Blockchain and the DNS: A Beautiful Relationship

It’s Blockchain Week in New York City, and while plenty of us don’t live there, it’s still a good excuse to weigh in on all things blockchain, especially as it relates to the DNS.

Many may not realize it, but there’s a growing affinity between blockchain start-ups and new top-level domain names, as well as the Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure more generally. The blockchain / DNS synchrony is an opportunity that the Donuts.Ventures team seized early, starting back in 2016. Led by Tim Favia, Donuts senior vice president of corporate development, and Donuts co-founder Paul Stahura, the team quickly realized that the DNS and blockchain were complementary. Although not immediately evident why this is so, Tim recently described the blockchain/DNS connection in a Q&A article for IDG:

“The DNS is global, reliable, distributed, highly scalable and it’s basically free for any / all to use. At its heart, blockchain facilitates contracts (transactions) between entities; often, the best way to characterize or describe those contracts is through use of a name (e.g., a domain name), or by leveraging an address-based distributed network (e.g., the DNS). For any hyper-growth blockchain company seeking to develop breakout new apps or services in record time, the DNS can be a critical infrastructure to pair with the blockchain. ”

And therein lies the complementarity of the two technologies.

To date, Donuts.Ventures blockchain investments include Netki, a leading provider of blockchain identity and wallets, and Geo.Network, a leading platform that leverages both the DNS and blockchain to enable geofence applications for drones, airports, ecommerce and more.  Stay tuned for more Donuts.Ventures investments in blockchain coming soon.

As noted in Forbes earlier this year, domain names containing crypto terms soared in value in 2017. While that article cited GoDaddy (and mainly names that ended in .COM), the world of new top-level domains (TLDs) is getting more than its fair share of usage from crypto and blockchain start-ups.  As tracked by the website coinmarketcap.com, between 15-20 of the top 100 crypto start-ups (as measured by market capitalization) are using a new TLD for their website address. In the April rankings, these include:

Sites Using
Donuts New TLDs
Sites Using
Other New TLDs
https://tron.network https://sia.tech
https://omisego.network https://mixin.one
https://icon.foundation https://digix.global
https://z.cash https://rchain.coop
https://aion.network
https://golem.network
https://h.cash
https://kyber.network
https://liquid.plus
https://polymath.network 
https://bancor.network

One high-flying blockchain player, Swarm, is actually using their swarm.com URL to redirect to swarm.fund! And Tech Crunch has an interesting article about Compound.Finance, a Coinbase investment – more proof of the love affair between block-chain start-ups and new TLDs.

Equally exciting, platinum names in blockchain are doing quite well. A couple of noteworthy sales include:

  • Bitcoin.market – sold in 2016 for $15,000
  • Bitcoin.casino – sold by a domain investor in the aftermarket for $28,000 in 2017
  • Bitcoin.live – sold in 2018 for $30,000
  • Blockchain.ventures – sold by a domain investor in the aftermarket for $42,000 in 2018

Donuts has a very attractive portfolio of high-value blockchain and bitcoin-related names, so we will undoubtedly  see more of these high-value sales in the future.