Historically, the process of sending cryptocurrency to long, unreadable cryptographic addresses has been fraught with stress about making sure you’re paying the right person. Given blockchain’s inherent immutability, it wouldn’t be uncommon to waste an inordinate amount of time double or triple-checking an address and sending tiny test transactions to verify the recipient’s identity.
Meanwhile, peer-to-peer (P2P) cash payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and Zelle have rather quickly and easily become mainstream – growing to a forecasted $396 billion in mobile transactions during 2020 – because they verify users’ accounts with other identifying information, such as usernames, emails, phone numbers and social media profiles.
In order for cryptocurrency to become a commonly accepted form of P2P payment, it needs to feel both easier and safer for people to use. Fortunately, the team at Unstoppable Domains is elevating cryptocurrency payments on both fronts.
Unstoppable Domains is a blockchain-based protocol for registering and hosting domain names as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain. Co-founder Brad Kam explained his role as getting blockchain domains integrated into as many applications as possible. “Our primary products are .crypto and .zil domains that people can use to replace their long wallet addresses with a simple, human-readable name like brad.crypto,” he said.
Blockchain domains can be used for decentralized websites and stored in cryptocurrency wallets, where they function like usernames for receiving cryptocurrency, akin to a decentralized Venmo. While eliminating the need for long, unreadable crypto addresses is a feat all on its own, San Francisco-based Unstoppable Domains, backed by Draper Associates and Boost VC, is also making it possible to verify crypto addresses with real-world identifying information for the very first time.
Last October, having already registered over 300,000 .crypto and .zil domains, Unstoppable Domains announced its partnership with Chainlink to authenticate .crypto addresses by allowing users to connect their public Twitter profiles. Attaching real-world off-chain information to blockchain domains offers a unique and appealing blend of identity verification and privacy through pseudonyms and avatars.
“Chainlink has helped us take the initial step in creating decentralized identities. Through our Chainlink verification process, users can confirm their identity by linking their Twitter account to their domain via a Chainlink oracle,” Kam said. “Chainlink verification allows users to be confident that they’re interacting with the right person.”
Kam believes that blockchain domains authenticated by off-chain identifying information will become the standard in blockchain technology, as the world moves from centralized to decentralized systems where a person’s domain will function as a decentralized identity across various applications. “Couple this with Chainlink’s technology to verify digital identity (D-ID) and you have a reliable way to transact with anyone or anything on the blockchain,” he said.
A goal of Unstoppable Domains is to put people back in control of their own D-IDs. “These integrations move us towards an ecosystem of decentralized identities – one in which users are in control of their own data and not at the mercy of centralized big tech entities like Facebook or Google,” Kam said.
As it becomes easier for new users to get into blockchain with simple, human-readable domain names combined with an on-chain guarantee of identity, Kam forecasts the mainstream adoption of P2P cryptocurrency payments as a secure alternative to Venmo. “In a few years, we’ll look back and wonder why we never made crypto’s user experience this simple to begin with.”
Developers can integrate .crypto or .zil domains by using Unstoppable Domains resolution libraries, then submitting their app via the Unstoppable Domains website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Cryptocurrency users can browse available domains here.