In brief

  • Ethereum wallet MyEtherWallet is now a reseller of .crypto domains.
  • .crypto domains provide users with access to the decentralized web.
  • They can’t be shut down by centralized parties like governments or domain name services.

Ethereum wallet MyEtherWallet yesterday announced that its users can now buy .crypto domains. It is the first reseller to do so, making it a domain name registrar. 

The .crypto domains in questions are minted by Unstoppable Domains, a San Francisco-based company that’s aiming to create a decentralized web. These domain names are hosted on Ethereum, meaning that no domain name service, like GoDaddy, can shut them down. 

What’s the difference between .com and .crypto domains?

Regular .com domains are sanctioned by the UN body, ICANN, which it then provides to private registries, like Verisign, who in turn sell them to resellers like GoDaddy. But, explains Brad Kam, co-founder of Unstoppable Domains, any of these centralized institutions can take your .com domain away from you. 

But if you have a blockchain domain, “you store it yourself inside of your wallet,” Kam told Decrypt. “Whoever controls the private key is the only person that can move it around; this is the foundation for user control and censorship resistance.” 

Ethereum web addresses are really just strings of text registered on the blockchain. Unstoppable Domains turns them into readable addresses and sells them for a profit. Now, it’s selling them to MyEtherWallet.

MEW is currently offering a 30% discount on .crypto domains. Its CEO, Kosala Hemachandra, also promises “a lot more features around decentralized domains” in the wallet “which aren't offered anywhere else.”

Hemachandra told Decrypt that the benefit of MEW is that people “don't need to figure out additional interfaces or even know about the existence of different registries, dapps, etc. If they have a wallet like MEW, they can do everything in there.”

Kam agreed. “It’s common and a better user experience if users can interact from within the apps they already use,” he said.

What are .crypto sites?

Most .crypto sites link to websites hosted on IPFS, or the Interplanetary File System. These sites are hosted through the blockchain’s peer to peer network, rather than on, say, Amazon Web Services—meaning that they can’t be shut down easily. 

.crypto sites can only be accessed through browser extensions or on specific browsers. Opera Browser integrated .crypto functionality at the end of March, making it the first major browser to do so, while Unstoppable Domains itself launched a decentralized Internet browser earlier this year.

Unstoppable Domains, however, is hosted on a good ’ol .com domain… unless someone shuts it down.