What are Web3 domains?

November 15, 2023


Written by: Algorand Foundation

A Web3 domain is your username in Web3. Essentially, it's a simple version of your crypto wallet address. It's a way for you to send and receive crypto payments, interact with DApps, and for people to identify you and your wallet.

What are domains?

Domains are essentially website addresses. We navigate the internet through a domain name system (DNS). You know how to reach Google through its traditional domain: "google.com". A traditional Web2 domain ends in something like ".com" and hosts a website like "youtube.com".

What are Web3 domains?

Web3 domains are the next generation of domains. This domain is an NFT that can be connected to your Web3 wallet, so you can easily send and receive digital assets. It can also contain metadata like an avatar, social media links, and other identifying information. The Web3 domain, like a ".algo" address, is linked to a crypto network, which in this case would be Algorand. 

Web3 domains, sometimes called non-fungible domains, are becoming part of users' identities as they navigate Web3. It encapsulates the idea of a portable, self-sovereign identity. You own the information contained within it and choose what to do with it. You will be able to carry around your digital identity between platforms and applications. Web3 domains can help identify the artist creating NFT art, the participants in a DAO, or wallet addresses in a blockchain explorer app. 

The Algorand name service NFDomains (by TxnLab) provides Web3 users with ".algo" domains for life, while other Web3 domain services may offer a subscription model where you must pay yearly to keep your domain. Setting up an NFDomain is simple: You search the NFDomains marketplace for your desired domain, then follow the setup instructions to attach it to your Algorand wallet address. 

Why do I need a Web3 domain?

A major pain point in crypto is that wallet addresses are extremely long (58 characters!) and almost impossible to remember by heart. A Web3 domain looks to simplify this by attaching a readable and memorable identity to your wallet address. 

What are the benefits of Web3 domains?

Web3 domains:

  • Break down barriers to crypto adoption. They make it easier for people to get started with crypto and Web3. They are easy to understand and set up, and they do not require any technical knowledge. 
  • Replace long, confusing wallet addresses. They are easy to remember and type. Once it’s attached to your wallet, you can simply share it with others. 
  • Remove room for error in sending payments: Replacing long wallet addresses means there will be less margin for error. 
  • Establish your Web3 self-sovereign identity. Web3 domains are a way to identify yourself in Web3 with one profile that stores your avatar, social links, and NFT collections.
  • Make it easier to keep track of your online identity and activities. You can use your Web3 domain as your username for all your Web3 activities, such as logging into apps, sending and receiving crypto, and accessing decentralized websites. 
  • Help verify on-chain activity with off-chain verifications. With the NFDomains service, you are able to determine if on-chain activity is tied to off-chain identities, such as an X, Discord, Telegram, GitHub or email account. This is useful for providing assurance of the true creator of an NFT, for example. 
  • Easily receive and manage assets: Previously, it was necessary to opt in to receive specific digital assets on Algorand, a useful feature to prevent unwanted airdrops and giveaways. NFDomains users will now have a ‘vault’ or escrow account where they can receive assets without needing to first opt in. Learn more.  

How do Web3 domains work? 

NFDomains is an Algorand-based dapp that allows you to attach a readable identity to your wallet address. For example, it could be your name, like "silvio.algo". 

So, rather than saying, "Send 10 Algo to 5NBAJP3FDBY4HXY3RZWRBE3VG4YJLXWOULC2QC4WM75KKCX4JZYG4ASVJ4", we can say, "Send money to "silvio.algo". It's quicker and easier to remember, and there's a lower chance you'll make a mistake. 

Once you mint the .algo NFT, you own it forever, unless you decide to sell it. Unlike other blockchain name services, NFdomains is not a subscription; you purchase the domain once and it's yours to keep. 

NFDs are built on Algorand and utilize Algorand Standard Assets (ASAs), as well as smart contracts. The ASA is used to represent the current state of the NFD's smart contract, so you’re able to see it in your wallet, and it updates as you update metadata in your NFD.

NFDs can be bought and sold on the secondary marketplace and displayed in a gallery. It can be viewed in your wallet much in the same way as an NFT would be. You have full control and ownership of it, provided you have self custody of your wallet. 

Anyone who knows your NFD can send you funds or digital assets by adding your .algo name to the account address when setting up a transaction. 

How to get a .algo Web3 domain

  1. Go to https://app.nf.domains/ and connect your wallet.  
  2. Click "Mint search" and search for your desired NFD.
  3. If the domain name you want is available, go ahead and mint it. If it shows as "Owned", you can go ahead and make an offer to the owner or choose another name that's available.
  4. You need to sign two transactions to get your .algo domain, "Mint and purchase" and "Claim". 
  5. Once you have claimed the NFD, you can link it to your wallet deposit address by following the NFDomains Setting Addresses guidance. 

How to share your NFD profile

You can display your NFD profile, NFT gallery, and NFT creations by adding ".xyz" to the end of the ".algo" domain name, so "silvio.algo" -> "silvio.algo.xyz". 

You can also point your NFD to an independent website. For example, “arc.algo.xyz” redirects to “arc.algorand.foundation”. 

What type of wallet do I need for my .algo address? 

The list of wallets that support .algo addresses is constantly growing. You can check the NFD integrations list for the full list of wallets and places where .algo addresses are currently integrated. Here are the current wallets that you can connect with on NFDomains. 

Further reading: 


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