If you have visited On a crypto company’s website, you have likely visited a URL ending in “.xyz” instead of its cheaper counterpart .com. From the fintech block, formerly known as Square, to the venture company Paradigm, to blockchain startups like Mirror, .xyz has become the preferred URL extension for many Web3 companies. But what does it mean and why has it caught on in the Web3 space?
.xyz, which opened to the public in 2014, gained popularity a year later when Google parent Alphabet decided to use it for their renamed website. The internet giant had an increasingly widespread problem – the .com URLs for its brand were already taken, while BMW’s fleet management department alphabet.com and American Broadcasting Corporation at abc.com.
So Alphabet decided to open a shop at abc.xyz, which was an “unlimited branding opportunity” for its “futuristic company” Daniel Negari. The 30 year old founder and CEO of .xyzTechCrunch said in an email. Now, according to its own DNS data, .xyz could be one of the five top-level domains (TLDs) in the world in terms of data traffic.
Created to “provide competition and choice for users of their domain names to users around the world”, .xyz is “the first truly generic domain extension with no inherent meaning”, according to Negari. While .com was intended for commercial use, .net for networks, and .org for organizations, Negari envisioned .xyz as the TLD of choice for users who felt they didn’t fit in or stand out in any of these categories wanted to.
“I firmly believe that the market has adopted our mantra” for any website anywhere, “said Negari. “Our mantra of openness and inclusion for everyone and everything has had an impact on a community of creative thinkers who have adopted .xyz as their domain.”
How .xyz met web3
Negari is an active crypto investor with “numerous” investments in the space, including Gemini, MoonPay and BlockFi, he said. Because of his interest in crypto, he reached out to the creator of the Ethereum Name Service (ENS), Nick Johnson, to introduce him to a collaboration.
“This historic collaboration enabled early adopters to use a .xyz domain as a wallet address,” said Negari.
TO US allows users to create a universal nickname for all of their crypto addresses and provides a searchable database to make crypto wallets and transactions that are otherwise on a variety of different platforms more accessible. Users can now create profiles to share their social media handles or other personal information in ENS using the native .eth domain or on a .xyz domain.
.xyz has continued to look for ways to partner with ENS and work with the crypto community. It announced this week that it has started its “eth.xyz” service which allows users to search individual ENS profiles by simply adding “.xyz” to the end of their .eth name instead of looking for them in the ENS database to have to, said Negari.
By allowing cryptocurrency holders to buy domains in their preferred names through Ethereum, ENS has creatively monetized users’ desire to use the internet as an identity-building tool. Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke, for example, bought the ENS domain name tobi.eth for 30 ethers earlier this month, which is more than USD 120,000 at the time of the transaction.
Although .xyz domains currently fall under the purview of the DNS system which is administered by the internet regulator ICANN, several parties are now working to develop a decentralized alternative to this system to underpin web3, Amanda Silberling from TechCrunch reported. .Xyz’s strategy of proactively aligning itself with Web3 companies could offer a multitude of new monetization opportunities based on identity and ownership in a decentralized web as this generation of Internet users place new demands on domains.
.xyz runs a blog that highlights companies, including many web3-native who have chosen to use the domain extension, and gives reasons for doing so.
Some of them chose to do this for simple logistical reasons. Defi platform Matcha said, that By using the .xyz web extension, there were many more name options and the Ethereum data tool Dune choose .xyz because it allowed for a more concise web address.
His domains are also available to anyone who wants to buy them tend to be cheaper compared to their alternatives. To that end, .xyz introduced a domain class called 1.111B, which are 6- to 9-digit numeric domains that sell for 99 cents each year, Negari said.
Aside from convenience and accessibility, some Web3 builders see .xyz as a symbolic representation of their ambitions to build a new internet.
“We chose .xyz because it symbolizes decentralization and the new wave of Web3 applications,” says Réka, founder of the decentralized autonomous organization Agora DAO, wrote.
Negari agrees that the cultural meaning of .xyz could be one of the most important attributes as it is represents the next generation of online innovation after the .com era.
“The community consists of hundreds of thousands to millions of individuals and small businesses who are actively breaking away from the status quo to set an example for the future,” said Negari. “You don’t have to be a non-profit organization or a trader – you can be whatever and who you want to be.”