Experimenting with ENS

Nicholas Ptacek
2 min readNov 18, 2021

Did you know that 👁👄👁.eth is a valid ENS domain?

So is ţ̶̨̨̛̤͚͉̩̞̝̦̝̩̠͕̤̪͛ιē̶̛̝͇̪͈̘̲͎̭̹̫̤̖̞͇͈̈́s̵̢̢̙̼̯̼̱̭͔̲̺̦̍̄̎̓͝ṱ̸̛̛̛̲̻͙̈̃̐̃̍̎͘͝.eth

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This is essay 3 of 7 for The Tech Progressive Writing Challenge. Check out build_ to join the conversation.

One of the main draws of web2 is the ability to register your own domain name, a trend which continues in web3. By leveraging the power of unicode, we can create unique ENS domains that are sure to stand out.

DNS (Domain Name Service) maps IP addresses to domains, so when you type an address in your browser it knows how route your request to the correct web server. ENS (Ethereum Name Service) maps Ethereum addresses to domains. Instead of having to remember a 40 character Ethereum address, you just need to remember the .eth domain registered with ENS.

This technology shows exciting potential in the web3 space, and could form the basis of portable digital identities. Beyond the technical possibilities, ENS offers the chance to get way more creative than you can with traditional web2 domain names, thanks to its support of unicode.

With unicode support, it’s possible to include emoji characters in an ENS domain. This offers a way to stand out from the crowd, and can even be extended to make the domain a piece of art in and of itself. Meme potential abounds. I spent some time experimenting in this space, and found that unicode support can be leveraged far beyond what is offered by emojis alone.

For example, there are 750 emoji that can be used to get around the three character minimum requirement for ENS Domains (visually, at least). These 750 emoji characters are actually made up of multiple emoji characters that have been sandwiched together, giving the illusion of a single character. The scarcity of these single emoji character ENS domains will make for a rather exclusive club, but do cost more than registering a plaintext ENS domain.

Beyond emoji, there are other unicode tricks we can try, such as flipping text upside down or glitching it out. I experimented with glitching the text using Zalgo Text Generator, and used YayText to flip it upside down. It feels like there is a lot of room for further exploration and experimentation in this space, and it’s likely that we’ll see some pretty creative ENS domains in the months to come.

Examples of valid ENS domains