In February this year I used the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) to buy my eth name—my first experience doing anything on a blockchain.

It was a wild ride. Here’s how it went down:

  1. Listen to Brantly Millegan speak on Web3 Breakdowns about it. Get excited because it sounds ridiculously easy. (First mistake! 😂)
  2. Go to the website - realize I need a wallet. With ETH (but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it).
  3. Investigate wallets. All too hard. Put it down for 8 weeks. 🚶‍♀️
  4. Came back to it. Tried again. Signed up for 3 wallets. Backed out of 2. Then the 3rd. Found that one asked me to give my wallet a name. I tried flicstar - it was already taken, gasp! 😱 Renewed momentum to secure my eth name.
  5. More wallet investigation. Finally decide on Metamask. Discover it’s really hard to understand how it works. Forge ahead.
  6. Need ETH. Work out how to buy ETH with fiat currency using Wyre. Buy just enough ETH to cover ENS fee plus gas. Add line item to business expenses spreadsheet so can claim it on tax later. Cost $150
  7. Try to register eth name - declined. Turns out that the ‘suggested’ fee on the ENS site is lower than the fee used by my actual wallet.
  8. Lose ETH. Discover it costs money to work out that there are insufficient funds. Welcome to blockchain! 💸
  9. Take a gut punch, walk around all day feeling like a chump. A salutary and costly lesson. 😞
  10. Remember that I have 7 days to finalize the transaction. All is not lost! Reluctant to buy more ETH just to cover gas fees and decide to wait to see if I can pounce when the gas fees come down. Bide my time. Find website that tracks cost of Ethereum gas. Work out that it’s cheaper in my timezone in the mornings and evenings. Refresh page, wait a few days and watch when it goes up and down.
  11. Noticed gas price was low. Pressed the “Try Again” button on my transaction (or whatever it was called) and it did….something. Did it work? Got an encouraging message on the ENS website but simultaneously an insufficient balance message from my wallet. It LOOKS like it worked. 🤔
  12. Got confused by the reverse naming thing. Couldn’t work out why I needed more ETH. 😵 Oh, turns out I didn’t. What?
  13. Watched a video. Finally realized I did indeed secure my name but that if I want to make changes like add my email address or avatar, although it is free, it will be a transaction on the blockchain which requires GAS! 🚙
  14. Found an obscure help page which showed me how to associate my eth name with my wallet and phew, I’m done. What a process! 🏁

Glad I bought it - it was a useful exercise and I learned a lot. No, I haven’t used it for anything. Yet.

On the Decoder podcast Can the law keep up with crypto?, Professor Tonya Evans said that she bought her ENS domain just to grab the name. Which was entirely my motivation too.

“I do own my ENS [Ethereum Name Service] domain, because even if I don’t use it, I want to make sure nobody else uses it.”—Tonya Evans


Image credits: ENS image from CoinTribune, rollercoaster photo by Pedro Velasco on Unsplash.