New Domain Name Gold Rush Sets Up Possible Battle for Future of SMB Finance
If you could have businessloan.com or businessloans.com as your website, would you jump on the opportunity to get it?
It’s evident that the market for keyword-based domains has evolved over time. Couldn’t get the .com? You could’ve tried to get the less coveted .net or .org. Don’t like those? Today, you can get the .business, .deals, .financial, .loan, .loans, or hundreds of other customized tlds. With so many to choose from, most experts in the field would advise that if you don’t own the .com version, to not even bother getting cute with customizations for your brand or keyword because customers will just get confused.
But recently, another domain name market has quietly been gaining steam. It’s for something called a .eth, an Ethereum blockchain-based crypto address shortener by the Ethereum Name Service. It’s not necessarily something one could use to build a website with, at least not yet. Originally envisioned as a way to condense long impossible-to-remember crypto wallet addresses into memorable words, users have started to buy up a bunch of keywords that may be familiar to deBanked readers. Just to name a few:
At face-value, this might appear to be a vanity crypto play, one in which one could send crypto to your-name-here.eth instead of trying to type out a long address like: 0x64233eAa064ef0d54ff1A963933D0D2d46ab5829. But an ENS domain name holds much more potential than just that. It’s moving towards becoming the backbone of one’s identity in the upcoming era of the web called web 3.0 (web3 for short). Instead of having to remember passwords for hundreds of websites, identity can be validated through one’s digital wallet. Such a concept is not theoretical. It’s already being used.
Take seanmurray.eth for example. You could send eth, bitcoin, litecoin, or dogecoin to it, but at the same time it’s connected to an email address and a url (this one). Plus it’s linked to an NFT avatar (broker #7 from The Broker NFT collection) which is in that wallet. I can use it to do an e-commerce online checkout in 5 seconds without ever needing to enter any payment information even if I’ve never visited the site before. It’s faster than PayPal and with less steps involved. I can connect it to my twitter account, OpenSea, or use it to vote in an official poll without ever having to create an account on something. The wallet is the identity verification. The .eth name, therefore, has the potential to become the defining baseline of who or what one is on the internet. Not theoretically. It’s already happening.
Crypto is already starting to creep into the small business finance industry. In August, a funding company announced that it would begin offering commissions and fundings in crypto because of the speed potential. Far from being a gimmick, brokers started to choose crypto payments over ACH or a wire because of how fast it would be. There’s also no chargeback risk with crypto.
Currently, the owner of mca.eth has listed the domain for sale on OpenSea at a price of 20 eth (approximately $60,000). That’s less than what MerchantCashInAdvance.com sold for in 2011. Perhaps the value of an Ethereum Name Service domain holds less promise than a website that ranked well on Google in 2011. But then again, being well ranked on Google is not as important as it used to be. It’s impossible to say what, if any impact web3 will have on the small business finance industry long term, but for now there are those out there quietly buying up names like ach and funding and syndication on the chance that they will become something.Last modified: June 8, 2022
Sean Murray is the President and Chief Editor of deBanked and the founder of the Broker Fair Conference. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter. You can view all future deBanked events here.