I compare ENS Domains vs Unstoppable Domains to see what they’ve in common and how they differ.
Are you considering picking up your first crypto or NFT domain? A few popular private and decentralized services exist. You can use the Ethereum Name Service or try a commercial service like Unstoppable Domains. But what’s the right choice? And do you even need one of these domains?
I’ve purchased NFT domains via the Ethereum Name Service and Unstoppable Domains. I started testing their various use cases to see if my purchases were worth the time and expense.
This article explains the pros and cons of using either service.
What Is the ENS Domain Name Service?
You can buy a .ETH domain name like bryanjcollins.eth and use that instead of remembering a string of characters and numbers.
This type of domain is useful for creating memorable cryptocurrency addresses and then sending and receiving BTC, ETH, and NFTs safely. It also acts as a type of login for various NFT and web 3.0 websites. And NFT and web 3.0 influencers, like Paris Hilton, use these domains on Twitter and Discord.
You can set an .ETH domain to a .com website, too. More technically minded developers use Ethereum or ENS domains to build decentralized applications.
Although an ENS domain is technically free, buyers must cover the cost of gas or Gwei for using the Ethereum blockchain and managing a domain.
I spent approximately $70 in gas buying bryanjcollins.eth for five years. I spent a little more adding various text records like my website URL and Twitter handle. If you’re buying a domain, wait until Gwei is low (<100) or buy it for several years to reduce costs.
Connect your Metamask or software wallet with some Ethereum to the ENS site to purchase an ENS domain name. Search for a suitable web 3.0 or .ETH domain and purchase it, if available. In late 2021, ENS completed an airdrop to drive up adaption, so a surprising number of web 3.0 domains are already taken.
After signing the transaction in your wallet, you gain full and permissionless custody over your domain. Now, you’re the proud owner of an NFT that you can manage, transfer and even sell using your software or hardware wallet. You can even add subdomains.
I picked up an ENS domain name and transferred it from one wallet to another for a small Gas fee. I was also pleased to see I could manage my ENS domain using other web 3.0 services like MyEtherWebWallet.
Your ENS domain is entirely on-chain. So, plug your address in Etherscan.io to see its contents. No one can take it off you unless you purchased it for a set period and forget to renew.
An ENS domain isn’t a replacement for a .com or standard domain. The content on a decentralized website doesn’t index correctly in Google Search results or even resolve easily via a web browser. You can, however, set up a redirect.
Here you can read my guide for ENS domain name use cases. In the below video, I also walk you through buying an ENS domain.
- Great for sending and receiving cryptocurrencies and NFTs
- Widely regarded in the web 3.0 space
- Anyone can buy an ENS domain if not in use by another individual
- Widely supported across web 3.0
- Interacting with a domain incurs gas fees
- Not a replacement for a .com
- Only supports BTC, ETH, LTC and Doge payments
What Are Unstoppable Domains?
Unstoppable Domains is a private company founded by Matthew Gould and Bogdan Gusiev in 2019. You can use it to buy cryptocurrency or NFT domains. It doesn’t sell .ETH domains. Instead, you can buy:
Like ENS domains, no one can seize an Unstoppable Domain purchase from you. You can also transfer it anywhere, although support for the above extensions is more limited.
At first glance, buying a domain name on Unstoppable Domains is somewhat akin to purchasing a standard domain on Namecheap or GoDaddy. First, come up with several potential domain names. Then, search for them and see what’s available based on your preferred top-level domain extension.
Unstoppable domains claim customers only have to pay $5 to buy a domain and not incur renewal fees. The part about renewal fees may be true, but many of its domains retail at a premium. For example, it’d cost me over $800 upwards to buy variations of “wgmi” for some of its top-level domains.
Read my guide to common NFT words.
Unstoppable Domains also owns many domains directly or protects the owner’s identity under their brand, which is an anathema to the spirit of web 3.0.
Not every domain costs this much. I purchased bryancollins.crypto and paid a once-off fee of $40. Shorter NFT domains, much like standard .com domains, are more expensive than longer or less popular terms. Either pay a premium to acquire one or find a more affordable domain.
In short: a purchase on Unstoppable Domains can work out more expensive than acquiring one via ENS.
The checkout process is relatively standard, i.e. add it to your cart and checkout via Stripe or Paypal. Alternatively, you can pay with BTC or ETH.
If you’re buying a personal domain, consider picking up one version for a website and another extension like .wallet for sending and receiving cryptocurrencies.
Previously Unstoppable Domain customers also had to cover the cost of gas to mint their purchase. I paid an additional $60 or so to claim my domain name via the Ethereum blockchain.
The company wants to remove this barrier for customers, So, in November 2021, Unstoppable Domains moved its domain minting process to Polygon. Now, you can mint it for free. The minting process takes a few minutes to verify on the blockchain.
Like an ENS domain, your purchase exists on the blockchain. You can manage it via a dashboard and secure it with two-factor authentication.
In the Unstoppable Domains dashboard, you can add information like your Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) addresses, as well as addresses for dozens of other cryptocurrencies. Now, you can share this wallet to accept payments. You don’t need to use a software wallet to do any of this.
Unstoppable Domains enables users to add a website. This is a rather limited use case as these websites don’t index in Google search results. Instead, it’s better to set up a direct to a .com or a traditional website, although that task is a little more complicated than setting up a standard redirect.
You can link a domain to a Twitter account, upload an NFT and use it as a verified avatar. Unstoppable Domains has great tutorials for all of this, and it doesn’t cost gas fees. Finally, you can list an NFT domain for sale on Unstoppable Domains or OpenSea, if you believe it has value.
Unstoppable Domains claims over 1.9 million registered customers, 100 integrations and support for 275 coins and tokens. On the other hand, ENS domains claim 647,000 users, 458 integrations, and 278 ENS domain name owners. So it seems like Unstoppable Domains is bigger than ENS.
However, spend any time on NFT or Web 3.0 Twitter or Discord, and you’ll discover the vast majority use .ETH domains rather than .crypto or some other less known cryptocurrency extension.
That’s not saying these domains don’t have value, but .ETH domains are more widely regarded in the space. They’re also reconized by more web 3.0 services and websites.
It’s questionable if its various blockchain domains will achieve the same level of adoption as ENS.
Watch my Unstoppable Domains tutorial.
- Easier to use than ENS
- No gas fees
- Support for dozens of cryptocurrencies
- Less adoption than ENS
- Many domains retail at a premium
- Most available domains are owned by Unstoppable Domains, i.e. they’re not truly decentralized or in the spirit of Web 3.0
ENS Domains Vs Unstoppable Domains: The Final Word
Unstoppable Domains and the Ethereum Name Service provide somewhat competing services. ENS is to Unstoppable Domains what Linux is to Apple.
If you simply want a domain name for sending and receiving cryptocurrency and dislike using digital wallets and keys, consider Unstoppable Domains. It’s relatively easy to pick up your personal name and use it to manage a digital wallet. You also don’t need to worry about gas or Gwei fees.
However, if you’re more invested in the space, care about web 3.0 and dislike a brand buying domains and selling them at a profit, use ENS. It’s also usually cheaper, but remember to factor in the cost of gas into your NFT domain purchase.