Maybe you’re just catching up with all this blockchain, smart contracts, DAO stuff, but you need to keep up because there seems to be a new gold rush in ethereum spurred by the launch of the Ethereum Name Service (ENS).
It’s barely a week old, but it already secures some $13.5 million. That’s for just 22,500 names, attracting around 10,000 bids. One of them is for $2.6 million, but we don’t quite know yet what name they so desperately crave.
The highest bid we know is for exchange.eth which went for $600,000. Hopefully the exchange is a reputable one, although it could be just a very rich squatter because we don’t really know who is bidding.
This whole thing just runs by itself. The bids aren’t paying anyone; the money isn’t transferred to anyone. It’s instead locked in a deed smart contract and can be retrieved after one year by just releasing the name.
The whole thing is itself an ethereum based smart contract created by Nick Johnson and Alex Van Sande, both ethereum developers. It’s currently having a slow live deployment, with training wheels, just in case some part of the code plays up. In around two years, it is meant to be finalized.
That means domain names are slowly being rolled out and no domain of less than seven letters will be released before the registrar finalizes. Until then, you can bid on the longer names and if you secure one, say cryptocoinsnews.eth, you can just ask people to send you eth to that address directly.
So you won’t need to copy paste that stupendously and completely unmemorable random mixture of letters and numbers we call a public address. People, instead, can just send you funds to randomaddress.eth.
Smart contracts can make use of these names too and eventually it might have DNS capabilities so perhaps you can browse exchange.eth and buy some bitcoin – sorry I mean buy some of the many eth tokens.
Now, both Johnson and Alex are very capable developers, but at the rate this thing is growing – it was $1 million total bids just two or three days ago – it might be holding some considerable amount measured perhaps in hundreds of millions.
So, hopefully it’s very secure because we’ve watched that movie once and, you know, twice it gets boring. They’ve published some audits. They also have a root keyholders system which allows them to “take necessary action in the case of an unforeseen emergency, such as a critical vulnerability in one of the root registrars or the ENS registry itself.”
But, we’ve heard all that before. Anyway, bids are at the bidders own risk, but no one seems to have much patience in this space. Oh well, all you can do is dance while the music is playing I guess. Perhaps drink while the champagne is flowing too. Actually, DJ, why don’t you turn the volume up. It’s Friday, it’s the 90s, and a doteth boom is underway.