The Ethereum Name Services (ENS) service, which allows you to create .eth domain names, recently added support for .onion addresses, used by the Tor browser, focused on private Internet browsing. The implementation will allow ENS to convert .onion addresses to human-readable names.
By posting its official blog, ENS notes that the fact that its Internet domain name service now resolves Tor .onion addresses shows that its field of action can go beyond the Ethereum ecosystem.
ENS is a decentralized system of domain names on the Internet, similar to DNS (Domain Name Server), integrated into the Ethereum blockchain. It aims to assign to the wallet addresses of cryptocurrencies and transactions on the blockchain, consisting of an illegible alphanumeric sequence, human-readable domain names. This makes it easy to navigate and access the user on the Ethereum blockchain.
For its part, the Tor network (The Onion Routing) is responsible for hiding the IP addresses of users, to provide the possibility of using the Internet anonymously through your web browser. It also allows you to set up websites that are only accessed through the Tor network, called “onion” services, which use the “.onion” domain.
As explained in the ENS note, Tor’s unique web addresses are randomly generated and produce a long string of alphanumeric characters, similar to cryptocurrency addresses. Until now, the security and privacy standards in Tor, have made it difficult to obtain human-readable, onion addresses. ENS argues that the decentralized nature of its naming service can be a useful tool to facilitate access to these websites.
ENS service naming is based on a set of Ethereum smart contracts, which consist of three main components: registration, resolvers, and the contracts responsible for assigning more names. This allows, for example, that sending funds to an address, can be done under a simple name, without resorting to the usual hexadecimal identifiers.
The new implementation also allows the Tor browser to enable the Ethereum MetaMask extension in the Tor browser, which recognizes that terminated .eth addresses are ENS names. This prevents the Tor navigator from treating it as a search or a regular DNS name.
According to ENS, the idea for this functionality came from a group called Storage, who participated in a hackathon held in May this year, as part of the ETHGlobal event in New York.