The Timeline of an ENS Bid

A Visual Timeline of an Ethereum Name Service Bid

Still wondering how the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) bid process works? This visual timeline shows you each step of the process.

The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is live. It’s been running on the Ethereum Mainnet since May 4, 2017. This timeline is a visual guide to each step in the bid process.

Day 0 — Auction Starts

The auction for an Ethereum name starts when —

1 — The name becomes available

Check name availability by entering the name here.

And —

2 — An auction is started

The earliest an auction can be started is on the day the name becomes available. An auction can be started any time after the day the name becomes available.

Both criteria need to be satisfied for an auction to start. The rest of the bid clock starts ticking once the auction starts.

For example -

  • If a name becomes available on 1 July 2017, however
  • The auction isn’t started until 1 August 2017,
  • The bid clock doesn’t start ticking until 1 August 2017.

Additional bids can be placed for 72 hours after the auction starts. The bid period closes after 72 hours. Bids can’t be placed after the bid period closes.

Day 3 — Reveal Period Starts

The reveal period starts 72 hours after the auction starts. It lasts for 48 hours.

Anyone who placed a bid during the bid period MUST REVEAL THEIR BID DURING THE REVEAL PERIOD. THE BIDDER LOSES 99.5% OF THE BID PRICE, If a bid is not revealed during this period.

Day 5 — Auction is Finalized

The auction is finalized after the reveal period. The bidder who placed the highest REVEALED bid becomes the name owner. The name owner pays an amount equal to the SECOND HIGHEST BID to own the domain.

For example, let’s say 3 bidders bid for thisname.eth -

  • Bidder A bids 1 ETH and reveals bid
  • Bidder B bids 2 ETH and reveals bid
  • Bidder C bids 3 ETH and reveals bid
  • Bidder D bids 4 ETH and FAILS TO REVEAL BID

Bidder C would become owner of thisname.eth and pay 2 ETH.

An auction can be finalized any time after the reveal period. However, until an auction is finalized, the name owner —

  • Can’t use the name
  • Isn’t refunded their extra funds

The extra fund amount is the difference between the owner’s bid mask amount and actual winning amount.

A Note on the Bid Mask

A bid mask amount can be specified during the bid process. It’s only used to mask the actual bid price. The bid mask price is refunded IF the bidder -

  • Reveals their bid

And —

  • Loses the bid

In this case the bid mask is refunded immediately and automatically after the reveal period ends.


  • Wins the bid and finalizes the auction

What’s next?

The current registrar is a temporary registrar. It will be replaced by the permanent registrar some time in the future. This specification explains the reasoning behind starting with a temporary registrar. Keep up with the latest developments in the ENS Gitter channel.

Have questions? Ask them in the ENS Gitter channel.