What is ENS? It’s a naming system mapping human-readable names like “mary.eth” (not my actual address) to machine-readable identifiers like Ethereum addresses.
How does the tech work? At its core, it’s effectively two smart contracts. One that’s the Registry which stores a list of all the domains and subdomains (i.e. pay.mary.eth). Each entry includes information like the owner and resolver for the domain. The second smart contract is the Resolver which does the process of translating human-readable names into addresses. Fun fact, the domains are actually NFTs so you can trade them on marketplaces.
How much does it cost to get an ENS domain? At the time of writing:
5+ character .eth names: $5 in ETH per year
4 character .eth names: $160 in ETH per year
3 character .eth names $640 in ETH per year
Where does the money I pay go?
To the ENS root node (that owns the highest top-level domains such as .ENS). At the moment, the root node is managed by a multisig contract with keys held by ~trustworthy individuals in the Ethreum community~ with i.e. the ability to update pricing for .eth names and manage registration revenue, they intend to decentralize this further in the future.
For example, post the launch of the ENS token, governance is done via the ENS DAO where token holders can create proposals.
How does ENS compare to DNS?
DNS records are stored on a centralized server while the Ethereum blockchain secures ENS records. ENS in its constitution explicitly “integrates with the global namespace” instead of trying to replace DNS. For example, you can import DNS domains you own into the ENS system (i.e. so instead of my address being mary.eth, it could be mary.com)
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