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Unstoppable Domains are Next Generation Internet Tech

Censorship resistance is long hailed as one of the core use cases of the underlying technology of cryptocurrency, blockchain. Now, one company has tackled censorship resistance from a whole new angle. Unstoppable Domains is a company aiming to bring the decentralized internet to the masses. What they are doing is really quite impressive considering which technologies needed to be cobbled together to manifest a truly decentralized internet. While a decentralized internet has been attempted several times in the past, it appears it is only possible after a number of other technologies exist. Those technologies are cryptocurrencies to enable payments, the interplanetary file system (IPFS) for hosting, and the Unstoppable Domains application itself.

Unstoppable Domains Logo

The Infrastructure of the Internet 

Contrary to popular understanding of how the internet works, there is not just one internet. There are several. For example, there is the “main” internet, consisting of sites like Google, and Facebook. Then there is the dark web, consisting of sites ending in the web extension .onion. Then there is the deep web, which consists of alphanumeric addresses and IP addresses of all kinds. The later two (deep and dark), are more or less resistant to censorship because of how they’re built, maintained, and hosted. The majority of sites on the main internet are subject to action taken by regulatory bodies.

For those of us who are not computer scientists and architects of the internet, this next bit is an explainer of how the internet fits together. To most of us, the internet is pure magic, as when you enter a website in the url bar, everything happens automagically. What is happening behind the scenes is your browser is looking up the domain in an index, or a table of contents called the domain name server (DNS). That DNS is telling your browser where exactly to request the HTML and Javascript that makes up the site. All of this takes place within milliseconds of you hitting GO. 

One of the issues is that a limited number of top level domains are sanctioned by a centralized entity. Have you ever wondered why .com is the main top level domain that companies use? Yes we have .edu, and .gov, but what if you wanted to create a site called delicious.pie? You couldn’t because the .pie extension doesn’t exist. In theory any word of any length can be a top level domain. New top level domains are being added all the time by ICANN, but it is a slow process.

ICANN and Top Level Domains

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the nonprofit organization in charge of adding new top level domains to Domain Name Servers. Now if we know anything about centralized entities, they are subject to corruption, censorship, and are slow at moving forward in general. Due to the unprecedented growth of the blockchain industry, crypto based applications are requiring next generation internet infrastructure to run smoothly. That is what Unstoppable Domains is building, the next generation of the internet. Unstoppable Domains aims to make cryptocurrency simpler for new users, and provide a more robust version of the internet.

The Interplanetary File System (IPFS)

IPFS is a decentralized network of computers that host fragments of websites, rather than the whole site. The idea is that if the entire site is hosted in one location, on one server, it is subject to censorship, and can be shut down more easily. This is certainly an issue that several free speech and free information platforms have run into in the past. Sites such as wikileaks and piratebay are two such sites. Now, despite what you may think of the aforementioned entities, it could just as easily happen to a site that is promoting a narrative that runs counter to government enforced narratives. The IPFS takes care of censorship by breaking your site into a number of smaller pieces, and reassembles them when someone requests your site in a browser.

The Benefits of Unstoppable Domains

Unstoppable Domains have no doubt stumbled upon a better model for domain name management. For starters, they’ve enabled the .crypto, and .zil top level domains. However, you currently need a chrome browser extension to browse decentralized internet websites. These domain names are actually ERC-721 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. These domains are hosted on Ethereum, which means that they are easily transferable and solely owned by an Ethereum address. The icing on the cake is that no one can take away your domain name. It is wholly and solely owned by you.

No Renewal Fees

If you’re a manager of domain names for your company, or your private business then you know that every year, you need to renew your domain name for way more than you think it’s worth. Unstoppable domains only ever need to be purchased once. No renewal fees. This alone should entice domain name managers to consider purchasing a domain name for their company or brand. It is a one time purchase that has a high likelihood of proving to be valuable for the future of the brand. This goes double for companies operating within the cryptocurrency space.

Simpler Transactions

These domain names actually enable much simpler transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. One of the complaints given by many new users of cryptocurrency is how difficult it is to comprehend sending money to a string of numbers and letters. Since Unstoppable domains are essentially Ethereum addresses, they can also receive money. This greatly simplifies the process of sending money to an Ethereum address. No more copy and pasting the long string that starts with 0x. Now, you can send money straight to a human readable name such as keegan.crypto. This is a huge step for making the user experience of cryptocurrency more familiar for new users.

The Future of Domains

There is no doubt that in the future there will be thousands upon thousands of custom top level domains. I like to think of Unstoppable Domains as smart domains. Not only can you visit a website associated with the website, but those domains are also addresses that can receive money. What happens when the .bitcoin domain gets enabled? It is really only a matter of time before people start reserving and hosting their own top level domains. These domains will enable a whole new world of internet functionality. All in all, Unstoppable Domains are a much better Internet Infrastructure.