So maybe you just won an auction for a short .ETH name. Or you’ve been holding onto a name for a while from when we launched in 2017 (RIP your lost unrevealed bids, sorry). Maybe you’ve recently used our new instant registration feature in our official Manager. Or maybe you grabbed a free subdomain from a wallet, MEW’s giveaway, or from ENS Now.
And you’ve been wondering: so what can I actually do with this thing?
Creating and selling names is easy (and so should be done responsibly); actually creating useful features and getting ecosystem adoption is another thing. In this respect, ENS is the leading decentralized naming project.
This article is a list of those use cases: not of what we hope users could do eventually, but what they can do right now.
One name for all your cryptocurrencies 📛
The original use case for ENS was naming Ethereum addresses. That’s been working for more than two years and has been integrated in about a dozen wallets and even more dapps for a while.
The blockchain space is now multi-coin, so ENS just launched multi-coin support on mainnet, extending our address support to allow users to store any cryptocurrency address in their ENS records. This means you can use one ENS name to receive any cryptocurrency.
D’CENT Wallet was the first to integrate this feature, and many more wallets are working to integrate the new feature right now.
You can use our Manager to put your cryptocurrency addresses in your ENS name’s records.
This cements ENS’s place as the most widely adopted decentralized cryptocurrency wallet naming service by a wide margin. If you want a blockchain-based name for your cryptocurrency with the widest support in the ecosystem, we recommend getting an ENS name.
Decentralized websites 🌐
ENS has a partnership with Protocol Labs, the stewards of IPFS, a decentralized file storage protocol. With ENS as the decentralized naming service and IPFS as the decentralized file storage system, together they make the decentralized World Wide Web.
Opera has native support for this pair of protocols (and Brave says they’re working on it). If you’re using another major browser, the MetaMask browser extension will give you support. For example, if you are using Chrome with MetaMask, enter “almonit.eth/” into the URL bar and watch the magic happen.
For users who don’t have an Ethereum-enabled browser, we have set up a system so they can still access these websites by appending “.LINK” to the end of the name (e.g. almonit.eth.link).
Here’s a guide for those who want to set up their own decentralized website.
Tor .onion websites 🤐
Trying to get human-readable .onion addresses has been an ongoing problem for many years in the Tor community, given the high bar for security. Since ENS is a decentralized naming service that solves Zooko’s Triangle, ENS is a helpful tool to solve this problem today.
Add a Tor .onion address to your ENS records in the Content field (how to do this); then, if you are using the Tor Browser with MetaMask enabled, just enter the .ETH name in the URL bar, and it should resolve to the .onion website.
To show off this feature, we have set up ten ENS names pointing to popular .onion websites. And since if you’re using .onion websites in the Tor Browser security is likely a high priority for you, we have a longer discussion about the security trade-offs here.
Text records 📝
Our text records functionality allows you to voluntarily add various kinds of personal information to your ENS records.
So far, we support eight text records types, as defined here. They are: email address, web address, avatar, description, notice, keywords, Twitter username, and Github username.
We plan on eventually supporting arbitrary text record types, but in the meantime we’re interested to see how people make use of this first set of types.
This is just the functionality we have right now. We are working on new functionality and more adoption all the time, so stay tuned for more ways to use your ENS names.
ENS is an open-source project managed by a non-profit organization. We view ENS as a public good, a basic piece of Internet infrastructure that serves not only the blockchain community but also potentially the whole Internet. Among other things, this means we want feedback and contributions from the community at large.
In the meantime, we encourage you to grab a name and start using it today!