In brief

  • Unstoppable Domains has built a Google Chrome extension that allows users to access its blockchain-based web domains.
  • Its domains are “censorship-resistant” and allow hosts to control and monetize their content in new ways.
  • Privacy-oriented users should be aware of the downsides of hosting content on pseudonymous blockchains.

First it built blockchain domain names, then its own browser—and now Unstoppable Domains wants to make it even easier to access the decentralized web.

The Tim Draper-backed firm announced Wednesday the launch of a Google Chrome extension that allows users to browse “uncensorable” websites built on the Ethereum blockchain.

“Decentralized websites are important because they provide censorship-resistance” Unstoppable Domains Co-Founder Brad Kam told Decrypt. This “is completely different than a traditional website, where a domain registrar company like GoDaddy or a hosting company like Amazon Web Services can take down a website in under 5 minutes—and they do,” he said.

Before, if you entered one of Unstoppable Domains’ “.crypto” URLs on Chrome, the browser would redirect you to Google Search pages related to Unstoppable’s products. Now, the extension will allow Chrome browsers to access websites like Draper’s own TimDraper.crypto and Anthony Pompliano’s Offthechain.crypto.

This is the first step in allowing users to use the cross-functionality of traditional browsers like Chrome, but with different perks that come with the decentralized web, according to Kam. But why develop an extension for Chrome when Unstoppable Domains just launched its browser two weeks ago?

“Most people use Chrome,” he said. “We want the decentralized web to be just as easy to use as the traditional web, and this means that you need as many opportunities and as many tools as possible to search the decentralized web.”

What are Unstoppable Domains?

According to the company, its decentralized domains are not stored by a custodian, so “no company, government, or other group” can shut down a website unless they own it. Another feature is that a domain can be used as a payment gateway, meaning these human-readable addresses can be used to send and receive crypto all over the world. (It’s very similar to what the Ethereum Name Service provides, or what Handshake is doing with Bitcoin addresses.)

And if that isn’t enough, once users pay for a domain, they own it forever, meaning they won’t have to keep repaying external hosts who often charge domain users once a year. 

Other uses cases for its products, according to the firm, include accessing decentralized crypto exchanges (DEX), and crypto-focused content producers using their blockchain domain to store and distribute their material as they please. 

And if users have reservations against using Chrome, then Unstoppable’s own recently launched blockchain browser is there as an option.

What about privacy?

While this all sounds promising, some privacy oriented users might want to consider the potential downsides of hosting websites on pseudonymous blockchains such as Ethereum. Last month, an investigation by Decrypt showed how using the rival Ethereum Name Service for transactions could make it easy to be spied on.

Despite these concerns, Kam is confident privacy issues can be surpassed. 

“Privacy solutions are under development across blockchains to create more private [transactions] for users even on pseudo-anonymous chains,” he said. “No matter the future, blockchain domains will be able to help users to send transactions privately—either through the use of more private base chains or by utilizing emerging second-layer solutions on existing pseudo-anonymous chains,” said Kam.

Nonetheless, Unstoppable Domains still envisions a future “where anybody in the world is able to say what they want online without fear of censorship,” said the CEO. This means hosting websites without needing permission, new native crypto features for people who browse on traditional platforms, and “being able to see and hear from voices that you otherwise would not have been able to hear from,” he said. 

That means that people banned from legacy sites like YouTube and Twitter might just get a second chance at broadcasting their thoughts to the world—for better or worse.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Handshake was building on the Bitcoin blockchain. We regret the error.