With NFTs, people usually think of art, collectibles, and game items. But there’s another category people often miss: ENS names.
In fact, .ETH names were NFTs before there were “NFTs”: .ETH names — which are by their very nature non-fungible — launched in May 2017, but the now popular ERC721 standard wasn’t proposed until eight months later in January 2018. In May 2019, .ETH names were then migrated to the ERC721 standard to take advantage of the growing ecosystem using it.
A Useful NFT
This isn’t to say that other NFTs aren’t useful; but an ENS name is generally not something you just collect, it’s something you use.
You can use your ENS name to receive any cryptocurrency, token, or blockchain-based item (like NFTs), point to a decentralized website (how to surf the decentralized web, e.g. almonit.eth.link), or store profile information like an avatar, email address, or Twitter handle. Since it can store any arbitrary information, ultimately any person or project can have their own ENS record.
And, if you have reverse resolution set up (go to My Account in our Manager App), your ENS name can be displayed automatically as your username when you login to dapps like Uniswap.
As of this writing, ENS is integrated for use in 175 services (see the “ENS Ecosystem” section of our homepage), which is more than several multiples of all other blockchain naming projects combined.
Because Your Name Is an NFT…
ENS names being NFTs means they easily plug-in to the ever-expanding NFT ecosystem. (This is one reason why ENS is on Ethereum rather than having its own bespoke blockchain.)
NFT market? You can trade ENS names there. Wallet that displays your NFTs? You can see your ENS names alongside your other NFTs (screenshot below is from the NFT “Collectibles” section of my Coinbase Wallet). A project that uses NFTs as collateral? An ENS name can do it. ENS names can be easily owned and transferred by individual Ethereum accounts, multisigs, DAOS, et al.
Anything you can do with an NFT, you can do with an ENS name — plus everything unique that an ENS name does (like receiving crypto payments, as explained above).
How To Get Your Own .ETH Name
Getting your own .ETH name is easy. You’ll need an Ethereum wallet with some ETH.
Go to our Manager App (app.ens.domains), login (click Connect on the top left), and search for a name. If it’s available, you can register it in just a few minutes (though watch out for high Ethereum network fees right now). If it’s already registered, search for a different name, or look for it on a secondary market like OpenSea.
If you register a new name, it will automatically set the ETH Address record to the Ethereum address that registered it. If that’s all you wanted to do, you’re done! If you want to add other crypto addresses, click “Add/Edit Record” on your name’s page. You can also set a reverse record on your My Accounts page if you don’t have that for one of your ENS names yet (you can only have it for one ENS name per Ethereum account).
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Reminder that ENS Names Are NFTs: What This Means for Your Names was originally published in The Ethereum Name Service on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.