How Leather uses to BNS names to help users own their identity
Aug 31, 2023
Creating and maintaining full control over your digital identity is, in many ways, harder than it has ever been before. Much of crypto and Web3 was built on empowering users to own their online identity, and use their unique identifiers to access a growing ecosystem of decentralized applications.
Some of these technologies are being built on the Bitcoin network, including the Bitcoin Name System (BNS). BNS is a cross-platform, user-owned, blockchain-powered Web3 domain that allows users to create a digital identity. Assets under a BNS domain are wholly owned by their user, allowing for censorship resistant management of everything from social media profile information, digital artifacts such as NFTs and avatars and more that can be used across dApps in the Web3 ecosystem.
Additionally, BNS names serve as the unique identifiers that users can employ as a key to unlock many projects and protocols being built on Bitcoin Web3. But what exactly is BNS, and how can you claim and utilize your BNS name today?
What is BNS (Bitcoin Name System)?
If you’re new to Web3, you can draw comparisons between BNS and the traditional Web 2.0 DNS that many users are familiar with.
Simply put, the Web2 Domain Name System allows web browsers to identify the IP address based on human-readable input and direct users to the correct page, where they can find the content and information they seek. DNS revolutionized the internet upon its launch, powering search engines like Google and greatly increasing the accessibility of the internet for the average user.
BNS allows users to own and control a domain name that functions in very much the same way. At its core, it is a simplified, human-readable, one-stop alternative to the 34-character Bitcoin wallet address used to interact with the Bitcoin network and broader Web3 ecosystem.
If you’re familiar with Web3, then you’ll soon recognize that BNS is for Bitcoin what ENS is for Ethereum. Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is also a decentralized naming system built on the Ethereum blockchain. It was designed to make it easier for users to interact with Ethereum addresses, smart contracts and other resources using human-readable names than end in .eth.
BNS effectively aims to accomplish the same functions, but on the Bitcoin blockchain.
What are the Benefits of BNS?
As we mentioned, a key benefit of BNS is the vastly superior ease it provides in transacting on the Bitcoin network. Whether it's tokens, NFTs, or digital artifacts like Ordinals inscriptions, BNS allows assets to be easily managed in a user-friendly way similar to existing web apps.
This includes transactions between different users. Instead of the long, complicated 34-character alphanumeric Bitcoin wallet addresses that Bitcoin users had known for years, the human-readable quality of BNS names makes transactions less cumbersome. For example, if we take a .btc name as an example, a name like “mark.btc” is easier to recognize (and remember) for users looking to transact with the original user.
Additionally, a BNS domain allows users to create a simplified digital identity that they, and they alone, control (after all, the user has full control over their private key). This provides an extra layer of identity security, and is undroppable (unlike assets in the DNS system) due to its perpetual existence on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Users can also opt to bridge to a domain name and use their BNS names as web pages. The web bridge basically turns btc.us into a top level domain, and users can generate subdomains for their own use and link to their own websites.
How to use BNS with your Bitcoin Wallet
If you’d like to use a BNS name for your Bitcoin transactions, you’ll need to claim a domain name first. Some users opt to visit a domain name site like btc.us, where they can connect their Stacks-compatible crypto wallet and select an address that isn’t yet associated with a .btc domain. Once claimed, your .btc name is valid for five years, and you can associate it with your Bitcoin wallet.
If you’re a Leather user, then your BNS name will not only appear in your wallet as a collectible, but you’ll also be able to employ it immediately. Other Leather users, for example, can enter your BNS name instead of your Bitcoin address when they want to send you tokens.
Additionally, users can also purchase BNS names on marketplaces like Gamma, where users also sell, transfer and buy .btc domains. If you have a BNS name, you can also use it on certain marketplaces to transfer assets. Gamma, for instance, allows users to transfer NFTs to one another using BNS, with each BNS name also reserved as each user’s own unique profile address.
The Potential of BNS
Today’s digital reality of censorship and increasing third-party control of assets highlights the need for Web3 solutions like BNS. Your digital identity and everything associated with it should belong to you, not a corporate entity that will sacrifice your autonomy to meet other demands.
BNS offers the promise of real, total ownership of your digital identity, and the potential to revolutionize the Web3 ecosystem. DNS is the backbone of the modern internet and everything we’ve come to take for granted in the digital world.
Imagine the future that BNS could ignite.