.btc Domains: Bitcoin Usernames Explained

What are Bitcoin usernames? This complete guide will break down everything you need to know about decentralized identities on Bitcoin, how to purchase a .btc username, and more.

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Decentralized Identities
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Elizabeth Olson

Published

July 5, 2022

Consider how often you’re required to prove your identity: signing into separate accounts online, presenting your driver’s license at a bar or passport at the airport, filing forms at the doctor’s office or taking multiple steps with a virtual robot at your bank. The process is tedious and we’re ultimately obliged to relinquish control of our personal data to service providers like Meta and Google.

Now imagine a single identity across the physical and digital world where you have full control over your data. Rather than multiple physical ID cards and passwords, you can claim a unique username held in a digital wallet to securely verify your private credentials as well as revoke them — independent of any entity, organization or institution. That’s the power of Bitcoin usernames or "decentralized identities."

Bitcoin and .btc Usernames

Bitcoin usernames have become a hot topic given the recent surge in Bitcoin transaction fees due to Ordinal. While the Ordinal protocal for Bitcoin NFTs is new, the concept of decentralized identities pre-date Bitcoin by decades. Furthermore, Bitcoin usernames themselves have been in circulation for some time.

Bitcoin usernames “.btc” were first launched in 2014 by Onename, offering a solution to streamline Bitcoin transactions. Rather than using a long wallet address like ‘2EOrpxRdkupgpY5KDENY2hHhybqyaTrVtK’ or scanning QR codes, you can send and receive Bitcoin with a simple username like ‘Satoshi.btc.’ Today, over 100k usernames have already been snatched up — many proudly displayed across their owner’s Twitter accounts.

Onename has since evolved into Stacks, a full smart contract platform on Bitcoin with Bitcoin usernames, also known as Blockchain Naming System “BNS,” remaining a core feature. While there are competitors to BNS, including Ethereum Naming System “ENS” and Unstoppable Domains, BNS is built on Bitcoin, the most decentralized, censor-resistant and secure blockchain.

How to Buy a .btc Username

To secure a .btc username, download Xverse wallet app on a mobile device and connect to btc.us using the built-in web browser. Search for the availability of a preferred Bitcoin username, and connect your Xverse wallet address to complete the registration and payment. Your Bitcoin username will be registered through a smart contract on Stacks, permanently written to the Bitcoin blockchain.

Now you can use your Bitcoin username to send and receive Bitcoin NFTs and STX tokens as well as make transactions through web3 applications like ALEX, Gamma, and Arkadiko. Soon, Xverse users will also be able to use their Bitcoin usernames to send and receive Bitcoin and even register Bitcoin usernames directly in Xverse.

The Bitcoin username itself does not hold any personal information but rather functions like a key. Soon, Bitcoin username owners will be able to attach their usernames to verifiable credentials like diplomas, proof of employment, certifications etc.

Furthermore, the process itself is highly efficient: a single Bitcoin transaction is more than enough to hold millions of .btc usernames. The blockchain is capable of supporting the entire global population’s credentials.

A Bright Future with Bitcoin Usernames

While Bitcoin usernames have yet to achieve mainstream adoption, web3 organizations like the Decentralized Identity Foundation are swiftly accelerating technology to offer a user-owned internet. Gone are the days where big tech companies track your activity throughout the internet, sell your data and can block or remove you at any time.

Your Bitcoin username is the key to streamlining secure transactions, unlocking web3 and owning your digital identity.

About Xverse Bitcoin Wallet

Xverse wallet is a non-custodial Bitcoin wallet, available for Android and iOS as well as a desktop browser extension. As your one-stop-shop for the Bitcoin ecosystem, Xverse enables users to purchase BTC, connect to Bitcoin dapps, and earn BTC rewards by locking your STX in the Xverse free stacking pool.

Connect with our team and let us know what else you'd like to see in your Bitcoin wallet.

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