Web3 domains are the key that allows everyone to surf the Web built on the blockchain. This solution has much in common with NFTs, so let’s firstly find out what NFTs are and how they work, and then understand what properties of blockchain-based domains make them crucial to the future of the internet.
What are NFTs?
You may have heard about ‘NFT’ images from your friends or in the news, but what exactly are they? NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique digital assets that are stored on a blockchain. The term NFT actually stands for ‘non-fungible token’, i.e. one that cannot be replaced with something else, as in the case for a work of art or a passport. Fungible assets, such as a banknote or a gold bar, on the other hand, can easily be replaced by another identical object.
Each NFT on a blockchain contains identification codes and metadata that distinguish it from others and cannot be replicated or modified. It’s the nature of these properties, derived from their technology, that make NFTs non-fungible.
To create an NFT and thus register it on a blockchain, a so-called minting process is required. When a digital asset is minted on the blockchain, it becomes a token that is stored in the wallet of the person who created or minted it. This is why NFT minting corresponds to ‘tokenising‘ traditional assets in order to transpose them onto the blockchain. Non-fungible tokens can be tracked and verified by the network, which makes them secure and difficult to forge. In particular, NFTs provide proof of authenticity or ownership of a specific unique asset. Now that we have an idea of what NFTs are, let’s try to understand what possibilities they might open up.
What NFTs are for: features and use cases
Compared to simple files or digital assets, NFTs have three main advantages:
- Transparency, as their ownership can be verified by anyone on the blockchain.
- Portability, allowing for the quick and easy transfer of assets between users, mainly due to blockchain interoperability.
- Decentralisation, because they are not controlled by any centralised authority, but are based on the distributed networks of blockchains.
But what are NFTs for? They were certainly not invented to gather dust in your wallet. NFTs can be used to digitise assets, monetise intellectual property and verify the authenticity of physical assets on the Internet.
As state of the art technologies, NFTs can have different functions. Let’s look at some examples of NFTs, i.e. tokenised objects on blockchain:
- Documents and certificates (licences, diploma);
- Collector’s items (art, sport, luxury);
- Real estate (of the virtual or physical world);
- Tickets for events of all kinds.
Is everything clear so far? If the answer is no, take some time and learn more about the topic by reading our article on what NFTs are and how they work.
Domain names on the Internet can also be non-fungible tokens that fulfil the function of a digital identity. Let’s find out what a Web3 domain is and what its other purposes are.
Web3 domains: what are they and how do they work?
Traditional Internet domains, like the ones we are used to in Web2, are simply the website addresses we type into our browsers, i.e. names like youngplatform.com. However, they can also be much more, evolving into Web3 domains, also called NFT domains or blockchain domains.
The development of blockchain technology opens up a new realm of possibilities on the web, particularly for domains. Web3 domains are essentially a suite of smart contracts, a fancy term for software developed on a blockchain. The fact that these domains are blockchain-based means that you control the domain instead of a company. This is because owners of Web3 domains hold exclusive power over the data associated with it. Moreover, being built on the blockchain, anyone can view the data stored on the Web3 domain with a level of transparency that still respects the privacy of the owner, thanks to encryption. Added to this is the added security advantage: only you have the power to make updates and changes to your Web3 domain. No one can censor the content or change the privacy policies of the domain you own without your knowledge.
In essence, thanks to the superpowers of blockchain, a way has finally been found to offer everyone a safer way to surf the Internet. All the while giving people back control over what is shared and where it is shared.
3 key Web3 domain use cases
In addition to being able to host a decentralised website, Web3 domains are versatile and offer their owners many advantages. These include a simplified Web3 experience, complete data ownership and a form of digital identity. But let’s understand this further by starting with an example that concerns you directly if you own cryptocurrencies.
When participating in Web3, you need a crypto wallet with which to store your cryptocurrencies or NFTs and to be able to make transactions. Wallet addresses are composed of long and complicated alphanumeric strings such as bc1qw508d6qejxtdg4y5r3zarvary0c5xw7kv8f3t4, which are difficult to remember. Therefore, sending and receiving crypto payments may be prone to mistakes, as wallet addresses must be copied and pasted very carefully each time.
What’s more, since Web3 is decentralised, it lacks a central control authority (such as a bank). The slightest address error could therefore result in the loss of cryptocurrencies or NFTs, with no chance of recovery. For this reason, it is crucial to be very careful during transactions, or to simplify the process by using a Web3 domain.
In fact, Web3 domains replace these long and complicated addresses with readable names, such as alice.crypto or mario.x. These names simplify procedures and reduce the chances of mistakes when sending or receiving tokens.
Unstoppable Domains is one of the most popular and innovative services dealing with this technology: an Unstoppable Web3 domain can be used to send and receive over 275 coins and tokens on multiple blockchain networks, or as a wallet for NFTs.
There are other advantages in addition to safekeeping, linked to the discussion of personal data in the previous paragraphs.
The ‘single sign-on’ functionality, for instance, allows access to more than 270 decentralised applications (DApps) with a single account, represented by your own Web3 domain.
This means that the days of Web2 are coming to an end. Time to say goodbye to hundreds of usernames and passwords for each site you visit, where control over your data is subject to limited cookie policies. Instead, it will be possible to have control over the personal data you share with the websites you visit.
It doesn’t end there. We said that Web3 is all about owning and maintaining control of your personal data, but you still often need to share an email address to receive important updates from apps, games and your favourite metaverse. This makes it more difficult to know who has access to your email address and to manage your subscriptions.
Again, there is a solution for this designed by Unstoppable Domains. Every Unstoppable Web3 domain also provides an @ud.me address, with which you can send emails anonymously, without revealing your actual email address. Thanks to some integrations, it is also possible to use it on common email providers such as Gmail, or with end-to-end encrypted services such as Skiff.
Simplified storage, a single proprietary account and a private email service: this is just a teaser of the potential of blockchain domains in Web3. The rest is to be developed and discovered together.