Blockchain Naming Service: .btc Bull Case | Own Your Crypto: Episode 4
In this episode, we take a look at the bull case for .btc namespaces, the history of Bitcoin decentralized identities, and why crypto whales are secretly snatching them up under-radar.
Elizabeth (Host): Last week we talked about Bitcoin NFTs, and this week we're diving into Bitcoin domains, which are also NFTs. You can transfer and trade them. This is quite a timely topic because for the last week or two, we've seen a huge increase in Bitcoin domain purchases or BNS. BNS is short for blockchain name systems or Bitcoin namespaces. In any case, both are referring to decentralized identities that are secured by the Bitcoin blockchain. Whether you realize it or not, you've probably seen many .BTC names and other community domain names out there similar to ENS or dot ETH, or Ethereum.
When you hear BNS or ENS, we're referring to these decentralized identities, which is a single username, for example, Elizabeth dot BTC. You can use that username instead of a 34-letter or number wallet address. You can use that username to log in, send, receive, and sign transactions.
We'll talk about more current and future use cases coming up soon, but if this is new to you, you can read more on our blog, which we're going to pin to the space. We’re also happy to present the full bull case for dot BTC names.
Also, for a little bit of further context, the surge in transaction volume for BNS names this past week went up reportedly 260%, which caused a bit of network congestion on the Stacks network. The congestion has largely subsided. In any case, Stacks’ devs have been fastidiously working these past months on scalability and speed solutions for the network. There's a lot to be excited about here if you’re new to stacks and that’s something we're actively working towards.
We'll also dive into it more with our guest speakers.
- Ken Liao
- Nick Sainato
- Jamil Dhanani
Nick from Gamma, how many twitter spaces have you been on now related to this topic?
Nick (Gamma): I think this is the fourth of the fifth one, but it's fun every time, so I have no complaints. Also, I think I see ΞxitLiquidity here in the audience. I think maybe I don't know if I think Elizabeth said to request to come up we'll. It'll be good to have some fresh voices in here. I'm sure everyone loves to hear us speak, but I think it's also good to get some new voices heard as well.
Elizabeth (Host): Definitely. Actually, Exit as you come up here, we would love to give you a chance to introduce yourself. We're really excited to have people from some cross-chain friends. Everyone, give him a huge welcome. We'd love to hear more about the project you're working on and perhaps how you started getting involved in ENS and now BNS.
ΞxitLiquidity: Hi, guys. Thanks for having me today. It's cool to be here. I'm excited about the whole stacks ecosystem, particularly BNS. I think there's a lot of ground to cover, but it's off to a good start. It's cool to see enthusiasm coming into it. I'm relatively late into BNS. I only got into it two weeks ago, and part of the push was for digits.
Anyone who knows me around here knows that I'm the relentless shiller of digits domains. I think there's a lot of demand for it that is going to come surging into web3, and we're just starting to see the beginning of it. As far as projects I'm working on, I got my hand on a couple of different things, but mostly I'm just doing the degen thing and going where the money goes.
I see a lot of potential in dot BTC domains. The only other domains I have are ENS, so dot ETH. All the other chains, I don't really touch. I don't see much potential in them. I think there are some quick flips to be made, but as far as long-term adoption, and long-term potential, I think BTC has the biggest upside. That's why I'm here. That's why I'm into it. Let's get this going.
Elizabeth (Host): Awesome. It's so great to have you here and hear more about your perspective on the space and on the ecosystem. before we get into the trenches with software and blockchain tech, just for those who are getting familiarized with decentralized identities, what are some real-world use cases for ENS and BNS?
ΞxitLiquidity: I can jump on that. as far as real-world use cases go, I think the biggest one we see with ENS would be the adoption of signing in to different platforms. Right now, everyone knows that Google and Facebook all have a monopoly on sign-ins for most platforms. If you're not going to use your email, you got to use those.
I think that for a lot, it's clunky, and it's easy to forget your password. I think that having one domain to rule them all is going to be huge where you can just sign in with one thing. It's not just a username, it's your bank account, and it's everything you want it to be.
Also, if you want it to be, it can be anonymous. I think that's huge too. Aside from that, there's going to be a lot of other stuff connected to it. As far as flex goes, usernames from Instagram to all of these, Twitter even. There's a secondary market for short, clean, recognizable domains and that's 100% going to trickle over into this space.
Dot BTC is relatively new. I think a lot of people haven't heard about it. As we go forward and as the usability of the network gets less friction, you're going to see a lot more people come into it. I think right now the biggest thing putting people off is that degens are lazy.
If there's an extra step between their MetaMask doing this thing, they're just going to roll their eyes and be like, “Ah, I’ll get back to it when it's easier to do.” That's where the opportunity lies, being willing to figure out this new thing before it's easy for everyone to get. To some degree, ENS is still in that growth phase. For a lot of people, just getting your aunt and uncle to buy Ethereum and then setting up a MetaMask is enough of a headache. Telling them how to register an ENS name, that it’s an NFT in their wallet, and it expires. All this extra stuff is already quite difficult for most people to even get over that hurdle.
Then you have this whole other ecosystem with dot BTC that is doable for people who are already familiar with the current Ethereum domain system. That's true for other ones, like dot SOL, dot ADA, and all of those. You have to learn this new setup. As far as the mass is coming in, it’s a long way to go.
I think what BTC has that's really going to kick it off is there's this giant dormant group of BTC maxis who don't do any of this web3 stuff. They buy, they “hold” and that's it. I think a lot of them are herding for a native Bitcoin smart contract chain. Right now, the Bitcoin blockchain itself can't have opcodes, so there is no compatibility for a domain system, smart contracts, and stuff.
So, if you can make something that really takes off, which Stacks is an L1, but in some respects, it's like an L2 on Bitcoin. Someone jump in and correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how I perceived it. I think we can really get Bitcoin maxi people who are averse to other chains to be like it's not directly on Bitcoin, but it is a product of Bitcoin. They're going to come flooding in and everyone likes a clean username. Bitcoin whales or some of the biggest crypto whales there are. Everybody likes to flex. Everyone likes to have this cool, shiny thing, so I think that BNS domains can really drive the adoption of Stacks. A lot of Bitcoin maxis don't really care about NFTs. They don't want cartoon jpegs and PFPs, but domains are universally appealing to everyone cross-culturally.
If BNS can really get some traction and the network can handle that amount of users piling in, BNS is going to carry the charge of this thing out into adoption. Sorry, that might have been a little long, but that's where I'm at.
Nick (Gamma): In my mind, I think you hit at least two if not three of my top four reasons that I think this is almost like a holy quad trinity or something like that. If there was such a thing. You have this desirability of something like a Twitter handle that brands and even individuals that are seeking these usernames. This is a rhetorical question, but Xverse, you’re @xverseapp. I'm sure you'd be willing to do quite a bit to get @Xverse just for the simplicity of that handle there.
The second thing is the friendliness of that single sign-on like you mentioned Exit. Signing in with Google, and signing in with Facebook, are centralized entities and there's no reason that you should have to rely on any of them. All of this can be user-owned and you can just log into any application on the web with this identity.
The third thing is the ease of sending payments. You have something like a cash tag. Just tell somebody what your cash tag is on the cash app. Same thing, but again, it’s decentralized, and there is no need to have a middleman. You can accept payments directly.
Then the fourth and most valuable aspect that I think Bitcoin uniquely provides here is censorship resistance and the decentralization aspect. You combine all of these things and it just makes so much sense in terms of how you can identify yourself and exist on the blockchain.
As we talk about the bull case, how many billions of people are on the planet, and how many reasonably short and memorable names are at dot BTC out there? I'm not a hugely speculative person, but to me, it just makes so much sense. It's both practical, useful, extremely finite, and scarce.
Ken (Xverse): Yeah. I just want to plus one on the payment use case, which I think is really going to be big because if you look at the narrative that a lot of the Bitcoin maxis are talking about right now that Bitcoin doesn't need web3 or NFTs, that Bitcoin is money, so use Bitcoin for payments. But the dot BTC names, or BNS names in general, allow people to send and receive Bitcoin, making payments much easier than it is now. once they start to realize that this is really good for Bitcoin, I think a lot of people will start to come around and just basically boost the adoption of BTC names.
A comparison that we can make is, for example, DNS which is the domain name system that is like google.com or whatever.com. That is like the universal phone book for the internet, so it abstracted away IP addresses so that in your browser, you don't have to type in these long numbers that you can't really remember.
BNS is a universal phone book for money. Instead of having to type in a blockchain address or having to know the recipient's bank name, bank address, and account number. You can just type in their BNS username and you can send money to them. on top of that, it's uncensorable. It's not tied to a specific service like PayPal or something like that. nobody can just say, “I don't like what you're doing with your money, so I'm going to disable your handle or your account so that you can no longer use it to receive money.”
Elizabeth (Host):: ENS has been popular and largely adopted for some time, but historically, when did BNS domains come out, and for how long have they been around and used?
Ken (Xverse): Yeah, I can maybe start this off. this is probably a little-known fact that BNS, the protocol that dot BTC names are based on, had a really long history. this was actually before ENS even. The first iteration of BNS was actually called Onename. It was built on top of a blockchain called Namecoin. Satoshi himself actually supported the creation of something like this back in 2010 on the Bitcoin talk forums. He was actually very supportive of something like this.
Then Namecoin was like a merged mind blockchain with Bitcoin, but it was eventually realized that Namecoin really has some serious security flaws. Onename, what it was called at the time, decided to move, and rebuild the entire thing directly on top of Bitcoin. That was the first iteration of BNS that's similar to what we have now. You could send the Bitcoin transaction. You basically burn Bitcoin to register these names.
The first namespace or extension was actually dot ID. Basically, when you want to create a namespace, you actually have to burn a significant amount of Bitcoin. When the dot ID name space was created, 40 Bitcoins were burned and sent to an unrecoverable address in order to create this namespace. that's a lot of money in today's money.
The current version of BNS is like another iteration. It was realized that maybe we want to add more functionality to BNS. Bitcoin script itself was quite limited, so you couldn't do a lot of things like having a marketplace. Stacks was created as an expressive smart contract platform, and BNS was the first application that was built on top of it. That's what we have today. You can see that if you already have marketplaces like Gamma, you could easily transfer the names. A lot more features and functionality has yet to come for BNS.
Nick (Gamma): In terms of why we probably saw a little bit of a gap there. It’s probably twofold. One thing that at least those of us in Stacks are very quick to remind everyone of is that there is this very loud Bitcoin maximalist community that wants Bitcoin to do absolutely nothing, but there are also plenty of people who want Bitcoin to be productive. It makes no sense that you have this extremely valuable asset that is just sitting there and not being used for anything. It's this most trusted settlement layer that is really good at settling the outcome of transactions that occur on the internet. Not using it for anything other than a store of value.
First things first, you just have a loud minority of people who just don't want to do anything more with Bitcoin, yet plenty of people who really do want to do something more. That leads to the second reason, or at least direction, which is that the experimenters or the people that were wanting to do more with crypto and saying, “We don't need to stop at a store of value. There is so much more potential here.”
That's where you saw the creation of the Ethereum network and this world computer and this, “Let's continue to experiment. Let's continue to try new things in a distributed way.” It led to more user-friendly applications of decentralized identities like ENS.
Now that people are coming back around to this idea of, “Okay, it's important that we can combine both the functionality with what we believe to be the most decentralized and secure settlement layer. Not that Ethereum isn't to be clear, but there's generally a ton of trust, even institutional trust in Bitcoin. It only makes sense that we start making it productive and that's what Stacks is aiming to do. That's of course what BNS is aiming to do on the identity side.
ΞxitLiquidity: All right I’ll jump in on something I wanted to mention. For the last two weeks, I’ve been into the BNS domain system, I’ve been making OTC trades with people and it's tedious to hunt people down for the domain you're looking for. Now that Gamma marketplace has come into the picture, it's a huge step in the right direction.
Anyone that's been into ENS for a while knows that ENS was— Stagnant is not the right word, but its volume was fractions of what it's been in the last six months. A lot of that is because looking for domain names has been such a pain. The only real place to find him Is Open Sea, and you had to look for a specific name. There are no categorizations. There are very few tools to hunt down a domain that you're looking for. In particular, there's no way to make these collections inside of ENS. Once ENS vision came around, ENS tools came around, it changed the game because now, you are able to categorize things into digits, three letters, countries, and even all the way down to Pokémon names.
This makes these subcategories, these sub-collections, and more importantly, communities that collect these different types of categories of domains that kicked off the ENS. What we've seen is just interest, bull run, everything. The marketplace is what matters because that drives liquidity. It makes it easier for the user and it makes specific types of domains more valuable and standalone from the gigantic pool of supply. There are two and a half million ENS domains. Easily, 95% of them are, for lack of a better word, worthless. They’re either very specific people's names, their gamer handle, or something silly, or memes, but they don't really have any value.
This is going to be the same case for BNS. When more marketplaces come to it, there’s more usability of the marketplace. Gamma's got the head start, the first mover advantage, able to sort things by their lengths, the characters in them, palindromes, all types of stuff. You're going to see more people come because now they can better assess what the value is. They can see the floor price on a digit or the floor price on a three-letter. This lets the market determine the value of things.
Without these things, it's the wild west. You don't really know how much a thing should cost. When I was first trying to buy my three-digit domains, I’ll tell people, “How much do you want?”
Then they're like, “I don't know. How much is it worth?” So, we're unsure what to even ask or sell it for. But now that we have these marketplaces and people can list, people come in and they buy or they don't buy, and the price adjusts.
This speculation and this market figuring it out, in turn, brings adoption because as much as people don't like to admit it, people flipping, people in it for the quick buck, that is the initial stage of adoption that you need. The liquidity drivers are what bring eyeballs, and the more eyeballs you bring, the more people ask why they are buying this. Then the use case, the value starts to flourish. The original prospectors are the people that bring the attention and the spotlight to the space and drive adoption forward.
What BTC has going forward above all else is brand recognition. All these other extensions, dot ID sound cool, but it's not instantly affiliated with specific crypto and that doesn't really get people hot for it, but everybody knows BTC. BTC is the king of the coins.
Even though there's a lot of ground to go as far as usability goes like resolving Bitcoin addresses in different wallets, on exchanges, being able to potentially assign a Bitcoin wallet to a BTC domain, all of that stuff can come later as we go in these early days of speculation, but the brand matters big time in my opinion. That’s what brought me here. Dot ETH is obviously the king of smart contracts, the king of the smart computer, but Bitcoin is Bitcoin. Everybody knows Bitcoin. It's synonymous with the word crypto, so that's huge.
Getting it to a point where it's totally compatible with all things Bitcoin is— I hope comes sooner than later, but these early days of BNS speculation, trading, popularity, flex, and username are super important just to get people on board in the community, bring the brains, bring the people who are like, “This is going to be the next best thing. How can I contribute? How can I help this marketplace? How can I get more people into it?” These early swirling days of “There's a buck to be made here”, in my opinion, are really important.
That's what brought me. That's what's getting me to tell other people about it. “Hey, this is going to be big. You should get in now. I know it's tricky to get in. You got to make your Hiro wallet. It's one domain per wallet. The network is slow. But if you can just get over all of that and get in early, fortune favors the bold, and like so many things, in two years, three years, four years, if you have a clean, cool dot BTC domain, it signals to everybody that you were here before everybody else. That alone is valuable. That's another bullish use case aside from the actual utility of the domain. I’ve been telling people, “Just get in man. Just get them now while you can, while it's hard.”
Elizabeth (Host): Absolutely. Just a shameless plug here–you can get Hiro on a desktop or with Xverse through mobile as well. But yeah, I completely agree. People now are recognizing the value of having decentralized identities secured on Bitcoin. Despite that it's a bear market, this is exactly the environment where tech and products, so to speak, that are producing tangible value come to service, especially with the brand value as you mentioned with Bitcoin. It's not just a hot commodity or risky NFT that's going to get rugged. This is something that will endure and what we believe will appreciate and value over time (not financial advice).
Just diving into this further, we were talking about community. With layers on Bitcoin, there's a completely new culture unlocked for communities being created around Bitcoin. With Satoshibles, I see we had Grace here from Crash Punks. Can anyone register their own community, extension, or namespace and then just sell them? How does that work?
Ken (Xverse): Yeah. As you said, it's a completely decentralized trustless system, so anybody can come and create their own namespace or extension. Right now, the tools aren't that great. If you wanted to create your own extension, you have to make a call to the smart contract, BNS smart contract. They have to know what you're doing. Eventually, better tools will be built for this, and maybe that's the next thing that Gamma works on.
It does cost a little bit of money because you don't want these extensions to be too cheap because you then would get a lot of squatters who just register a whole bunch of extensions and don't really do anything with them.
The cool thing about creating a namespace, or extension is if you create it, you can set the rules. You can set the price of the names and you can change how the price is calculated. On dot BTC, the price of a name is constant. It doesn't matter how long your name is, it's the same 2 STX.
You could create rules if you build your own new space where you can charge more for a shorter name versus a longer name just to prevent people from registering all the three-digit and four-digit names all at once in the beginning. If someone really wants it, it could be expensive, but it means that they really want that name and they're going to put it to use.
Elizabeth (Host): How do we make sure that this is being properly maintained and incentivize people to proactively contribute?
Ken (Xverse): Right now, there are a few working groups and the community coming around to build the next iteration of BNS. I think the exact structure of that community has yet to be figured out, but if you make a comparison to ENS which I don't think that many people know, but actually seven people hold the keys to the ENS contract. Those people have to sign off in order to make a change to the ENS contract.
I think with BTC or BNS we can do better. Potentially, we can turn the BNS contract into a DAO so that more people can be involved in the process. You can make it so that the people that have registered dot BTC names or other BNS names have a vote and they get to say what improvements or advancements they want in this system. But I think it's still pretty early and the community is still coming around.
Elizabeth (Host): Do we see a path forward where ENS and BNS could even potentially work cross-chain?
Nick (Gamma): ENS already has some functionality along these lines today. Currently, Stacks people may or may not know this, you can actually go to the ENS website and you can add a Stacks address. You can associate a Stacks address to your existing ENS name already. BNS needs to catch up in functionality to be able to do similar kinds of things, even just as simple as that, which is more of just a cross-chain identifier and perhaps payments and things like that.
But there are certainly other potentials for closer connections and closer cross-chain integrations. I think across all of crypto, that's the discussion that's going on right now. How we facilitate just an easier cross-chain web3 experience, which right now, is not particularly great in general on really any coupled chains except for Ethereum L1s and L2s, but that's not really exactly the same thing. There's definitely potential there, but I think some of it remains to be seen.
Elizabeth (Host): Out of all the spaces that you've been a part of, what would you say is the biggest theory as to why the sudden surge is happening now and why BNS?
Nick (Gamma): There's probably a number of reasons. I mentioned earlier that the stars are aligning a little bit in terms of functionality, catching back up in terms of Bitcoin being programmable, at least to a limited extent right now, and hopefully even more so as we continue to develop on Stacks and the different use cases that are going to be made possible.
Some of it, as Exit was mentioning a little bit earlier is you have this organic one-person-tells-another-person type situation. We had some viral tweets that were going around on Twitter that were bringing some eyes to Stacks, and along those same lines, to BTC names. I think it's possible that we were just already on the brink of something and all we needed was a viral tweet to bring enough attention to it to make people really interested. Maybe Exit, if you want to mention how did you find out about this?
ΞxitLiquidity: I'm in a lot of different digits groups and ENS whale groups, and I was actually DM-ed by a particularly notable ENS whale digits enthusiast. I can't say who, but they're the ones who told me about it and told me they're definitely over there. They're accumulating digits. There are a lot of four digits left unminted. They're quietly soaking up some three digits that they can, but they don't want to publicly come out with it because they just don't want people saying stuff like, “You're just pumping and dumping. you're going to empty on us.”
They came to me because they were like, “We knew you don't have that issue. You're relatively small, for lack of a better word, influencer-type. People follow you, but you're not going to make a gigantic splash. Some people will see it, some people won't. I don't have enough “oomph” to move the price on something crazy.
I started tweeting about it like “I'm doing this.” I got dozens of people DM-ing me about how to do it. When I told them you got to download Hiro wallet, you got to swap some ETH for STX, it's one per wallet, you got to generate it, you got to hunt on these things, almost all of them were like, “Oh man, that sounds hard. I'm not going to do it.”
But a handful of people did do it. George said that he found out about it from my tweets. I think there are plenty of people with way deeper pockets than I have that have already been in the BNS ecosystem for longer than I have, and they're just quietly doing their thing without splashing the pool.
If I had to guess, they're waiting for it to get a little bigger, a little more organic in popularity, trending a little bit, and then out and be like, “Yeah, I'm into it too.” They fear that it's such a small ecosystem and not so small, but considerably less activity, with people chattering about it on Twitter and in their groups that if they came out and were like, “Hey, check this out.”
It would be such a run on it that anything that could possibly go wrong, they would catch flack for it, so they just rather not. I would definitely predict and can say pretty confidently that in the next few months, the more that this gains traction, the more people get on board. You're going to see way bigger accounts come out and announce, “I got this domain. Check it out over here,” or even just straight up put their dot BTC handle in their name.
There are definitely bigger players behind the scenes that are too big to really put themselves here. They're more scrupulous and they don't want to cause trouble before this baby gets off the ground, but I don't have that problem, so I’m out here all day being like, “hey, check it out. You should definitely be over.”
Elizabeth (Host): Thanks. Definitely appreciate the support. This is their chance to be early and their chance to say, “I told you so,” in a few months even.
ΞxitLiquidity: Yeah, that's true. they'll be able to flex that they were early via the domain names they have. that'll be their way to signal, “I was here.” if anything, they might even announce, “Man, I've been here. I didn't want you guys coming at me if things went wrong.”
But I was always there, and I think I'm not the only person that this person reached out to. I'm in a few of the alpha chats that they run and they direct messaged me and were like, “You seem more willing to hustle for what you're doing, so check this out.”
I think a lot of people that they messaged the same, gave them the run like, “I don't know, man. I got to get a new wallet extension. I'll just wait.” I think that's an attitude of a lot of people, unfortunately. If it takes an extra 20 minutes of learning, they're just out.
Elizabeth (Host): Totally. Well, hopefully, we'll be making the whole onboarding process more and more smooth as we keep coming out with more education, more material, and making the user experience more and more seamless. This is something we're continuously working on at Xverse.
Speaking of hustling, congrats to the whole Gamma team on creating the marketplace. Nick, I even heard you can mint a collection of names. I even see Jamil here. I would be interested to hear from you guys. Nick, do you want to give us a quick tour of the new BNS marketplace on Gamma? How did you expand from art to BNS and what do you envision to be next for Gamma?
Nick (Gamma): I think BNS has always been at the core of Gamma. Jamil always says this way before this craze has taken off. The absolute first feature that was on Gamma, which was then Stacks NFT, was just the ability to type in your dot BTC name and see your holding. It was more of a profile than anything. That came even before the marketplace even existed. From the very beginning, you could look up a user by their dot BTC name. You could see who they were. In that way, you didn't have to see just an address that's hard to read.
One thing that I love that we do because as somebody who is also an ENS user, I have a three-character ENS name, yet Open Sea did not reserve me opensea.io slash my three-character ENS. Somebody else has that which to me is just hilarious given that ENS is prolific on Ethereum.
But in Gamma, the way we handle that is if you own that dot BTC name, you go to gamma.io slash that name, and that is your profile. It's reserved for you. The only way that someone else can use that is if they buy that name from you. That's just like first things first.
For about 8, 10, or 11 months now, we did not have a BNS marketplace. The main reason was we were aware that, as Exit has outlined, the user experience was not particularly great with the current version of BNS. It's not to say that it wasn't a focus for us, but in the laundry list of things that we've been trying to build out for the community, it was not as high on the list knowing that having a good experience was going to be quite tough.
But when crazy numbers of people are coming in demanding a better experience, we felt like we needed to step up and try to give it our best attempt, so we had to do some pretty unique things to make it work in a way that felt somewhat natural. The two most notable things that we tried to do to get around this one name per address limitation was number one, in order to do listings on the marketplace, there's no simple way to do that with the current version of BNS, so on the marketplace, when you go to list a name, you're actually technically deploying a smart contract to hold that name while it's listed. That sounds like a technical detail, and it somewhat is, but it was an important implementation detail in order for it to feel natural when you're listing something.
the second thing that we did that is perhaps my favorite feature is that when you're going to purchase a name, the assumption is you're going to have most of your money, most of the stacks, and potentially maybe your primary name at an address already, and to make somebody some random amount of large amounts of Stacks to all different addresses. that's a lot to ask of somebody when they've already gone through so many hurdles.
When you go to make a purchase, we actually allow you to pass a new address for a fresh wallet so that you can use your primary hot wallet as your primary hot wallet and just send the names that you're purchasing to a fresh wallet there.
I'm not trying to say that we've reinvented the wheelie or anything, but we tried to think about what was the lowest-hanging fruit to make the biggest impact on the experience. I don't know if you want to add anything there.
Jamil (Gamma): We actually weren't the first BNS marketplace, and we won't even try to take credit for that. There were people that did it earlier than us. There were people that got there first, but they did it in a way that feel like it didn't really create as good of a user experience. We won't be the last people to make a BNS marketplace either. There will be people that iterate on it. There'll be marketplaces that maybe show up on Ethereum through wrapping.
I think all of these things are good positive developments. You want to have people that can trade in different ways. Obviously, we at Gamma built one solution that we believe, in showing the attribute filtering as Exit was saying and all of these features that we think are important for building a BNS marketplace.
I'm hoping to see a flourishing of development now on the BNS ecosystem, both on the marketplace side, on the Ryder side with namespaces, and also on some of the cross-chain sides, both bringing in people from outside the ecosystem and just expanding the community to bring some of those features that Exit was talking about, like native Bitcoin integration and others that we're working on.
Elizabeth (Host): We’re seeing a lot of new faces in this space. Ken, can you speak about the Xverse user experience, how we're collaborating with Gamma, and what you see are some unlocks for us in the near future?
Ken (Xverse): Xverse is like infrastructure for this ecosystem. We build whatever the users want and we're open to supporting all the different use cases and things that you just want to do. Whatever Gamma is building or any other NFT marketplace is building, we want to support that a hundred percent.
From our end, we want to make it so that the user experience dealing with BNS names within the wallet is topnotch, so we already support sending and receiving of STX, other SIP10 tokens, and NFTs using dot BTC names and other BNS names within Xverse Wallet. We want to expand that to support sending Bitcoin as well.
Xverse already supports a Bitcoin wallet, but right now, it's just like any other Bitcoin wallet that you have to use an address to send Bitcoin. One of the big unlocks for dot BTC is being able to send Bitcoin using that name. That's something that is being proposed and in the works for the next iteration of dot BTC.
Also, we support using dot BTC names to sign in to applications, and right now, we can support that through the Xverse in-app browser. In the future, we would like to expand that to wallet connect as well. There are a lot of things that we do want to support and it's just a matter of what is the priority and when can we get that done.
Elizabeth (Host): also, just to reiterate again, for those of you who are new, if you have yet to purchase a dot BTC username or if you're new to Xverse and Stacks, we have pinned here a thread here in this space that will walk you through that process hopefully as smoothly as possible and give you some context.
We're about to wrap up soon with the questions section of the space and wanted to open it up to a Q and A. If you have any questions, go ahead, and raise your hand and we'll try to get to you soon. What's being built in Xverse in regard to supporting partners? What do you see as the product vision here? What are we trying to unlock beyond BNS?
Ken Liao (Xverse): There are a lot of use cases that we want to support. BNS will probably be very important in a lot of these use cases. For example, if you wanted to build some messaging application that's decentralized and based on the blockchain, you might want to use BNS names for users to sign in and for users to find each other. That's one thing that we would definitely want to support.
Audience Question: I see that some people even have two-digit BTC names, but obviously, if you go to Xverse and you want to register some of those now, it's not possible. It's too short. When was it possible to register those, what was the process behind it, and why is it not possible now? Is it because they're all already registered or has there been some change on the technology side? The second part of the question would be about special characters. We also see that ENS names are getting quite a bit of traction when it comes to Chinese and Arabic names, et cetera, but we don't see that being possible on dot BTC. Is that also in the play?
Nick (Gamma): The reason you're seeing shorter than three-character domains— Actually, I don't know the exact reason. If I'm being honest, my best guess here is that the intention was that the shortest they can be is three characters, but the smart contract for BNS actually allows one and two-character domains.
Now, I don't know if this was meant to be an easter egg or if it was an accident, but you can go to the contract and register one and two-character domains. The BTC.US site is just a UI. Anyone can build a UI. That UI restricts you to three characters or longer.
The people that have one and two-character domains, the one-characters have been long gone probably since the very beginning of Stacks, there are only 36 of them. But for the two-character domains, I'm not sure if there's any remaining, but there may be a small number of them remaining, you can go to another site if you're interested in learning more, you can check out the discord that is linked on the Gamma BNS marketplace page.
I don't want to shout it out here, not because it's like a steal-your-funds or anything, but just because there are some weird UX things that can lead you to make a mistake, a very easy mistake, and make you lose your Stacks that you used to register the name. Anyway, if someone's curious, you can go do that research and figure it out, but I'd say that for the most part, just make the assumption that three characters are the shortest.
For the second question, this is the opposite answer, which is the BNS contract is limited to at least, as of today, A to Z, zero to nine, hyphen and underscore. Those are the only supported characters in the current iteration of BNS. That being said, if the community pushed for it since BNS is not owned by anyone, it's actually owned by the blockchain itself, and in order to upgrade, it will require SIPs or Stacks Improvement Proposals. That's certainly something that the community could push for if there's interest in that.
Jamil (Gamma): It's a great idea for BNS v2. The BNS names right now are represented by what's called raw buffers. They're not even strings. They can support any type, like Unicode or whatever by just changing the number of bites per character. I think it's a technically possible upgrade for sure. We should definitely bring that up in the BNS working group.
Audience Q: Towards the requirements for creating an extension of your own and also reflecting on Ken's thread about BNS and how dot com and BNS were representing geographies, we could maybe think of BNS which settle on Bitcoin but is also dot ETH as well, as representing communities. What's your take on this? Because on BNS, the dot com is really the winning extension. If I'm a big brand, for example, what do you think is going to win? Is it going to be dot BTC?
Jamil (Gamma): I feel like the social consensus is important here. There's no doubt that dot ETH is by large, the agreed-upon identity for web3 right now. There's no kidding ourselves about that. They certainly have the cross-chain ambition of being this central identity for people across different chains. The thing that will really determine this is how many applications and how many utilities use it. ENS is up to a couple of hundred integrations. What we need to start doing is start using these dot BTC domains in different ways, just like Xverse has been doing, just like Gamma has been doing, and just like a lot of these other ecosystem companies. The market will figure it out, and it's really up to us to determine that. Us predicting it a priori is difficult because it depends on the adoption of both ecosystem partners of users and of platforms like Xverse and Gamma as well.
Elizabeth (Host): Thanks, everyone. These are such great questions all around. If we don't have any others, I just want to make sure everybody knows to please be sure to follow Gamma and of course, Xverse and Stacks. We also have ΞxitLiquidity here, BNS trader and digits enthusiast, so please be sure to check out his profile as well. We want to give a big thank you, and a big round of applause to all of our guest speakers today. We really appreciate your time and expertise and insights. Also, we definitely encourage everyone to join the BNS trading server on Discord.
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