The Ethereum blockchain. I’d heard about it, but I didn’t understand it.
I suppose I still don’t truly understand it, at least not the mathematical and technical concepts behind it. I doubt I ever will.
That goes for most things though. We can’t devote 10,000 hours (or whatever the next magic number will be) to every little topic that tickles our fancy!
However, I did manage to devote a bit of time to improving my understanding of blockchain technology. I signed up for a 14-day trial with Blockgeeks, and I’d highly recommend the site if you want a solid, beginner-friendly introduction to the blockchain.
For me, it was Ethereum that caught my eye. I also heard a great conversation between Vitalik Buterin (co-founder of Ethereum) and Eric Weinstein.
I wanted to get involved!
To interact with the Ethereum blockchain in any way, you need some ETH (the currency), so I got myself a small amount.
I won’t go deep into the world of Ethereum in this post, because I want to focus on just one aspect - ENS Domains.
In order to send or receive ETH, you need an address. Other people can then use this address to send you ETH, and you can send ETH to their address.
An ETH address looks something like this:
That’s not exactly aesthetically pleasing. If someone wants to send you some ETH, they need to enter that address. That’s fine if you copy and paste, but it’s not very memorable.
This is where an ENS Domain comes in handy. After a few steps, you can purchase your own domain, which serves as a more human-readable, and memorable, address.
Now, if someone wants to send me some ETH, they can send it to:
It’s linked to a long address like the one from earlier, but it just feels more real.
It’s similar to how traditional websites work. All websites are hosted at an IP address, but it would be far too confusing and time consuming to have to type in the IP address of every website you want to visit. So, instead, we type in something like bbc.co.uk. Easy.
Meanwhile, it’s fun to have your own little address on the blockchain that looks different from all the others. Or at least I find it fun.
I also think it’s a good step towards demystifying the whole blockchain landscape. A lot of people associate it (or Bitcoin at least) with dodgy dealings and illegal activity.
Having a human-readable name, such as mine above, lends it some kind of authenticity or ownership.
If you fancy your own ENS Domain, head over to https://app.ens.domains. If it’s five letters or longer, it shouldn’t cost more than around $5.
A bargain price for a piece of the (maybe) future.