EnCirca is now accepting applications for Ethereum’s .ETH domain names. The deadline for applications is August 10, 2019. Encirca believes it is the first ICANN Accredited Registrar to accept such applications.
“Billions of internet users will soon have blockchain wallets for sending and receiving crypto-currencies“, says Tom Barrett, President of EnCirca. “In response, EnCirca has made it easy for brand owners to protect their trademarks on the blockchain.”
Encirca and the Ethereum connection
Ethereum is the world’s second largest blockchain, after Bitcoin. Ethereum’s .ETH was created to map human-readable domains names to blockchain wallets, which facilitates ease of use. As illustrated by interest in (and disagreements with) Facebook’s recent Libra announcement, crypto-currency and blockchain interest is becoming widespread.
EnCirca is an ICANN Registrar for domain extensions intended for security-sensitive industries, including:
EnCirca is one of a few ICANN Registrars to be SOC-2 certified for cyber-security practices. Value-add services include secure DNS, secure web forwarding, SSL/TLS digital certificates, email authentication and secure website hosting.
Launched in 2015, Ethereum is arguably the world’s leading smart contract blockchain. Like other blockchains, Ethereum has a native cryptocurrency – called Ether or ETH.
ENS is Ethereum’s version of the DNS. It offers a secure, decentralised way to address resources both on and off the blockchain using simple, human-readable names. The concept is that ENS eliminates the need to copy or type long addresses. With ENS, users could receive payments for services at ‘my-consulting.eth’ instead of ‘0x4cbe58c50480…’, etc.
Backers of Ethereum include a 250-member-strong Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) which counts as members organisations like ConsenSys, CME Group, Intel, Toyota Research Institute, Samsung SDS, Microsoft, Intel, J. P. Morgan, Cooley LLP, Merck, DTCC, Deloitte, Accenture, Banco Santander, BNY Mellon, ING, National Bank of Canada, MasterCard, Cisco Systems, Sberbank and Scotiabank.
Blockchain names are not regulated…
Blockchain domain names are not regulated like .COM or .ORG domain names. This means that traditional trademark protection mechanisms – to prevent cyber-squatting for brand names – are nonexistent. The implication that Encirca wishes to convey is brand owners should act defensively to protect their trademarks in the .ETH top-level domain. EnCirca will be conducting a free webinar on July 24 to provide an overview of blockchain domain names and answer questions from trademark lawyers and brand owners.
The Ethereum Naming Service has two different application processes, depending upon the length of the desired domain name:
- short character .ETH Domain Names (3 to 6 characters); short names, such as Apple.ETH, are expected to be in high demand and will attract multiple applicants.
- long character .ETH Domain Names (7 or more characters).
To ensure allocation of short domain names to those having the same string already in use in a pre-existing domain (like .COM or .US), Ethereum will award registrations to the applicant demonstrating the longest continuous use of the same name in an existing domain name extension.
In contrast, long character names (for example, Microsoft.ETH) are available now on a first-come, first-served basis. These long strings, publicly available since May, 2017, have nearly 300,000 names registered.
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
Registering blockchain domain names add a ‘new’ dimension to domain processing. It will add ‘new’ (and additional) costs to the having a presence on the internet.
On first assessment, this Encirca initiative looks like an ingenious mechanism to extract monies from brand name owners wishing to protect their assets. Yet, do brand owners have a choice? Dare they let their good names come to harm by ducking the registration issue?
Worse, if this applies to ETH, will it apply to each and all crypto-currencies? The costs, fees and administration, for domain protection are already considerable for enterprises. This, perhaps inevitably in an internet/cryptocurrency expanding world, could make matters far worse.