What is an ENS and how does it work?

By December 5, 2022Ethereum
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It is a service of the Ethereum network and is directly associated with the web3, the acronym stands for Ethereum Network Service and its main purpose is to convert machine-readable identifiers into human-readable names.

In addition to making crypto transactions more convenient, faster and more agile.

ENS is a step forward in terms of making blockchain interaction more accessible. However, due to its use and growing popularity, we may witness an increase in ENS names, just like we no longer use IP addresses to access the web.

Ethereum Name Service is a Web3 blockchain system that allows users to set their own unique and memorable usernames.

Therefore, ENS intends to provide a complementary solution to DNS by using Ethereum smart contracts to govern domain name registration and resolution. With the service, you can provide a unique name to all your wallet addresses and decentralized websites. “cryptolyzerblog.eth”, for example, allows you to quickly recognize and locate wallet addresses in a distributed environment.

The owner of an ENS domain can also build subdomains to which he can assign other data. However, it does not have to be a wallet address all the time. Instead, it could be used to point to a smart contract, metadata or a transaction.

Businesses will become more transparent and user-centric thanks to Web3 hosting. It opens the door to blockchain, and in the future, individuals, applications and websites will use blockchain-based domains to allow users to access the decentralized web.

The functionality of the service is controlled by three smart contracts.

1.The registry

A single smart contract runs the ENS registry and keeps track of all domains and subdomains. The system has been kept basic on purpose, and its sole purpose is to link a name to the resolver that is responsible for it. It also stores the following three crucial pieces of information:

  • The domain owner: an external account or smart contract can be the domain owner. The domain owner can update the resolution and TTL of the domain, transfer ownership of the domain to another address, and modify the entitlement of subdomains.
  • Domain name resolvers: The process of converting names to addresses is handled by resolvers. Any contract can become a resolver if it follows specific guidelines.
  • ENS Namehash: ENS stores names as hashes, which are generated using the “namehash” method. The namehash is calculated by combining the hash of the top-level part of the ENS domain names (known as the “labelhash”) with the namehash of the other parts and then performing another hash on it.


A registrar is a smart contract that holds a domain name and can grant subdomain names to users according to rules (e.g., payment). The ENS team used Vickrey’s auction registrar and permanent registrar for .eth name registrations.

On May 4, 2017, the ENS team launched a smart contract that implements a Vickrey auction for registering names longer than six characters. The Vickrey auction is a kind of sealed bid auction in which buyers bid without knowing how many other bidders have bid, and the winner of the auction is the bidder with the highest bid who only has to pay the second highest amount.

On May 4, 2019, the ENS team introduced the “perpetual registrar” in place of the auction “registrar” to register names longer than six characters. The perpetual registrar is designed to run indefinitely until the registrar contract is replaced due to a serious failure. The billing method for .eth names was changed to an annual rental payment model, where each name will be charged USD 5 per year.

Along with the permanent registrar, the idea of the registrar controller was created to allow name owners to delegate name management. As a result, a name registered by the registrar controller can set up name and resolution records as part of the registration transaction, which simplifies the procedure.

In September 2019, another auction called short name auction began for the remaining short names with a length of 3 to 6. The ENS team used OpenSea, a well-known crypto asset marketplace, as the auction platform, with English auction as the auction method.

Bids in an English auction are open to the public and bidders can place numerous bids. The highest bidder will get the name and the amount of deposits will be the first year’s registration fee, which is considerably different from the Vickrey auction period.

3.The resolvers

The name-to-registration assignment is stored in the resolver. The “public resolvers” implemented by the ENS team have preset eight registry categories, but ENS can contain any registry.

Record categories: Address, Name, Content, hash, Text, Pubkey, ABI for contract interaction and Authoritsation.

The ENS name resolution procedure consists of two steps. First, the user who wishes to resolve the name must search the registry for the relevant resolver and then retrieve the results of the resolver resolution.

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