4 Metrics Showcasing ENS Adoption

ENS Rocket
Image credit to SpaceX.

Since adding ENS (Ethereum Name Service) Name Tags to Etherscan in May, we've kept an eye out for its adoption. The subsequent month has seen tremendous take up of ENS names within the community. For this month's analysis, we decided to take a deeper look into this recent growth of ENS names on Ethereum. Key highlights include:

  1. 30x increase of new monthly ENS users between Feb and June
  2. ENS users make up a sizable portion of Gitcoin & POAP
  3. ENS users' holdings equal whale amounts
  4. An Estimated $2.3M of Annualized Revenue

For this article, Addresses wFRR refers to Addresses with both Forward & Reverse Resolution set. Addresses wFRR are required for ENS names to be shown on dApps and websites such as Etherscan.

30x Increase of New Addresses wFRR

Looking through the entire history of Addresses wFRR, we see that the first two years of ENS saw only an average of 35 new addresses set per month. From Oct 2019-Feb 2021, the monthly numbers averaged about 300. Since then, the numbers have quickly multiplied — jumping to ~1,000 in March, ~1,800 in April, ~4,200 in May and ~10,700 in June!

This trend can only be described as “To the moon!”

Why the sudden resurgence after such a long time? Several factors have likely contributed, such as the general bull market/adoption cycle we’ve seen in 2021, the free ETH given for setting up ENS by 1729, and our own ENS name tags. By far the largest contributor has been the drop in gas prices. The chart below clearly shows a correlation between low gas prices and take up in Addresses wFRR.

Addresses wFRR a Sizable Portion of Gitcoin & POAP

A major use case of ENS names is for unique identity in Web3. With this in mind, we looked for interactions between Addresses wFRR and dApps that leveraged identity and reputation.

First, we looked at how many of these addresses deposited into Eth2. While there is some social capital to be garnered from tying your ENS name to an Eth2 validator, the amounts at hand (32 ETH or more) make it less likely that owners would want to expose themselves. Sure enough, only a tiny 0.6% of Addresses wFRR also deposited into the Eth2 deposit contract.

We then considered funders of Gitcoin grants. Gitcoin recently introduced sybil-protection mechanisms, adding more matching funds for funders with verified identities and airdropping the GTC governance token. We looked at the percentage of GTC claimers who are also Addresses wFRR. 15.2%, as it turns out.

Another reputation-related dApp on Ethereum is POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol). Claimers of POAP are able to use their NFTs as proof of participation in all manner of notable events such as attending Devcon, backstopping Maker and joining a hackathon. Out of all the addresses holding POAP NFTs on Ethereum, Addresses wFRR make up 10.8% of those.

Note: these numbers are not taking into account POAPs held on blockchains other than Ethereum.

ENS Users’ Holdings

Common wisdom on addresses with ENS names is not to store too much balance in them, as the ENS names could be used to doxx your wealth. Consequently, you’d expect these Addresses wFRR not to store much balance in their accounts. You’d be wrong.

These users’ total holdings when combined total up to one of the largest holders of ETH and top tokens on Ethereum. They hold 116.5k ETH (~$291M, 0.11% of total supply), 6.3k WETH (~$34.6M, 0.24%), 23.5M USDC ($23.5M, 0.10%) and 963.5k UNI (~$21.8M, 0.10%).

The chart below highlights the percentage holdings of these addresses out of total supply and their combined position in the top holders list for ETH and major tokens.

Since Addresses wFRR made up a sizable number of GTC claimers, we also took a look at the same metrics for GTC. It turns out that they make up the 8th largest position out of GTC holders!

Estimated $2.3M of Annualized Revenue

For every year of ENS name ownership, a user needs to pay $640.43, $160.11 and $5 for names with 3, 4, and more characters respectively.

We looked at total active forward resolved names of each length and multiplied them with the respective annualized cost, coming to a total of ~$2.3M. Considering there are names that have not yet been forward resolved, actual amounts are likely even higher!\

While the vast majority of ENS names have more than 4 characters, a huge chunk of the revenue comes from the limited 3–4 character names.

Breakdown by number of ENS names.
Breakdown by annualized revenue of ENS names.

Take up of Addresses wFRR with 3-4 character names have trended up in 2021, from 2% to 4%. Should this trend and the wider increase in ENS names continue, we see a happy, sustainable future for ENS and Ethereum name domains!

Blockchain name domains have come a long way from the early days of Namecoin and other similar attempts. Ethereum’s expressiveness and community has proven invaluable for success in this particular blockchain use case, and we hope to see this adoption grow far more into the future.

  • Harith Kamarul