Decentraweb is attempting to recreate a fundamental layer of the Internet: DNS systems. Most people are not familiar with the term, but essentially, a DNS is a web protocol that allows users to access websites using domain names like metaroids.com instead of an IP address like 18.104.22.168.
Two of the first movers in the blockchain domains space are ENS and Unstoppable Domains, and they are currently dominating in market share. However, Decentraweb is offering something that is a bit different. We’ll go over its unique proposition later on, but first, it’s important to talk about ICANN.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names is a nonprofit organization that essentially manages the matching of IP addresses to domain names, allowing web users to easily access websites with simple and convenient identifiers (the URL you use to access websites).
The problem with ICANN is that it is centralized, which means only the entity controls top-level domains (.com, .org, .io, etc.) within the Internet, and creating a new one requires its approval, which it usually denies. With the application worth $250K and non-refundable, the risk is just too high for most people to apply. And even if you somehow get a top-level domain (TLD) approved, it costs $200K-$250K a year to maintain it.
Decentrawe aims to solve this by allowing users to own TLDs on the blockchain. This isn’t like owning something like “metaroids.com”; more like owning all of “.com”. Do you get the difference now?
Let’s dive deeper.
What is Decentraweb?
Decentraweb is a blockchain naming service provider that stores domain name records on Ethereum, allowing users to create top-level domains (TLDs) and subdomains as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which can be utilized to launch decentralized websites, create a personal web3 identity, or replace long crypto addresses with human-readable names.
One of Decentraweb’s core missions is to return the internet and Domain Name System (DNS) to the hands of the public, enabling anyone to own blockchain domains without the need to go over the lengthy and costly process the traditional system implements. You only need to buy them as NFTs on the platform, and then you’re free to use them as you wish.
Use Cases of Decentraweb
You can utilize Decentranames in a variety of ways.
The primary use case purported by Decentraweb is to empower individuals to own Internet domains fully by introducing a new DNS system based on NFTs. Unlike traditional websites, Decentraweb domains are
Decentraweb allows you to host decentralized websites on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) with built-in support, where you can store and share content in a peer-to-peer manner. It also means that you can truly own your websites and use them in any way without limits.
Make Money Selling Subdomains
Once you own a Decentraname, you get to sell all the secondary domains (also called second-level domains or subdomains) as much as you want. Note that subdomains are unlimited.
Imagine if you owned the “.com” domain. All the websites that use it (including metaroids.com) have to pay you yearly for it as rent. The same can happen if you purchase a TLD from Decentraname and it gets adopted by many other users. But, you need to give them a reason to purchase from you.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but another way to make money in the web3 space if you’re willing to deliver value to others.
Wallet Address Replacement
One of the primary use cases of any name service, like Decentraweb, is to replace long and complicated wallet addresses with customized names. For example, I can change my public address to the domain name stark.metaroids, which is easy for me and my friends to remember. If I didn’t do that, my address would look something like this:
See the difference?
Decentraweb domain names are useful for sending and receiving cryptocurrencies with ease, which also helps prevent sending to the wrong address.
Web3 Identity or Personal Brand
The web3 community has a unique way of establishing a personal brand thanks to the permanence of blockchain domain names. Decentraweb promotes the same use case by recording your decentralized identity on the Ethereum blockchain, allowing you to bring your persona as you log into various web3 spaces and early metaverse platforms.
Decentraweb vs ENS and Unstoppable Domains
The Internet is full of domains, which are names linked to an IP address for easier website access. Owners can also have a subdomain, enabling them to operate a new website under the same primary domain name.
Currently, multiple naming services found opportunities in blockchain domains. Two of arguably the biggest names in the industry are the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and Unstoppable Domains. However, the emerging Decentraweb was clear on positioning itself differently from its competitors.
ENS and Unstoppable Domains own top-level domains (TLDs). ENS owns the .eth TLD while Unstoppable Domains has nine TLDs, including .crypto, .nft, .blockchain, etc. And they are all stored on the blockchain, similar to Decentraweb’s domains. However, ENS and UD don’t offer TLDs to their users. Instead, they sell second-level domains (SLDs).
Sometimes, SLDs are simply referred to as subdomains, but some sources indicate that subdomains may refer to something different, too. The terms get confusing because Decentraweb also calls SLDs subdomains. For clarity’s sake, let’s follow the format:
For instance, our founder Evan actually purchased the SLD name ‘metaroids’ from ENS. It looks like this: metaroids.eth. Do you get the picture?
Now, what if I want to purchase the TLD .metaroids instead? This brings us back to the subject matter of the article.
Decentraweb takes a different approach from ENS and Unstoppable Domains by selling TLDs instead of SLDs. Users who purchase the TLDs can, in turn, sell as many SLDs to other users and become a registrar just like GoDaddy or Namecheap.
For instance, if I buy the ‘stark’ domain name from Decentraweb, I can sell subdomains like nft.stark, play.stark, metaverse.stark, and a whole lot more. The opportunities are literally endless, but succeeding in this manner also depends on how well you can attract users to your TLD.
What is DWEB?
DWEB is the native token of Decentraweb that allows users to pay for products and services, earn interest through staking, and exercise voting rights. DWEB plays an important role in the platform’s overall ecosystem, implementing holder rewards through a 50% discount on purchasing Decentranames.
In other words, if you buy DWEB domains through other currencies, you’ll pay double the usual price.
How to Buy DWEB?
Head over to DWEB’s market page on CMC. You’ll find a list of exchanges that trade the token. Pick one and buy DWEB there.
How to Stake DWEB?
Staking DWEB allows you to earn rewards on the Decentraweb platform. In order to stake DWEB, you’ll need:
- a compatible wallet,
- $DWEB, and
- A little bit of ETH for paying transaction fees.
If you already have these three, visit the portal to begin your staking journey.
The page greets you with all the staking details, and you’ll find the Connect to a Wallet button on the upper right corner of the page; click it to start.
Once linked, choose the $DWEB amount to stake. The last step is to confirm the process. Decentraweb will instantly lock in your tokens, which lasts for seven days.
Note that staking DWEB tokens let you accrue a 35% reward from Decentraweb’s collected fees on its services (e.g., buying NFT domains). You can also do the same with a UNI-V2 token, granting you a 45% reward.
How to Buy a Domain with Decentraweb
Buying a blockchain domain name via Decentraweb is easy thanks to its user-friendly interface and straightforward steps. You can purchase any top-level domains (TLD) as NFTs as long as no one else has claimed them and they don’t already exist on ICANN.
Here are the steps to buying a Decentraname:
Type Decentraweb on your search bar to open the website. Its homepage displays the Buy NFT Domain button on the upper right corner of your screen. Click it to redirect to the portal.
Link your digital wallet
The Decentraweb portal shows a Connect button on the top-left corner (center too) of the page. Click it to link your wallet. You can always create your account for free if you don’t have one yet, but make sure to fund it with either just DWEB or DWEB and ETH to pay for your domain name and transaction fees.
Choose a domain name
Type your preferred name or address on Decentraweb’s empty bar and click Search. Please wait until the website transfers you to the next page, where you can see its availability: available, registered, or reserved.
If your NFT domain is available, you can proceed by pressing Add to Cart. You can also mark it as your favorite for easier access the next time you want to browse it.
Additional Fun Fact: You may search for an emoji as your blockchain domain. If another user has already bought it on Decentraweb, you can register it as a subdomain—only if you’re willing to pay.
Buy your NFT domain
Your transaction summary will pop up on the screen, allowing you to customize and review it. Note that the maximum registration period is only five years, but you can always renew your domain.
As you can see, Decentraweb accepts payment in either DWEB (currently on 50% discount) or ETH. Tap on Complete Purchase to proceed.
Request to Register
Scroll down to the page to find the Request to Register button, then click it. Your wallet will appear on the screen, asking you to sign or confirm the transaction. Once done, wait for one minute until Register is enabled. Tap it to finish.
Congratulations! You now have your first domain name on Decentraweb.
Buying a Subdomain on Decentraweb
We demonstrated how you can buy a Decentraweb domain, but what about a subdomain or an SLD?
For instance, if I want to buy a subdomain from the TLD “rental”. Maybe something like “sportscars.rental” or “pets.rental”.
In order to buy a subdomain, go to the Decentraweb app portal, then type in the top-level domain first.
After the TLD, you need to input the subdomain of your choosing.
Now, all you have to do is pay the price (usually $1000). You can pay in either ETH or $DWEB (50% off) and now you own the subdomain.
Could you be the owner of the next dotcom? You never know.
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