An ENS name, for your viewing pleasure.
If you’re like me, you might have a handful of Ethereum addresses that you use quite often. Also, if you are like me, you might be a cartoon giraffe. If so, please reach out — we should hang.
Anyway, it can be tedious, boring, and error prone to copy and paste the same old 0xaBc123… style address over and over. Or, heaven forbid, you may need to manually type an address (protip: never type an ethereum address). Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pretty, human (giraffe) readable name for your Ether account?
Well, that’s entirely possible with the Ethereum Name System (ENS). It works similarly to DNS — where a domain name (e.g. hambutton.com) maps to an IP address (188.8.131.52). Instead, though, we give an Ethereum address a “domain name” ending in .eth (e.g. edwardgiraffe.eth).
The process for buying an internet domain is pretty simple — find an unused name, go to a registrar, click buy. Not so with ENS. In order to prevent a rush of domain squatters from scooping up all the good domains, an auction format was instituted. The basics of an ENS auction goes something like this:
Since this is Ethereum we’re talking about, this whole process takes place on the public blockchain. For a more technical explanation, check out this nifty visual timeline…
Before getting started, you’ll need a bit of Ether, and an Ether wallet like a Ledger Nano, MetaMask, or MyCrypto (previously known as MyEtherWallet). I’ll be using MetaMask in this article because they have the coolest logo of all the available options. If you need help installing MetaMask, check here. I started out by creating a new account in MetaMask, and loading 0.08 Ether. The minimum bid for an ENS name is .01, so have at least that much, plus a bit more for gas. There will be several transactions. Strap in.
MetaMask with a fresh account and no ETH. You will need some ETH.
Head over to MyCrypto.com and click the ENS link in the main menu. You should see a search box. Type in a name you are interested in buying to see if it’s available. If so, great! We can continue. If not, you’ll need to go to a secondary market like https://namebazaar.io/ We’ll assume your name is available, and continue on.
MyEtherWallet.com ENS page
Connect to your ETH wallet by selecting an option from the list — in this case, MetaMask. Click Connetct to MetaMask (or the equivalent button for your wallet).
For the Actual Bid Amount, put in the maximum amount of ETH you are willing to pay. If you’re feeling cheeky, put in a higher amount in the Bid Mask, which will hide your actual bid. Important note — you need to actually have the amount of ETH in your wallet that you put in the bid mask.
Finally, copy the secret phrase presented to you, and click Start the Auction.
An important looking popup window will appear. Do what it says, and take a screenshot (just like the one below!). It also helps to copy the big block of text near the bottom of the window.
Click Yes, I am sure! Make transaction. Your wallet of choice will present you with a transaction to submit. Check https://ethgasstation.info/ to figure out an appropriate gas price, and submit the transaction.
Once you get the transaction ID, you can go to https://etherscan.io and look it up on the blockchain.
For even more fun on etherscan.io, try typing in the ENS name in question. It will pop up some interesting stats on your auction. It will also let you know the date tha tyou need to reveal your bid. Mark these dates on your calendar. If you miss the “reveal” you will lose your ETH!!!
Three days after starting the auction, it will be time to reveal your bid. You have a 2-day window of time to do this, so make sure you are available to make this happen.
Head back to the ENS section of MyCrypto.com and type in your ENS name. Click Check ENS Name and it should tell you it’s time to reveal your bid.
Remember that screenshot from a few days ago? And that big blob of text with all the quotation marks and squiggly brackets? You’ll need that.
If you have the long string of text, paste it into the first textbox. If all is well, then the rest of the information will fill in automagically. If not, manually enter your bid amount and secret phrase.
After clicking Reveal your Bid, You will get a series of confirmation screens.
Click Yes, I am sure! Make transaction. and pay for the transaction using MetaMask (or your wallet of choice). The transaction must come from the same address used to bid on the ENS name. Once finished, you’ll need to wait ANOTHER two days to finalize the auction.
Once again, return to the ENS page of MyCrypto.com and type in your ENS name. The blue button should now say, Finalize yourname.eth.
Click the buttons to confirm that yes, you really do want to finalize, and pay your gas fees. This step must also be done by the same Ethereum account used to make the original bid and do the reveal transaction.
After the finalization transaction is complete, the ENS name is yours! Head over to etherscan.io and look it up. It should tell you that the name is taken, and the owner is YOU!
Now all of your friends can send Ether and tokens to your ENS name. In the future, you may be able to do neat things like host a Swarm site at that address, or transfer it to a smart contract address that collects money for three legged giraffes. Sky’s the limit.
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