One of my goals in the crypto world has always been to help people understand how all this crazy stuff works. I have lead in-person classes, meetups, written countless free articles with step-by-step instructions, and I even offer a free online video course to help you get started with your first Bitcoin. There are several barriers to true mass adoption and usability is at the top of my list.
It turns out that it's at the top of some other heavy hitters lists as well like the teams from MyCrypto, Shapeshift, Keepkey, Coinomi, BRD Wallet, & Edge Wallet. Today we take a look at the emerging FIO Protocol for crypto wallet & exchange interoperability, and how having simple, human readable, addresses are the first step to making cryptocurrency easier for everyone to use.
From DNS To ENS
If you are familiar a "Domain Name Service", or DNS, helps to manage the routing of domain names like Cryptostache.com and connect them to the proper servers that have the files for that url. The internet wouldn't be what it is today without DNS, but cryptocurrency is experiencing a similar problem. If you want to send crypto to someone else you need their VERY long address to send to and they typically look something like this:
That is just plain ugly! Not to mention how hard it is to use, advertise, etc... This is where the ENS system comes in.
"ENS’s job is to map human-readable names like 'alice.eth' to machine-readable identifiers such as Ethereum addresses, content hashes, and metadata."
So much like a DNS, you can register your own .eth address so you can send/receive much easier. You can do this right meow! I will actually walk you through the process later in this article, but I wanted to point one thing out first. While this is a great solution, it only works for the Ethereum blockchain and Ethereum based transactions. This makes the ENS system limited in scope and we need a solution that can handle all situations and all blockchains.
Most highly technical industries have "standards" that help to make design, production, and sales much easier across multiple platforms. This is the thinking behind the new Foundation for Interwallet Operability or FIO, which is both the name of the foundation and the new protocol they are working on.
One FIO Address To Rule Them All
Organized by a new company called Dapix, the Foundation for Interwallet Operability is an initial consortium of the aforementioned companies MyCrypto, Shapeshift, Keepkey, Coinomi, BRD Wallet, & Edge Wallet, who will be working together on the FIO Protocol that consists of 3 major elements, with the most important being FIO Addresses.
"We're always trying to figure out how to make blockchain more accessible to everyone. It's hard to imagine our parents sending or receiving crypto with what exists right now, and FIO could be the next big step in UX that we need," said Taylor Monahan, CEO of MyCrypto.
A FIO address would work much like the ENS system, but would not be limited to just Ethereum based transactions. FIO is intended to be a "standard" protocol interface for the industry to build on top of, making it easier for any app to send & receive crypto using human readable addresses instead of long strings of characters. Sometimes it's easier to see than to explain so you can see this quick video by the founder David Gold on how it works and integrates into any existing platform with ease.
Having an easy-to-use address to send & receive your crypto is a HUGE barrier to adoption in my opinion and the FIO system is one step closer to how it should be. On platforms like Paypal, Venmo, and CASH app, you can easily send to anyone using their email address. Crypto needs to be just as easy, but has lacked a "standard" that all companies agree upon to use. Hopefully FIO is that solution, and with some heavy-hitter projects already on board I think they have a good start.
There is a lot more to the FIO project, but since it is all still in beta I won't cover it just yet. Let's just say that you will be able to include metadata using FIO as well, but none of this will mess with the underlying blockchain transaction. Sounds like a win win to me!
ENS Tutorial For Easy Sending Now
If you want to try out the existing ENS system, see my quick walk through below using the MyCrypto.com website!
- Head over to MyCrypto.com/ENS to see if your .eth name is available. If it is, you will get a link that redirects you to the MyCrypto legacy site (this feature has not been ported over to their new v3 site yet).
- You have to put in your address again on this screen, yes it sucks to have to do it twice but I wanted you to see the redirect on purpose so you know you are secure.
- Getting an address is "auction based" which means you do have to pay a small amount of ETH for the address and it goes up on an auction. This just gives anyone else the opportunity to also have that name, if it is uncontested you win your auction for the amount you bid. In my case I went with the default of 0.01 ETH. Make sure you copy this info down as they state, you WILL need it later.
- Once you start the auction you get this screen that makes you confirm everything and gives some more detail. Specifically the start and end date of the auction. You can see mine ends on December 2nd.
- That's it! Now you just wait for the auction to conclude and you have your very own .eth address! As you can see I spent $1.79 to start the auction, not bad! I have not tried using it to send and receive, but I will update this article when my auction is over with results.
Hopefully that was an easy to understand tutorial on how to get your ENS or your own .eth address. I am excited about the next evolution of this in the FIO Protocol and can't wait to see more from the team, but until then...
'Stache That Crypto Friends!