Unstoppable Domains (UD) and Ethereum Name Service (ENS) are the leading providers of NFT domain names. However, that’s not to say that they are both the same. So, how do Unstoppable Domains differ from ENS domains?
The main difference is that Unstoppable Domains provide indefinite ownership for a one-time fee, along with multiple domain endings to choose from. ENS domains are registered annually and require renewal fees for additional years. Plus, your only TDL option is ‘.eth’. But, both are ERC-721 NFTs.
Deciphering the differences between Unstoppable and ENS domains is an important factor when considering which domain provider you want to buy your NFT domain from. That’s why I’ve broken it all down for you below.
What Are Unstoppable Domains?
Unstoppable Domains are ERC-721 NFT domains that are minted on the Polygon sidechain. These decentralized domains are offered in a variety of endings including .x, .nft, .crypto, .888, .blockchain, .bitcoin, .wallet, .dao, and .zil.
Despite the numerous endings, they all have the same functionalities. However, ‘.x’ is said to be the most premium of the endings considering its length.
Unstoppable created these domains to replace long wallet addresses. So rather than having 42 randomized numbers and letters for your wallets, you can have a human-readable (and memorable) name.
The great thing about UD is that you can connect over 280 different cryptocurrency wallet addresses to a single domain name.
That means if you manage multiple currencies like ETH, Bitcoin, SOL, and BNB for example, you can direct them all to your Unstoppable domain.
This makes receiving crypto simple.
Also, it’s more memorable compared to your complicated wallet address. All the sender needs to do is enter your domain name (yourdomainname.x) and hit send.
It’s important to note that not all wallets currently support sending to Unstoppable Domains.
That said, over 50 wallets including Coinbase Wallet, Rainbow Wallet, MyEtherWallet, and Trust Wallet, among others are compatible with UD.
What Are ENS Domains?
The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is a system that allows you to convert your complicated Ethereum address to a human-readable name. The only ending offered by ENS is the ‘.eth’ suffix. These domains are registered directly onto Ethereum’s mainnet.
ENS works similarly to DNS. The difference is that DNS (.com, .nft. etc.) takes your domain name and converts it to an IP address. ENS, on the other hand, converts your domain name to an Ethereum address.
The ‘.eth’ top-level domain is owned by smart contracts called registrars. These contracts specify rules that govern the allocation of a domain’s subdomain.
By following the rules imposed by a registrar contract, you can buy a domain for your own use.
Moreover, ENS also supports importing DNS names already owned by the user for use on ENS.
Additionally, if you own an ENS domain you can configure an unlimited amount of subdomains for yourself (and for others), as you please.
For example, if I own ‘cyberscrilla.eth’, I can create create ‘pay.cyberscrilla.eth’ or ‘nft.cyberscrilla.eth’ and configure it however I want.
Currently, ENS domains are more popular than Unstoppable Domains. With more than 2 million domain names registered already, the number of holders only continues to grow.
Now, to fully grasp all the differences between Unstoppable Domains and ENS domains, I’m going to break them down into three categories: use cases, pricing, and ownership.
Unstoppable Domains vs ENS Domains: Use Cases
Although Unstoppable Domains and ENS domains are similar, they do provide users with different use cases.
- Create a decentralized website
With your Unstoppable domain, you can build a decentralized website from scratch using UD’s site templates, create your own website and upload it directly to IPFS, link to an existing IPFS hash, or redirect it to a traditional domain.
This is a cool feature that is still in its infancy, and as a result, is still being explored.
Decentralized domains don’t appear in Google search results for example, and if you want to view your domain, you will need to use a web3 browser like Brave.
- Own your online identity
Whether you run a small business or are working to build your personal brand, Unstoppable Domains allows you to own your online identity by purchasing your personal or business name.
That being said, if a domain name is already taken by someone else, you can’t own that same domain name. You have to buy it from the current owner.
But, with an unlimited amount of potential domain names and various domain endings, you’re sure to find a name that represents your online identity.
- Create a memorable wallet address
Your web3 wallet address is represented by a long string of letters and numbers. Because this address is randomized, it’s difficult to remember. When you own an Unstoppable Domain, you can use your domain name as your wallet address.
This is better for business owners, as it’s easier for customers to remember and verify that they are dealing with the actual brand and not a potential scammer.
Sending crypto to ‘bobsburger.wallet’ is a lot easier to remember than 0x5d1234567891012a1234cfae7c567a7f8a89100c.
- Sell your domain name
NFT domains can be bought, sold, and traded just like any other NFT. With traditional domains, you would generally need to use a domain broker to sell your domain name.
Many of these brokers aren’t very efficient and take 7% to 15% of the profit that you make from selling your site.
But, with an Unstoppable domain, you can easily sell it on Unstoppable’s marketplace or on a secondary NFT marketplace, like Opensea, in a matter of minutes.
Plus, you keep a larger portion of the profit, rightfully so.
- Send and receive emails
Unstoppable Domains email provides you with an anonymized way to send emails while maintaining the privacy of your personal email address.
Every Unstoppable Domain comes with a free “ud.me” address you can use with your personal email (Gmail, Outlook, etc.) or with Skiff, an end-to-end encrypted inbox.
If you choose to enable your ud.me email using your personal email address, all emails sent to your UD address will be forwarded to your personal email.
This allows you to maintain the privacy of your personal email address while still being able to send and receive messages and sign up for various platforms, without giving away your personal email address.
- Build a web3 website
Similarly to Unstoppable Domains, you can build your own web3 website using your ENS domain. That said, building your own decentralized website using your ENS domain isn’t as easy as with UD.
To build a website with your ENS domain, you have to write the code for your site using something like React and then use an open web developer platform like Fleek to deploy your site to IPFS.
If you don’t want to build your own site, ENS allows you to associate your ‘.eth’ name with publishing and decentralized social (DeSo) platforms like Steemit, Bitclout, and Mirror.xyz.
- Own your web3 identity
ENS domains enable you to own your online identity. More specifically, having ‘.eth’ in your social media usernames (especially on Twitter) is a key indicator that you are all-in on the web3 space.
You can use your ENS name as your pseudonymous online identity or you can use it to bring your personal brand or business into the web3 ecosystem.
Like an Unstoppable Domain, once you mint your online identity as an ENS domain, no one else can own it until it either expires or you decide to sell it.
- Easily search for other users’ wallets
Since ENS domains are minted on the mainnet and replace a wallet’s complicated address, you can search the contents of other ENS holders’ wallets by entering their ENS names into the Ethereum blockchain explorer—Etherscan.
So, rather than looking someone up by their 42-character wallet address, you can simply type in ‘joesmoe.eth’ and view their wallet history.
This is a feature that is unique to ENS domains. As of now, you can not look up UD holders by their Unstoppable domain name using Etherscan.
- Send and receive crypto and NFTs
ENS domains can be used to send and receive over 170 different types of crypto.
This function is very similar to Unstoppable Domains, however, you can actually send crypto from your ENS domain name whereas, with UD, you can’t.
To do this, all you need to do is visit the ENS manager app.
Then search for your ENS name, tap Add Record, and select Addresses, then choose the coin you’d like to add to your ENS domain.
Finally, paste that blockchain’s wallet address into the coin spot and click Confirm.
You can do this with as many cryptocurrency addresses as ENS supports.
- Create an ENS subdomain
As the owner of your ENS domain, you can create any subdomain you want.
A subdomain works similarly to your primary ENS domain, as you can add wallet addresses for you every type of wallet you own making it easier to manage numerous wallet addresses.
You can also give subdomains to others such as your employees. For example, I could create ‘bob.cyberscrilla.eth’ as a subdomain and give it to my co-worker Bob.
He can then use that address to receive crypto on behalf of Cyber Scrilla, and I can track how much money he makes. This is a perfect option for commission-based employees.
Creating subdomains is free, however, you will have to pay a gas fee to publish it.
Unstoppable Domains vs ENS Domains: Pricing
Purchasing an Unstoppable Domain is much different compared to buying an ENS domain. Let’s review these important details.
Buying a new Unstoppable domain will cost between $5 to $150 depending on the domain ending and name length. Shorter domain names cost more, whereas longer names cost less.
With Unstoppable Domains, there are no renewal fees, no minting fees, and no gas fees—all you pay is the initial cost to purchase your domain.
Premium endings like “.x” cost more than non-premium endings like “.blockchain”. And buying a domain on secondary can cost over $100k.
There are two methods of purchasing an Unstoppable Domain.
You can either mint a new domain directly from the site. Or you can buy an existing name on a marketplace like OpenSea. Each of these will have slightly different costs.
- Cost to buy a new domain
Buying a new domain will be very low-cost. Usually, it will be between $5 to $150. If you own a business, you might want to purchase multiple name extensions. For example, you might want to own both the .nft and .wallet extensions.
While this can increase the initial costs, it will pay off in the long run. You will be able to reduce the chances that customers will accidentally send a payment to the wrong address.
- Cost to purchase a pre-owned domain
Purchasing an Unstoppable domain on the secondary market will cost you anywhere from 0.01 ETH to over 200 ETH. Though some of these domains can be expensive, the most basic names can be found for cheap.
Of course, the names that are the more popular demand a higher price. A good example of this was the sale of ‘sex.crypto’ for 230 ETH. At the time, this was worth over $90,000.
The cost to register an ENS domain ranges from 0.003 ETH to over 0.4 ETH, plus a 0.005 ETH gas fee. Shorter names are the most expensive while longer names are cheaper. Note that this fee is per year. Depending on the current gas fees you could end up paying much more.
It’s important to point out that you don’t own your ENS domain outright. You’re leasing the domain. And that means renewals.
Unlike Unstoppable domains, ENS domains don’t accept fiat currency. All payments are made with ETH. The exchange rate for ETH and USD is set by the Chainlink ETH/USD oracle.
You can also buy ENS domains on a secondary market like Opensea. Although the prices range drastically, you can buy an ENS domain for as low as 0.001 ETH to over 100 ETH.
One of the most expensive ENS domains ever sold on the secondary market is ‘115.eth’, which sold for a whopping 115 ETH.
Unstoppable Domains vs ENS Domains: Ownership
You might think that since both Unstoppable Domains and ENS domains are NFTs, ownership is the same. However, this is not the case.
Once you purchase an Unstoppable domain, you own it forever unless you decide to sell it, trade it, or burn it. There are no renewal fees. All you pay is the initial cost to purchase the domain name. Moreover, Unstoppable Domains never expire.
Furthermore, owning your Unstoppable domain means you are in complete control of your domain name.
No one can take it from you, censor what you publish, or charge you an ongoing fee for ownership.
Since it’s a decentralized ‘NFT’ domain that lives on the blockchain and is securely stored in your wallet, you remain in complete control of it.
END domain ownership is a bit different. Since it follows a renewal model, you only own the domain for as long as you pay for it. After that, your ownership of the particular domain will expire.
To be perfectly honest, this is a hassle for many users. Web3 is all about ownership. The fact that someone else can snatch it away from you if you forget to renew it is a bit offputting.
At least ENS gives you the ability to set a reminder via email, Google, or iCal.
But still, there’s always that risk of losing ownership.
Also, you can renew the domain at any time during your ownership period. This will help ensure that no one else registers your name.
Ultimately, you’re given a grace period of 90 days before someone can register it for themselves.
Should I Buy an Unstoppable or ENS Domain?
You should buy an Unstoppable domain if you want complete ownership, no renewal fees, the option to pay in crypto or fiat, and different domain suffix options. Otherwise, ENS domains remain the most popular option of the two NFT domains. Hence, it’s possible that ENS becomes the preferred NFT domain.
That being said, lets take a look at the pros and cons of Unstoppable and ENS domains.
- One-time registration: This is one of the most beloved things about Unstoppable. Once you pay for your domain, you’ll always have access to it. There are no pesky renewal fees. You don’t need to worry about your domain being hijacked by someone else if you forgot to renew it either.
- Secure: Of course, security is a major concern for all. Since it exists on the blockchain, Unstoppable Domains are very secure by design. So, safety isn’t much of an issue.
- Easy to use: It’s easy to use and pretty straightforward. You can send and receive different cryptocurrencies. Unstoppable even accept fiat payments, unlike ENS domains.
- User adoption isn’t as great as ENS: The main theme of the Unstoppable domain’s downsides is adoption. Since it’s newer, the majority of the users haven’t adopted it yet.
ENS domain might have come first, but it still has its pros and cons.
- Widely used: ENS domains are widely used and accepted in the crypto-community. It has over 700,000 registered users. This means you get a lot of support and compatibility won’t be an issue.
- Closely tied to the Ethereum network: ENS is closely tied to the Ethereum network. So, given ETH becomes the standard, then the ENS domain system already has a solid base.
- More Mature: Since the ENS domain service is older, it’s more mature. It has more users which means it’s trusted by more people.
- Renewal model: The renewal model is a major con for many. You would need to renew the domain name constantly and that also means paying the renewal fees every time. This can get expensive.
- Gas Fee Prices: Since ENS directly registers to the Ethereum network, you’ll need to deal with gas fees for the time being. That means the prices fluctuate often depending on these gas fees.
How to Buy an Unstoppable Domain
Buying an Unstoppable Domain is easy. Follow these four simple steps below.
1. Search for a domain
First, head over to Unstoppable Domains’ website to search for your domain.
You’ll notice that there are numerous domain endings (TLDs) to choose from (.nft, .crypto, .x, etc.). All the endings provide you with the same functionalities. However, the domain endings can all be utilized differently depending on your goals.
After you decided which ending you want, enter your desired domain name into the search box. From there, you will be directed to the purchasing page.
2. Buy your domain
Once you have confirmed that the domain you want is available and the price is acceptable, you can buy your domain.
Generally, Unstoppable will display the same domain name with different ending options in case you want to purchase a variety of endings for that same name.
Currently, there are four payment methods to choose from:
- Credit card
- Crypto (BTC, BCH, ETH, DAI, LTC, USDC)
- Crypto.com pay
If you are sending your payment from a crypto exchange like Coinbase, make sure you send enough to cover the fees implemented by the exchange.
These fees are typically only a couple of dollars. You can preview the transaction before sending it to know exactly how much the exchange fee will be.
3. Connect your wallet to your account
You can buy your NFT domain name without connecting your web3 wallet. However, if you want to mint your domain, you’re going to need to connect your wallet.
To connect your wallet:
- Go to your Account Setting, and choose Add Wallet.
- Sign the transaction using your wallet to connect it to the Unstoppable Domains website.
If you don’t have a wallet, I recommend using Coinbase Wallet to get started. That being said, you should learn how to properly store your NFTs for maximum safety before buying one.
Otherwise, you risk losing your NFTs to hackers and scammers.
4. Mint your domain
Your domain is not functional until you mint it. After you purchase your domain, it will appear under the My Domains section of your profile. This is where you will go to officially mint your NFT to the blockchain.
Follow these steps to mint your domain:
- Go to My Domains
- Click, Free Mint
- Enter your 2FA verification code
- Connect your wallet
- Confirm and sign the transaction
How to Buy an ENS Domain
Follow these 4 simple steps below to buy an ENS domain.
1. Get an Ethereum wallet
Before you can get register your own ENS, you will need some ETH loaded into an Ethereum-capable web3 wallet, such as MetaMask.
2. Go to the ENS website
To begin searching for the domain you want, visit the Ethereum Name Service website.
Also, make sure your wallet is connected to the internet browser you’re using. I recommend using Google Chrome.
Also, you can visit the site either through your web3 browser in MetaMask. Regardless, ensure that the wallet you’re using is the one you want your ENS domain to be stored in.
3. Choose your ENS name
Search for the name that you would like to register as your ENS. If the address you want is already in use, it will say Unavailable and you’ll need to try a different name.
If the name is available, proceed to the next step.
NOTE: If your wallet is not connected to the site or doesn’t have enough funds to cover the cost to register the domain, a message will appear near the bottom of the page that reads: Insufficient balance on your wallet.
4. Register your ENS
Once you’ve found an available name you like, follow the steps as directed.
Remember, you have to pay the registration fee multiplied by however many years you want to register the name for. The gas fee is also included in the overall cost of your registration.
It’s possible that two people may try to register for the same name simultaneously, if this happens, your transaction could be rejected.
Congrats, you’ve got your own ENS now!
Unstoppable Domains and ENS domains are both NFTs at their core. However, there are many differences between the two. Unstoppable offers domains for a one-time cost, no renewal fees, numerous domain suffixes, and indefinite ownership. Whereas ENS provides domains on an annual (renewal fee) basis and one domain suffix.
Ultimately, determining which blockchain domain is better comes down to your personal preferences.
Do you mind renewal fees? Do you want different domain options? Which company will be the preferred domain provider in the future?
All of these are questions you should ask yourself before determining which NFT domain is right for you.