BNS on BelNet: The Beldex Name Service Domains

BELDEX
9 min readDec 15, 2022

BelNet is more than an onion router or a dVPN service. BelNet supports BNS, a decentralized name service. It can also host private dApps that live on the BelNet network.

BNS Domains on BelNet

The Internet Phonebook: DNS

DNS is the universal Domain Name System that provides a naming convention for devices and applications on the Internet. The DNS is coordinated and managed by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN.

DNS makes it possible for machine readable IP addresses to be assigned human readable domain names. Without the DNS, you would have to remember the IP address of your favourite websites.

Why Do We Need DNS?

Humans can easily remember google.com and amazon.com but not https://172.217.166.110 or https://205.251.242.103. DNS facilitates a domain mapping service, making it possible for google.com to be mapped to its IP address https://172.217.166.110.

You can always visit google using its IP address, but think about having to visit every single website on the Internet this way? It’s just not practical.

Our very own Beldex.io, bchat.beldex.io and belnet.beldex.io are examples of domains and subdomains serviced by the DNS. Here, the Top Level Domain or TLD is .io

Similarly, there are several other TLDs that are recognized by ICANN. Chief among them are .com, .org, .net, .co, .gov etc.

Here’s the complete list of TLDs that they recognize.

Why Do We Need A Decentralized Domain Name System?

The existing Top Level Domains are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which is a branch of ICANN. IANA, which is a centralized entity, oversees the Internet’s IP address allocation and manages the root servers of the Domain Name System. They essentially get to decide which TLDs are accepted and which aren’t.

How Do You Buy A Domain on DNS?

You don’t actually buy a domain name but register it (or subscribe to it) for a certain period of time. You usually register a domain with a Domain Name Registrar, which is a business that handles the domain registrations, renewals and the transfers of ownership.

Centralized vs Decentralized Name Servers

Here are some of the key differences between centralized and decentralized name servers.

Censorship

Centralized domains usually require renewals at a higher cost than they are initially purchased. They are maintained by a Domain Name Registrar who can choose to block your domain at will. Thus, centralized domain name servers are prone to censorship.

Have you ever had your domain blocked for no reason? It’s exasperating to see your business dwindle as you wait to get in touch with your Domain Name Registrar for an explanation. And by the time you get your domain back online, you might not have the same number of visitors, sales or traction that you had before.

It’s critical for businesses and individuals to always have their websites online 24/7. Centralized nameservers run the risk of censorship and restriction from a third party.

Security

Centralized domains are susceptible to security risks such as Domain hijacking, DNS hijacking, DNS poisoning, and DNS redirection. Hackers could take control of your domain if the corresponding DNS server were compromised.

Decentralized domains, on the other hand, are either resolved by smart contracts or through a network of nodes on a decentralized network. Thus, it is virtually impossible to take control or change the ownership of a domain hosted on a blockchain network.

Privacy and Anonymity

You provide your name, address, phone number, billing and other personal information to register a domain with a domain registrar. If the domain registrar were to be compromised, your data will be exposed.

Since decentralized domains are resolved by smart contracts or a node network, you can register a domain just by using your wallet address (or in our case, you can even use a BChat ID — more on this will be shared in a later blog) without having to go through gatekeepers.

What is the Beldex Name Service or BNS?

A BNS name/domain can be your social username, your website’s domain address or your wallet address. Confused how it can be everything all at once?

Yes, it can be all that.. and more. The Beldex Name Service (BNS) is a decentralized name service on the Beldex blockchain. Just as Amazon.com is resolved to an IP address, BNS usernames and domains are resolved to your BChat ID, wallet address and BelNet address.

You can think of BNS as a single, portable Web3 identity that you can use within the Beldex ecosystem.

BNS is supported by BelNet, an onion routing protocol that leverages the Beldex blockchain.

BNS usernames and domains are open to everyone. They make it easier to look up your friends on BChat and pay them with BDX. They can also be used to host private dApps (MNApps) on BelNet.

BNS usernames are similar to your social handles. E.g. Alice

BNS domains end with the TLD .bdx. E.g. Alice.bdx

A Human Readable Web3 Username

You may have noticed that we use the term BNS names (usernames) and BNS domains interchangeably.

This is because the BChat and Beldex Wallet namespace is separated from the BelNet namespace. They are unique and independent of each other. While the former is used to assign a username to a BChat ID or a wallet address, the latter is used to map .bdx domains to a BelNet address.

BNS usernames fall under the BChat & Wallet namespace.

The BChat & Wallet Namespace

Assigning a BNS username to a BChat ID can help your friends, family, and peers to look you up on BChat using the username.

Why BNS Usernames?

Without the BNS username, a BChat ID such as this one here -

bd762dace436db0f5dc1c49174d1765c68ab65ee50889e5a8ca263700abe3a2138 - is difficult to remember. You could easily map it to a BNS username such as Alice and share it with your friends.

Anyone who wants to look you up or contact you on BChat would just need to search for Alice and your BChat account would pop-up.

The username you register determines the level of your privacy. If you’re fine with people looking you up using your real world name, then you could go register {yourname} as your username. If not, please use an alias.

A Human Readable Wallet Identifier

You can get paid with your BNS username. Freelancers and businesses working across borders have a simple and easy solution to make near-instant, real-time payments with BDX.

However, it’s not always easy to remember the wallet address of the client or business you’re paying. And if you interact with tens of hundreds of businesses, then it becomes all the more difficult to manage payments to their wallets.

The Ease and Convenience of Wallet Identifiers

If you could input Alice into the recipient address field instead of the actual wallet address that’s 97–99 bits long — bxc7EQ2AxQn1oBcdcEsExTLKkiAMV3TbKjd6gsnpoEoLVSUBpic9KiKa5jqQKvc5J4MkneDXHFVf6H5tE2j7oQZy2jeND6GQH — wouldn’t it save a lot of time in verifying the recipient?

The BNS Domain

BNS domains end with the TLD .bdx. They exist within the BelNet namespace and are mapped to your BelNet address.

They’re similar to google.com, but they live within BelNet and can be accessed only by connecting to BelNet.

Why BNS Domains?

Just as how it is difficult to remember the IP 47.91. 88.100 — Port: 1080, it is also exhausting to remember a BelNet address (the IP address equivalent of an application on the BelNet) unless you have a photographic memory.

It is so much easier to type in explorer.bdx instead of -

http://cw41adqqhykuxw51xmagkkb3fixyieat1josbux13jn6o973tqgy.bdx/.

There are fewer chances of visiting the wrong website.

Using BNS Domains to connect to an MNApp hosted on BelNet

BNS, Your Web3 Identity

A BNS domain is your identity within the Beldex Web3 ecosystem. A Web3 identity can be used to build trust and reputation within the ecosystem.

Your social identity. Your wallet. Your MNApp — all connected to a single Web3 domain (or different domains if you’d like).

We value our digital identities as they help us build a reputation over time. They may provide us with democratized access to an array of products and services based on our history and track record. For example, the handle @Beldexcoin on Twitter is a valuable asset to us because that’s what our users remember!

If there’s ever a community forum or an announcement board within BelNet, we’d probably use the domain Beldexcoin.bdx or community.beldex.bdx for the service.

Web3 identities like the BNS can also be used as a measure of a community member’s contribution to the network. For example, the following metrics would be considered,

  • When was the BNS name registered?
  • How long has it been registered for?
  • Does the BNS domain host an MNApp?
  • What kind of service does the MNApp provide? And so on.

In the future, if there’s a DAO for the Beldex community, then a user’s BNS names, BNS domains, their MNApps, their stake within the network (masternodes), their masternode credits, and similar factors may be used as a measure of their loyalty and commitment to the network in order to delegate key roles.

Buy BNS Forever or Renew Them?

You can both buy BNS usernames forever but you can only register a BNS domain for a specified number of years.

As we mentioned, BNS names are of two kinds. One that exists within the BChat and wallet namespace, and one that exists within the BelNet namespace.

Registering a BNS Username

The BNS name for the BChat and wallet namespace exists without the .bdx extension.

E.g. John

The above BNS name is mapped to a BChat ID and the corresponding wallet address. It follows a ‘buy once and keep forever model.’ This is because it will be impractical for users to change the BNS for their wallets that receive payments.

Registering a BNS Domain

The BNS name for the BelNet namespace uses the extension .bdx.

E.g. John.bdx

The above BNS that uses the .bdx extension can host an MNApp. It follows a ‘register (for a period of time specified by the user) and a renewal model.’ This is to prevent domain squatting. Malicious actors may try to buy domains such as amazon.bdx and lay them to waste to prevent legitimate businesses from buying them.

Can you login with BNS names?

There are currently no decentralized applications that use the BNS as a login. BChat, our flagship social dApp, doesn’t require usernames to login. However, it will certainly be interesting to see a decentralized application that uses the BNS as a login built on the Beldex network. You could be the first to build it.

How are BNS Names Resolved

BNS runs on the Beldex blockchain and uses a distributed on-chain registry to resolve BNS names to a BChat ID and wallet address and BNS domains to a BelNet address. Records of ownership and information about domain expiry and renewal are maintained on-chain.

What’s possible and not possible?

  • One BNS Name to Many BChat IDs/wallets — not possible
  • Many BNS Names to One BChat ID/ wallet — possible
  • One BNS Domain to Many BelNet Addresses — not possible
  • Many BNS Domains to One BelNet Addresses — possible

One to many mapping is not possible because you cannot receive BDX sent to one BNS name on different wallet addresses. This is the same for BNS domains. You cannot enter one BNS domain and expect to visit multiple websites/MNApps.

On the other hand, a many to one mapping is possible.

In this case, two or more BNS names are mapped to a BChat ID and wallet.

Consider the BNS names Alice and Bob mapped to the following BChat ID & wallet

BChat ID — bd762dace436db0f5dc1c49174d1765c68ab65ee50889e5a8ca263700abe3a2138

BDX Wallet address — bxc7EQ2AxQn1oBcdcEsExTLKkiAMV3TbKjd6gsnpoEoLVSUBpic9KiKa5jqQKvc5J4MkneDXHFVf6H5tE2j7oQZy2jeND6GQH

BNS name lookup: If you search for either Alice or Bob on BChat, the same account will show up.

Similarly, you can map two or more BNS domains such as alice.bdx and bob.bdx to a single BelNet address.

Where Do You Register A .bdx Domain?

You can register a .bdx domain either on the Electron wallet (a user-friend user interface will be added to the Electron wallet for this purpose in a later update) or on the CLI wallet.

More details on registration fees, renewals, and updating ownership records will be shared in a detailed documentation later when BNS goes live.

Do Browsers Support the .bdx TLD?

A domain such as yourname.cryptocurrency doesn’t work on a browser because browsers don’t yet support the TLD .cryptocurrency. Or specifically, ICANN doesn’t recognize it as a top level domain yet.

Popular browsers such as Chrome and Mozilla Firefox support the TLDs registered with the public root of the DNS which is maintained by ICANN. Thus, .bdx which exist on the Beldex network are not supported by browsers on the clearnet.

If browsers do not support the TLD .bdx, how can you access a BNS domain?

You can access a BNS domain by connecting to BelNet using a BelNet client.

  • On a mobile device, download BelNet.
  • Open the app and connect to BelNet.
  • Now, open a browser application and enter the .bdx domain (e.g. beldex.bdx) into the browser’s address field.
  • You will now be able to access the .bdx domain.

BNS Introduces A New BDX Burn Mechanism

BNS introduces a burning mechanism to BDX. The BDX used to register a BNS domain is burnt and removed from circulation. Thus, as BNS adoption increases, the amount of BDX that is removed from circulation also increases, resulting in a stable & positive price discovery for BDX.

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BELDEX

Bulding privacy-enhanced decentralized applications with BChat, BelNet, Beldex Browser & the Beldex Privacy Protocol