Avvy Domains are the Avalanche domain naming service. It’s where you can acquire your beloved .Avax domain, that’s if it is even still available. The current version of Avvy was released to the public on May 30th, 2022 and Avvy are developing and integrating a whole range of exciting features to take your .avax domain to the next level.
Hey Coconaut! So, how does one even go about acquiring a custom TLD?
Avvy started because I wanted to launch a project on Avalanche and I love useful projects. I just went right into developing the name service. I was not sure whether to use .avax or .avvy, but after getting in touch with the Avalanche team we decided on .avax.
In the web2 / DNS world, ICANN manages the “root namespace”. To get a TLD you need to apply when they are accepting applications. There are various “alternative roots” though they are relatively unknown in comparison to the main namespace. We also have extensions like .onion on Tor, and various web3 extensions. It really comes down to how much usage a given extension gets – if the public accepts the idea, then it actualizes.
What’s currently the biggest challenge for Avvy Domains?
The main goal right now is to increase adoption in the community. The challenges here are securing integrations within applications in the ecosystem and educating the community on how they can use their .avax domains.
My ideal hypothetical use case of an Avax domain would be, that it becomes: the website, the name of the project/contact, the contract address & wallet, the social name (for the yet to be developed web3 Twitter), that can all move frictionlessly through different subnets.
Is the end goal an all in one solution like this? Can the domains be all of this, or just some?
Yep that’s the vision! These are all great use-cases for the domains. They link everything together!
Is there any plans to make something like a dedicated AVVY marketplace much like they have on ENS?
Not at the moment, our focus is primarily on improving the utility of the domains. We may provide some sort of charting solution so that users can explore the dataset in a better way. We also have support from 3 major NFT marketplaces on Avalanche.
In the future, do you see .avax domains working on a browser much like .com websites work today?
I would love this to become a reality. In practice, it comes down to the vendors of the browsers as well as ICANN.
We have some forward thinking browsers like Brave & Opera, which are embracing web3 and resolving namespaces outside of the ICANN root zone. We hope to make some progress with those browsers!
Most browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc.) will resolve domains using DNS & the ICANN root zone. At a technical level, it is possible for us to bring .avax domains over to the DNS world. The complication is getting accepted into ICANN as a gTLD. ICANN only accepts applications for new gTLDs at specific times, the last of which was in 2012. The next round of applications has not yet been announced.
Where would one host for a .avax website content? Are there any full websites yet you are aware of?
IPFS is the most common place for hosting a web3 site. Users can also set up a web2 style website using DNS records, or host content on Skynet / Sia (only accessible via the Lume Web Firefox extension).
As for speeds & functionality, IPFS definitely does take some getting used to. It’s not immediately apparent that the gateway you choose to resolve the domains matters, or even that you can self host a gateway. Normal users might not even know how to activate Brave’s experimental IPFS gateway to improve loading times. There is also a learning curve for developers looking to improve the discoverability of their documents, which ultimately leads to faster load times.
You can access all of these in your browser by appending “.sh” (so avvy.avax can be visited at avvy.avax.sh or by installing one of the browser plugins to access).
Are the rates staying the same for the 3 and 4 letters, or is that changing?
Pricing is staying the same for now. Long term it is not necessarily fixed, but making changes to pricing scheme would not be a decision to take lightly.
How do I convert a domain from Enhanced to Standard privacy?
Great question. The user documentation really needs to be updated so this can be clearly explained.
1. Visit https://app.avvy.domains/user/domains
2. Click into the domain you want to convert
3. Under “Basic Information”, near the “Privacy” section you’ll see a button that says “Switch to Standard Privacy”. Click that and it will guide you through the process.
When you generate proofs (on purchasing a domain) is that the equivalent to minting an NFT?
This is a great question! We’ve already discussed Standard vs Enhanced Privacy a bit. For domains registered with Enhanced Privacy, the domain isn’t actually published to the chain. Instead, we only use the hash of the domain as the token ID, which is a large number.
Let’s say you register myname.avax with Enhanced Privacy – for a chain sleuth looking at a block explorer, it is relatively difficult for them to deduce that you have registered myname.avax as they can only see the token ID, a very large number. To convert that number to myname.avax is similar to cracking an unsalted password.
So all that said, the AVVY smart contracts don’t necessarily know what name you are registering, the pricing is based on name length and we also have various constraints we want to enforce on the names (e.g. we only want lower-case letters so that AVVY.avax and avvy.avax can’t both be registered in the system).
When you generate proofs during registration, you are creating a zero knowledge proof that tells the smart contracts things like “this domain has more than 5 characters” or “this domain has only lower-case letters” without actually revealing the domain on-chain.
I saw your video on how to set up the .sh extension here, it’s neat and reminds me of link tree.
Yes, it is meant to be similar to link tree! This was a quick prototype project to show what we can do with the .avax names!
I noticed that avax.sh works as a domain. What is the .sh about (is it required)?
avax.sh is a gateway service for viewing the .avax domains on the web.
Since most browsers only support domains in the ICANN root zone, we need an alternative way to visit websites hosted at a .avax domain. avax.sh is one method of accessing websites which requires no additional software. The disadvantage is that it is a centralized service which you ultimately have to trust to behave correctly.
In the future we definitely hope that it is not necessary.
Does avax.sh work with enhanced privacy on?
It depends on how you want to use it.
For web3 websites on IPFS or for the avax.sh profile, it will work! For web2 websites which rely on a DNS record, it currently does not.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the 1k, 10k, 100k club on ENS, do you envision a thing happening like this on Avalanche? It looks like it from the very recent avvybot notifications
I’m definitely more on the tech side of things! I’ve only become aware of the 10k club through monitoring avvybot’s tweets =) but it definitely looks like they are popular.
I wanted to understand more about AVVY’s stance on squatting and people who are buying for hopes of reselling?
Ultimately these are legal issues & AVVY’s goal is to be a neutral service provider. We are not lawyers nor judges. We have included dispute resolution as we believe that reasonable disputes can arise, but we don’t intend to be the arbiters of those disputes.
The linked blog post is meant to stimulate personal thought about the intent of a registration.
Here are a few examples that illustrate very different scenarios with name registrations:
a. I register my own name for personal use
b. I register a generic english word to add to my collection
c. I register someone member’s name (let’s say I infer an Avalanche community
member’s name via their Twitter handle) and try to sell it to them
d. I register the name of a multinational company & tag them on Twitter with a link to
At the moment, disputes would need to be filed with an ICANN Approved Dispute Resolution Provider. Each of the dispute resolution providers has a list of decisions which are interesting to read through and can help users understand the intricacies of name registrations.
Have you had to start any dispute cases yet?
I think dispute resolution does not exist on ENS, and my personal take is hopefully mediation works for all (resellers) whilst clear-as-day malicious actors are potentially blacklisted.
Agreed! For anyone who is uncomfortable with dispute resolution, I really recommend browsing through some of the decisions made by the ICANN Approved Dispute Resolution Providers. For example, here are a list of decisions made by the Canadian provider.
How closely do you follow the ENS scene, and did this lead to where you are now?
ENS was the first use-case for blockchain that really resonated with me. I had heard about it pretty early on and it stuck with me. The concept made a lot of sense to me in two ways: first, it made sense to take a distributed system like DNS and drop it onto a smart contract platform, to let the underlying system handle the consensus. Second, it made sense to improve the UX of a platform with relatively indistinguishable identifiers (i.e. wallet addresses) by replacing them with something human readable.
Of course there are many other benefits, but those are the big ones that stood out to me.
What’s the data looking like in terms of Avvy exceeding 100K domain registrations?
Honestly not really tracking supply changes at the moment! We want to put as much focus as possible on project utility & real users of the application!
I’ll be honest, with all the .eth naming service volume going crazy, I’m excited to see what happens on Avalanche in the near future.
Thanks very much for taking the time to chat with us Coconaut!
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