San Francisco-based Blockchain.com now supports Unstoppable Domains, a domain name provider for blockchains, which are the secure and transparent digital ledgers behind cryptocurrencies. That’s a big deal because Blockchain.com is the world’s largest crypto wallet provider, and people have been stumbling around with encoded names that are impossible to remember.
When people lose these names for their wallets or the passwords that go with them, they are often unable to recover their assets. This particular deal won’t help you with your passwords, but it does help with usernames. And that helps people send money to each other more easily, with fewer mistakes.
A wide reach
Blockchain.com has 32 million verified users across 200 countries, and they can now send crypto to simple, human-readable usernames instead of full-length wallet addresses.
Through this integration, Unstoppable Domains and Blockchain.com are hoping to make crypto more appealing by reducing the risk of human error when sending funds, drastically simplifying transactions between Blockchain.com users and 50-plus other wallets and exchanges supported by Unstoppable Domains.
Traditionally, sending Bitcoin, Ethereum, Doge, and other cryptocurrencies requires entering the recipient’s 25- to 42-digit alphanumeric wallet address, Matthew Gould, CEO of Unstoppable Domains, said in an interview with VentureBeat.
If a person mistypes or miscopies a wallet address, those funds can be lost forever. That’s terrifying, and I recall it stopped me from sending a payment to someone in that way.
“If you have a typo on a blockchain transaction, the money’s gone forever,” said Gould. “It’s emotionally terrifying, which is not good because your first consumer experience is fear the first time you ever send cryptocurrency. And I don’t know if you’ve ever sent a payment in Bitcoin or something else, but you’re going to be nervous about it. This is a bad emotional experience.”
It’s also just a bad user experience design, Gould said.
“If you get a group of 10 crypto people in a room and you ask them about the barriers to adoption, better cryptocurrency UX is going to be one of the top three things that they mention,” he said.
The simple analogy here is your internet protocol (IP) addresses. For the regular internet, it’s a lot easier to remember google.com than it is to remember the company’s IP address. It’s a lot easier to remember your name than your hex address for cryptocurrency.
“What is funny is this is a case of history repeating itself because we did the exact same thing with computer networks in the ’90s, where the very first way to look up websites was actually using IP addresses,” Gould said. “You actually had to remember long strings of numbers in order to find the very first content on the internet. And then they invented a naming service for those so that you could use .com names. It’s a very similar thing.”
Solving the problem
Unstoppable Domains solves this by introducing human-readable .crypto usernames compatible with 50+ wallets and exchanges, including Blockchain.com. Now, instead of “156i6HJfMWb1h2BEsKpfvZ2tQugqo4vs2w,” users can simply type “[YourName].crypto” to send money to others or transfer it between accounts.
Gould said that the solution is similar to payment systems like Venmo, which make it easier to send money to a friend because you can simply open an app and tap on the person’s face to send them money.
And by reducing the emotional fear and friction around sending money to an unknown address, Unstoppable Domains can make crypto more accessible to mainstream users. It gives you the freedom to send money to whoever you wish.
Gould said it’s hard to believe it is taking a while to solve the problem.
“It’s crazy to me,” he said. “You have a trillion-dollar asset class. And people are sending it around to these really long bank account numbers. And visually, it is kind of ridiculous that people are doing it. And I think that just shows how early we are. It’s really big, but the tech is still very raw. And these things are important. We need to make this easier for normal people, and we need to make it so that you can feel comfortable sending these transactions without that fear or else adoption is going to be slow.”
Amadeo Pellicce, product manager at Blockchain.com, said that the company has worked hard to make crypto easier to use so it can build a new financial system for the internet. The first step here is making it easy to send crypto to friends and family using more familiar-looking usernames. This drastically reduces the potential for errors without compromising on user security. Making crypto payments as easy as sending an email helps pave the way for wider adoption of crypto, Pellicce said.
A big opportunity
Unstoppable Domains has registered more than a million domain names, with each minted as a nonfungible token (NFT) on the Ethereum blockchain. Along with sending and receiving funds, these NFT domains are used to create decentralized websites to publish content and access Web3. Blockchain domains have already become the standard for crypto wallets, and interoperability is at the forefront of Unstoppable Domains’ mission.
Blockchain.com recently raised $300 million at a $5.2 billion post-money valuation, led by partners of DST Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and VY Capital. Since 2012, 76 million wallets have conducted $800 billion in transactions using Blockchain.com. To date, Blockchain.com has raised $490 million to date.
Launched in 2018, Unstoppable Domains is a blockchain domain name provider and gateway to the decentralized web. Unstoppable Domains allows anyone to purchase a decentralized domain name that is minted as an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain, giving the owner full ownership and control. Domain names can be used for payments across more than 50 wallets and exchanges. The company is backed by Draper Associates and Boost VC, and supported by grants from the Ethereum Foundation and Zilliqa Foundation.
There are future problems to tackle, like ensuring that transactions on the blockchain can stay private. The way it is now, many people can see the transactions on the blockchain, though often the details of the transaction aren’t clear. Over time, this will get solved as people figure out how to properly configure payments, Gould said.
“Privacy technology is a few years behind the rest of the blockchain technology,” Gould said. “We’ve actually worked with a couple of teams to demonstrate sending cryptocurrency to a blockchain domain name and doing it privately. So it is technically feasible. And I think it is. But it’s not a core product for us at this moment in time.”
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