Name Service isn’t just limited to wallet addresses. It can be used to represent metadata, hashes, and transaction IDs which are typically found in digital space.

ENS introduced a governance token, ENS, in November 2021. Due to the token’s strong increase in value, it started trending and gained a lot of interest.

How Does The ENS Work?

As mentioned above, there are some similarities between DNS and ENS. They meet the needs of two different spaces. Therefore, they work in the same way because they both depend on a “dot-separated” naming system known as “domains”. High-level domains like ”.eth” and ”.test” are managed by smart contracts called “registrars”.

These registrars set the rules and regulations that control the distribution of certain subdomains. You can acquire your own domain name by simply complying with the terms of the agreement. However, to create coincult.eth, you need to contact the .eth registrar. Another important part of ENS is the service that supports the import of DNS domains that already exist in the user’s domain.

Also, in the ENS system, domain owners have full control over subdomain configurations. For example, if Haider runs the domain “haider.eth”, he has the potential to create “ali.haider.eth” and make any beloved configurations for free.

To buy an Ethereum domain name, you can check desired domain availability and rent it annually. Because famous names were auctioned first. The top bidder who wins a domain can add addresses, create subdomains, and then lease or sell the domain name.

ENS Architecture

The Ethereum Name Service has two core components, resolvers, and a registry. The architecture of the ENS is as follows:

ENS Registry
Source: ENS

ENS Registry

The Ethereum Name Service Registry is composed of a smart contract to maintain a list of all domains and subdomains. Moreover, to maintain domains, the registry must store three key pieces of information:

  1. Details of the domain such as domain owner
  2. The resolver of the domain
  3. Caching time for all the records that are under the specific domain

Additionally, the ENS registry enables domain owners to:

  • Change the ownership of subdomains
  • Transfer domain ownership to another address
  • Set the domain’s time-to-live (TTL) and resolver

ENS Resolvers

ENS smart contracts are involved in the process of changing names into addresses or vice versa known as Resolvers. Any contract that implements the required standards can be an ENS resolver. However, the resolving process for names in Ethereum Name Service consists of two steps.

The first is to ask the registry to find out which resolver is responsible for the particular name. The second is to ask that specific solver for a response to your request.

Here is the detail of the process:

ENS Resolver
Source: ENS

Check out official ENS documentation for the ENS working mechanism. Here you will find more detailed information about services, the resolvers, and the registry.

What Can ENS Be Used For?

If you’re worried about complex crypto addresses when sending crypto assets, you might want to check out ENS. Saving an address with a memorable phrase will be as easy as saving a friend’s number under a name in the phone book. Hence it gives a friendly experience with minimum chance for errors.

Furthermore, the owner of an ENS domain can also create subdomains to which other data can be allocated. It doesn’t always have to be a crypto wallet address either. You could use it to direct to metadata, transaction, or smart contract.

Difference Between DNS And ENS


  • Whether it’s a crypto wallet address or an IP address, both DNS and ENS simplify a complex Internet address, into a simple, readable name.
  • The Ethereum Name Service shortens your crypto address to desirename.eth instead of something like o2xad01f3eaf487f5y331r4189dfa.
  • The Domain Name System simplifies the web URL to be www.desirewebsite.com instead of something like


  • DNS services are centralized while ENS is decentralized.
  • In ENS multiple computers verify that a particular domain is attached to a specific crypto address.

Pros And Cons Of Ethereum Name Service


  • Human-readable names
  • Ability to start your business from home
  • Subdomain control
  • Simple business model
  • Makes sending and receiving funds easier
  • Transferable NFT


  • High annual subscription price
  • Other competitors in the industry
  • Security issues
  • The token itself has little utility

How To Obtain Your Own ENS Domain?

Now, acquiring an ENS domain name is a very simple process like searching for its availability at https://app.ens.domains/ and registering it. Let’s take an example:

First, go to https://app.ens.domains/ and link your hot wallet such as MetaMask.

ENS regestering image 1
Source: ENS

Put the domain that you want to register. 

ENS regestering image 2
Source: ENS

Now you will see the availability of your desired name. In our case, coincult can be registered as coincult.eth.

After clicking on the name, you will see the ENS domain registration instructions. You can select the registration period and also check the fee details.

ENS regestering image 3
Source: ENS

However, with ETH (Ethereum) in your wallet, you can request to register an address by following these simple steps.

ENS Governance

The ENS is controlled by different arms, each with its own importance.

Ethereum Name Service DAO

In the space of decentralization, the ENS is governed by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). In particular, the DAO itself is managed by the ENS token holders which can make proposals and vote on them to decide the future development of the protocol.

Ethereum Name Service Foundation

ENS Foundation is a legal company established in the Cayman Islands. It is operated by ENS DAO.

It works for:

  • Making contracts with other companies
  • Complying with tax requirements
  • Providing limited liability to DAO participants

Ethereum Name Service Token

The ENS token is a standard token using the ERC-20 (Ethereum Request for Comments 20) standard on the ETH blockchain. The ENS token airdrop claim began on November 8, 2021, until May 4, 2022, for early adopters who had already registered ENS domain names. About 25% of the total token supply was distributed via airdrop.

Bottom Line

Ethereum Name Service is a major advancement in the cryptocurrency industry. It is proven to help in eliminating some of the most pressing issues facing the market, namely user experience. Engaging with long strings of random symbols, characters, and numbers is often the cause of errors, and errors in the crypto space are usually very costly.

Presenting these IPs in a human-readable and friendly way acts as a charming factor for users. Meanwhile, DNS details for names and domains are usually kept on centralized servers, which can be easily hacked. In ENS, Ethereum’s blockchain technology adds extra layers of security and prevents data loss. Thus, Ethereum Name Service is undoubtedly a very helpful development that is spreading rapidly and is being used by thousands of individuals.

Syed Ali Haider

Researcher & Editor
Ali Haider is a Blockchain enthusiast and writer passionate about enhancing the acceptance, adoption, and integration of Blockchain technology worldwide. He has also advocated for digital freedom and cybersecurity for many years.