You may have spotted a Twitter handle with the user's name followed by ".ETH"; it's a trend growing in popularity among crypto enthusiasts on the social media platform. You're witnessing something called the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain craze.
What, exactly, is an ENS domain? Well, if someone wanted to pay you in ETH, the Ethereum blockchain's native coin, you'd have to give them your public Ethereum wallet address — a long, alphanumeric string of characters that is boring and lacks personalization. Instead, you can swap that ho-hum address for an ENS domain. For example, our ENS domain would be "LaptopMag.eth" — much better than its lengthier alternative.
How to buy an .ETH domain
I've been seeing .eth as the suffix of many Twitter handles, but I was completely out of the loop about the ENS domain craze until a representative from Ledger, a crypto hardware wallet company, told me that they're simply swapping their Ethereum public wallet addresses for something much less long-winded.
He told me how to register my Ethereum address as an ENS domain; now I will pass on that knowledge to you. Before diving into these instructions, make sure you have a Metamask wallet funded with sufficient ETH (Here's how to set up a Metamask wallet).
1. Go to the ENS official website here.
2. Click on "Go to App," located at the top-right corner of the page.
3. Completing step two will prompt a Metamask window to appear. Click the account with the associated Ethereum address you'd like to transform into an ENS domain. Click on Connect.
4. Click on Connect (yes, another one) located on the top-left corner followed by the Metamask button.
5. On the top-left corner, you'll see the last four digits of your Ethereum address connected to the ENS website. Make sure it's the correct one.
6. In the "Search Names and Addresses" field, input the name that you'd like to attach to ".eth" and click Search. This will take you to a new page that will inform you whether your name is available or not.
7. If it's available, click on the domain name to continue the ENS process.
8. Select how long you'd like to keep this name registered to your Ethereum address. For simplicity, we've selected one year for LaptopMag.eth, which sets us back 0.002 ETH ($6.45). The total cost is over $66 due to gas fees. (Gas fees vary depending on how congested the network is; late nights typically yield cheaper gas fees).
9. Click on Request to Register, which will prompt your Metamask window to pop up. It will ask whether or not you agree with the pricing and want to continue with the ENS process. If so, hit Confirm.
10. Once you've completed step 9, you'll have to wait for the Ethereum protocol to process your transaction. On a good day, this can take a few minutes. During less auspicious times, it can take hours.
11. Once the Ethereum blockchain processes your request, it will trigger the ENS site to carry on with the registration. There will be a one-minute wait period. (This ensures no other person tried to register with the same name.)
12. After the one-minute wait, you'll be prompted to pay another fee for reserving the ENS domain. Once you've done that, you'll get a final page that says, "You've completed all the steps! Manage your name now."
Now, anyone should be able to send NFTs or ETH-based crypto (e.g., Shiba Inu) to your new ENS domain without the hassle of copying and pasting a long string of gibberish.
If you're more of a visual learner, Ledger shared a video with us on how to buy an .ETH domain.
LaptopMag.eth was only used as an example for this how-to. It doesn't exist as an ENS domain; don't send crypto or NFTs to this address.
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!