OpenAlias, the best cryptocurrency wallet feature you’ve never heard of

Clearly OpenAlias doesn’t have VC money to waste on a logo
One of these is slightly easier to remember

Is this just a Monero thing?

Absolutely not. But the Monero ecosystem has been the fastest to adopt this open standard.

What about Namecoin?

Namecoin has allowed users to register domains on their blockchain far before Unstoppable Domains, ENS, and even Ethereum have existed.

What does the TXT record look like?

  • OA1: required; indicates OpenAlias use
  • XMR: the asset to return the address for
  • recipient_address: the address for all related lookups to be forwarded to
  • recipient_name: optional name to appear in most wallets
  • tx_description: optional description to appear in most wallets

Do I need to use DNSSEC?

Yes. Without DNSSEC, someone can try to give false addresses in place of your real one. If your domain registrar doesn’t support DNSSEC, ditch them.

Does Unstoppable Domains use the OpenAlias standard?

No, by default, it does NOT use the OpenAlias standard! But they could in theory.

Benefits to using OpenAlias

  • It’s an open standard that’s been around longer than Ethereum
  • Works for existing, legacy domain infrastructure and could work on blockchain domain infrastructure as well if the standard is followed
  • DNS records reachable with any internet connection
  • Easier implementation in wallets
  • Broader array of TLDs to choose from
  • Highly configurable
  • Highly supported in some ecosystems (eg: Monero)
  • No need to pay gas fees to update address records
  • Easily add addresses for several hostnames (eg: separate XMR addresses for justin.ehrenhofer.org and nathan.ehrenhofer.org)

Benefits to using Unstoppable Domains

  • Standards are pretty easy to understand
  • Pay once, have the domain and address record forever
  • Very difficult to have the record censored/removed
  • Supported more broadly outside the Monero ecosystem, especially Bitcoin and Ethereum

How do I add my own OpenAlias record?

You need the following to create an OpenAlias record:

  • Your own domain
  • A domain registrar that supports DNSSEC
  • The ability to add TXT records
  • A strong password + 2FA on your domain registrar login :)
  • Host name: the prefix to the domain you want to use. If you want to tell people to pay domain.com, leave this blank. If you want to tell people to pay name@domain.com, use “name”. I do not recommend setting up OpenAlias without a subdomain if you intend to use several subdomains with OpenAlias.
  • Type: TXT
  • TTL: leave default, or set to 3600 seconds (1 hour)
  • Data: “oa1:BTC recipient_address=ADDRESS; recipient_name=NAME; tx_description=DESCRIPTION;”
I genuinely like Google Domains, sorry

Tell your friends and family!

Tell your friends and family who already own a domain about OpenAlias. Or better yet, add them to your domain if it makes sense. That way you can pay them back far simpler!

 by the author.

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Justin Ehrenhofer

Justin Ehrenhofer

VP Operations, Cake Wallet; Moderator, r/CryptoCurrency