To draw attention to the recent surge in domain names, ENS developer Nick Johnson contrasted two milestones in ENS history: that it had taken five years to amass one million domain names, while it took only 3.5 months to reach two million.
In May 2022, Johnson revealed that key metrics for ENS were at an all-time high, including registrations, renewals, and revenue.
ENS domain names can function as NFTs, website addresses, or cryptographic hashes. Their application as website addresses can be likened to how so-called Web 2 addresses replaced clunky Internet Protocol Addresses for accessing resources on the internet. Instead of typing in a crypto wallet address to send funds, the sender can use the recipient’s ENS address. ENS domain names end in “.eth” and have to be minted on the Ethereum blockchain as NFTs. They are tradeable on secondary NFT marketplaces.
Accessing a .eth domain requires a crypto-native browser such as Brave.
Almost 380,000 new registrations in August
On Aug. 19, 2022, ENS DAO, the community responsible for the maintenance and support of ENS domains, said it was looking for a DAO endowment manager to ensure the sustainability of the community even in the absence of new registrations.
The most expensive ENS domain so far has been “paradigm.eth,” costing the owner 420 ETH in Oct. 2021, shortly before Ethereum hit an all-time high of $4,800 on Nov. 10, 2022.
ENS also allows an NFT to be associated with a .eth domain. The growth in users attaching NFTs as profile pictures hit about 12,000 in Aug. 2022, superseding 10,700 in May 2022.
Exclusive clubs form around domain name groups
In May, Johnson said ENS had reached critical mass in adoption, with most wallets supporting it, improving the usability. Interest in ENS domains has seen an uptick since April 2022, with exclusive clubs like the 10k club forming, including members having domain names between ‘0000’ and ‘9999.’ Other notable groups are Ethmoji 99, with two-character domain names between 0 and 99, and the 999 Club, with three-character ENS names, from 000-999.
Famous individuals owning an ETH domain are Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, and Chain CEO Deepak Thapliyal. All have linked their Twitter profiles to their ENS names.
Similar to domain names on Web 2, a fee must be paid regularly to the ENS DAO treasury in USD to maintain ownership of an ENS domain. Being an NFT, minting ENS domain names also incurs a once-off gas fee.
Buterin tweeted in Aug. 2020 that three and four-letter ENS names are assets with fixed supplies and have notable utility.