Web 3.0 domains are a pretty hot topic nowadays. While the popularity of the concept does somewhat depend on the general market sentiments at any given point in time, there’s no denying that more and more people are becoming interested in creating a Web3 identity, and are thus looking to buy Web3 domains.
Is this interest warranted, though? Specifically, are Web3 domain names worthy of the hype, and are there good reasons for why you might want to check them out? Or, is it all just speculation, and the concept will die down in a year or so?
Those are some rather common questions that crypto enthusiasts ask themselves. It’s no wonder, really - with the industry still being quite prone to speculation, trends can change in a matter of weeks, and finding something that’ll stick around for a long time can prove to be a challenge.
A good way of how you can decide whether you should buy Web3 domains or not is by understanding the pros and cons associated with this venture. And, that is exactly what we’ll be covering in this article.
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Table of Contents
- 1. What are Web3 Domains?
- 2. The PROS of Web3 Domains
- 2.1. More Than Just a Domain Name
- 2.2. Traditional Wallet Address Substitution
- 2.3. Personal Branding in Web 3.0
- 3. The CONS of Web3 Domains
- 3.1. A Lot of Dependence on The Underlying Registrar
- 3.2. Mass Adoption-Related Uncertainty
- 4. Where Can You Buy Web3 Domains?
- 5. Conclusions
What are Web3 Domains?
First things first - let’s have a quick refresher of what are Web3 domains, exactly, and why have they reached a level of popularity where even famous celebrities and notable individuals are talking about and utilizing them.
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I won’t get into the very niche details of the matter - if you’d like to learn more, we do have dedicated articles that you can check out, before continuing with this one. In short, though, while a “Web3 domain” can refer to a couple of thing, the most common association would have to do with non-fungible token-based, blockchain-powered crypto handles that serve a few different purposes.
One of those purposes is, obviously, serving as a dedicated domain name. You could argue that it’s not the primary purpose, though.
A big part of the individuals who are looking to buy Web3 domains are actually searching for a way to represent themselves in this new era of decentralized social platforms, partial anonymity, and crypto-powered metaverse projects. Allow me to elaborate.
Web 3.0 domain names are primarily crypto handles that belong to the owner, and the owner alone. While there are some exceptions to what I just said (i.e. subscription services, as opposed to one-time payments), for the sake of this tutorial, let’s focus on the status quo.
Granted that a domain name (handle) will belong exclusively to you, this means that you can use it for any and all purposes that you see fit. And, with more and more use cases for such domain names popping up, these Web3 handles are becoming a type of a representation of your Web3 persona.
Or, if you’d like the tl;dr version - many people view Web 3.0 domain names as an equivalent of their real-world names, but on the blockchain. Like usernames in a game or online forum!
Naturally, since you want to buy Web3 domains, chances are that the “domain” part of the concept is what interests you the most. However, my goal with this chapter is to let you know that the subject is quite multi-dimensional, and there are new ideas and improvements being added to it on a constant basis.
With that being said, though, let’s answer the question of should you buy Web3 domains by approaching the topic in a structured manner, and discussing the most notable pros and cons that are associated with the concept.
The PROS of Web3 Domains
Rather obviously, there are quite a few different pros (benefits, features) associated with becoming an owner of a crypto-powered domain name. It would be odd to start debating these pros without addressing the obvious elephant in the room, and talking a bit more about the fact that the domain names are multi-purpose.
More Than Just a Domain Name
As I’ve kind of glanced over earlier in this article, a big reason why people buy Web3 domains is the fact that they can be used for a wide array of different purposes.
It’s actually a bit of a tricky topic, since there are a lot of variables involved. That said, let’s take it one step at a time.
The two big use cases that can be associated with any and all Web3 domain names are the self-titled domain name utility, as well as traditional crypto wallet address substitution.
The former is quite self-explanatory - you may choose to use your newly-acquired domain name as the actual name of your website, and a custom URL that people would need to enter into their browser in order to reach that website.
It’s a big appeal factor for the entire concept! Apart from everything else, this works to help you create your identity on Web 3.0, as it both refers to a website that you might own, as well as the fact that you’re a fan of the crypto space, as a whole.
Web 3.0 identity formation will be a reoccurring topic in this “Should You Buy Web3 Domains?” tutorial. That said, let’s now look at the second feature (arguably, the more commonly-used and important one) of these domain names - wallet address substitution.
Traditional crypto wallet addresses are long, convoluted, and prone to mistakes. They are very unfriendly to the casual crypto enthusiast, and can lead to a lot of frustration.
Web3 domain names are the direct answer to this issue. With the help of dedicated crypto domain name registrars, you’ll be able to substitute your old wallet address for a brand new, easy-to-read crypto handle.
The difficult part of this is that you wouldn’t be able to use your Web3 domain names everywhere, or with any and all services out there. Instead, the supported services will depend on the partnerships and integrations made by the underlying registrar.
So, let’s say that you were to choose Unstoppable Domains, as your service provider of choice. As of writing this, the company has over 700 integrations, as well as close to 900 different partners within the space.
This, in turn, means that your options are quite plenty, when it comes to using a domain name acquired from UD. That might not necessarily be the case with some other, less-established registrar, though.
All of that being said, and on the topic of services offered and supported by Web3 domain name registrars, these domain names can come equipped with additional features, as well.
For example, if you buy Web3 domains, you might have the opportunity to create a dedicated social profile network, with the help of the registrar platform that you used. These profiles could house links to other social media accounts that you might have, your NFT collections, crypto-related achievements, and so on.
Essentially, they would serve as dedicated Web3 hubs where you could bolster your crypto-native presence. It’s certainly a notable feature, and one that many crypto enthusiasts are fans of!
Moving on, and circling back to the topic of wallet address substitution, you might think that, once you buy Web3 domains, you’ll only be able to use them as equivalents to a single wallet address that you own.
Sometimes, that might be the case. Using Unstoppable Domains as an example, once again, you would notice that the situation can also be very different, too.
UD offers its customers the ability to connect different wallet addresses (from different networks) under a single Web3 domain name. So, if you’d be using one of the supported / integrated services, if the network fits, you could enter your crypto handle in the “Recipient” tab of a transaction, instead of your old wallet address.
In other words, you would no longer need to track all of the different and complicated wallet addresses that you might possess - a single domain name could solve this issue!
Now, if you choose to buy Web 3.0 domains, you should keep in mind the fact that a lot of the aforementioned functionality will, once again, depend on the underlying registrar. That being said, with this industry evolving constantly, there are bound to be new use cases to explore, either way!
Traditional Wallet Address Substitution
I’ve mentioned the core features of Web3 domains earlier in the article, and did also talk a bit about this particular aspect, too. However, granted that it’s a huge benefit that comes with the product, when you buy Web3 domains, we should look into its significance even further.
If you’ve been interacting with crypto for some time now, I probably don’t need to hone in on the fact that traditional wallet addresses are very inconvenient. This is true both if you’re simply making a transaction, as well as if you’re trying to follow a few different people on a blockchain explorer.
Or, in other words - it’s cumbersome and confusing to both crypto beginners and industry veterans, alike.
Web 3.0 domains are the answer that the industry has come up with. Since the domain can be anything that you choose it to be (i.e. bitdegree.nft), it becomes human-readable, and much simpler to interact with.
One big point that I wanted to stress is that this isn’t necessarily only a convenience-related issue - convoluted wallet addresses can quickly become a security hazard, as well!
Throughout the short history of crypto, there have been countless stories popping up, about people mixing up wallet addresses, or mistyping a character, and thus, losing all of their funds instantly, and unrecoverably.
Of course, nowadays, the average crypto enthusiast is much more careful, since everyone is constantly talking about all-things crypto security. This, however, often isn’t enough.
Again, readable domain names, as equivalents of traditional wallet addresses, are the proposed answer. And while they do carry some security and usability concerns of their own (we’ll talk about it in a bit), if you’re looking to buy Web3 domains, you probably know that it’s the best option yet!
Personal Branding in Web 3.0
Remember when, earlier in the “Should You Buy Web3 Domains?” tutorial, I mentioned that Web 3.0 domain names can also act as a type of branding for your own, personal Web 3.0 identity?
Well, at that point, I emphasized that certain registrar platforms might allow their clients to create dedicated profiles, with the domain names acting as handles. I want to highlight that this is just a single example of the branding phenomenon - for this purpose, a Web3 domain can be used in a variety of ways.
Take Twitter, as an example. Multiple well-known and influential individuals choose to change their profile names and handles into those of crypto domain names. This way, everyone in their following is aware that this handle belongs to that individual - if a person encounters them in the Web3 space, they’re immediately recognizable!
Furthermore, since these domain names serve as wallet address equivalents, they also work to display all of the NFTs and other collectibles that you might have gathered, throughout your Web 3.0 journey. With the help of certain platforms, you can create dedicated and fully-fledged metaverse galleries showcasing all of that artwork - the possibilities are endless!
Even if you’re a casual user of crypto, and aren’t necessarily a notable public figure, you could view Web3 domain names as you would usernames in an MMO computer game. Within the game, you create a character, and tailor their journey to how you see fit. On top of that, your online friends might usually know and refer to you by your username, instead of your real name.
The exact same is true with Web 3.0 domains, too! You can craft any identity that you’d wish, with the domain name acting as the underlying handle (username) for your persona.
The CONS of Web3 Domains
It’s rather evident that Web3 domains have very specific benefits associated with them - multi-purpose functionality, wallet address replacement, Web 3.0 identity formation, designated website naming, and so on.
However, if benefits and features were all that there was to it, you probably wouldn’t be asking - should I buy Web3 domains?
Indeed - with all of the popularity that Web3 domains have managed to garner, there are still certain aspects of this industry that are, for the lack of a better term, worrying. Let’s explore the main ones, and check to see whether or not they act as dealbreakers.
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A Lot of Dependence on The Underlying Registrar
This point is, admittedly, quite ironic, especially if you view Web 3.0 domains as a gateway to complete decentralization.
As you might have guessed by now, Web3 domains are a “product” or a “service”, depending on how you view it - it’s something that you purchase, and that is then minted on the blockchain, and transferred to your wallet. The sale and minting processes are engaged by an underlying company.
So, there’s a dependence on a centralized institution to sell the Web3 domain to you. Naturally, once the sale happens, from that point onwards, you are the only one who has access to the domain name, since it’s transferred to your wallet in the form of an NFT.
That being said, though, my point here is that the aforementioned dependency doesn’t stop there, even though the domain name now belongs to you alone. In order for it to function properly and as intended, there’s still going to be a lot of reliance on the underlying registrar.
Whether it be wallet address replacement (partnerships and integrations with other projects), social profiles (dedicated section hosting), domain name functionality (website creation tools), or anything else, the registrar is going to be important, every single step of the way.
If you buy Web3 domains from a shady company, you might end up with some less-than-stellar surprises - say, one day, your domain would simply stop working, both as an actual domain, as well as a wallet address. Suddenly it becomes a super-basic NFT with absolutely no additional functionality other than the frustration that it causes.
My point here is pretty simple - with unprecedented dependence on the company that you bought your Web3 domain name from, it becomes absolutely essential to choose the right domain name registrar, both in regards to security, as well as usability and functionality factors.
Mass Adoption-Related Uncertainty
Admittedly, if you’re looking to buy Web3 domains, this is likely an aspect that you’ve already considered. That being said, granted the scale of the question, it’s worth mentioning and pondering, either way.
The realm of crypto is fast-paced, and things are changing and developing on a constant basis. There are new features and concepts being introduced seemingly every other day or so, which leads to a lot of selection - some things stick, while others get lost in obscurity.
Where do Web3 domains come in? Well, as of me writing this article, this concept, in particular, is very popular, and seems to have garnered a lot of attention and support from the general crypto community.
That being said, as you can imagine, there are still a lot of concerns regarding the longevity of these domains, and whether or not they will become the ‘standard’ format for all crypto wallet addresses, or Web 3.0-related domain names.
These concerns aren’t unwarranted, either. Even today, with all of the perceived popularity, if you’d want to visit a website that possesses a Web3 domain name, you would need to use a separate, dedicated browser extension - without it, your browser wouldn’t recognize the domain as an actual domain name.
It’s redundant, I know, but bear with me.
This lack of recognition stems from the fact that services such as ICANN do not recognize Web3 domain names as just that - domain names. In other words, they’re not part of the standard, widely-accepted domain name standard. And why is that the case? Simple - a lack of mass adoption.
An alternative issue that’s related to this has to do with domain name providers. Specifically, let’s assume that crypto-powered domain names will stick around, for good - in a scenario like this, how should you know which registrar will remain, and which will stop their business, up until that point in time?
Well… It’s a difficult question to consider! There really is no one, clear answer - all that you can make at this time are educated guesses.
Either way you look at it, while this might not be something that dissuades you from your plans to buy Web3 domains, it’s certainly worth keeping in mind and considering!
Where Can You Buy Web3 Domains?
So - we’ve talked about the pros and cons of Web3 domain names, and by now, you should have a pretty good idea of what the concept is all about.
If you’re still adamant about the fact that you want to buy Web 3.0 domains, that’s great; however, you will need to find a proper registrar in order to do so!
The situation here is actually pretty simple, if you already know what sort of an ending you want your domain to possess. This is because different registrars will allow you to use different endings - for example, since ENS offers .eth domain name subscriptions, no other company will allow you to purchase .eth domain name endings.
If you’re still unsure, and are looking for the best options that’d suit your preferences, I would recommend going with Unstoppable Domains - a brand that I’ve mentioned a few times in this article already.
This, in turn, allows you to have a much wider range of potential choices - that’s a good thing! However, it’s also not where the benefits of using Unstoppable Domains end, mind you.
UD features a one-time payment model - or, in other words, you will only need to pay once, and the domain name will belong to you forever, unless you decide to sell or get rid of it. With some other brands offering subscription services for their domains, this is certainly refreshing.
As a bit more of a general note, Unstoppable Domains is a well-known and respected name in the Web 3.0 domain name registration business, in general. The company is seen as reliable and trustworthy - this is true both from a security side of things, as well as those of convenience and feature variety, too.
Speaking of which, remember all of those features that I mentioned earlier in the “Should You Buy Web3 Domains?” tutorial? Things such as social profiles, multi-wallet address integrations, and so on? Well, Unstoppable Domains supports all of those features, and more - definitely notable!
If you’d choose to use UD as your go-to Web 3.0 domain name provider, do make sure to check out my dedicated tutorial on how to purchase your very first crypto domain with the brand.
Now, then - with everything that was mentioned in this article, both the major pros and cons of Web3 domains, as well as the services associated with them, what’s the conclusion here? Or, to go back to the main question of this tutorial - should you buy Web3 domain names?
Well, at the end of the day, it really is your choice to make, depending on your beliefs in regards to the general crypto industry. However, if there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that crypto domains have definitely warranted their levels of success and popularity.
I mean, think about it - the concept is kind of revolutionary, in the way how we view and interact with cryptocurrency wallet addresses and the concept of Web 3.0, in general!
In order for crypto to become truly mainstream, among a myriad of other things, there’s going to need to be a lot of simplification taking place - if you’re not a tech enthusiast or blockchain philosophy believer, chances are that the concepts related to crypto and Web 3.0 can appear to be extremely complex.
The domain names in question, however, work to do just that - simplify the way that we interact with the space, as well as how we make transactions on the different networks present within the ecosystem. It’s certainly a notable aspect of the entire ordeal!
Remember - if you do decide to buy Web3 domains, make sure to check out Unstoppable Domains, and the products & services that they offer! With that said, thanks for reading, and until next time!