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Miguel Pupo Correia
Full Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and Non-Executive Board Member of .PT
09-06-2022
"DNS versus Blockchain versus DNS"
What does DNS have to do with Blockchain and what does Blockchain have to do with DNS? Before answering, it is necessary to see what the two concepts mean, but DNS is well known to blog readers, so let's move on to the second.
The term Blockchain is confusing because it has (at least) two meanings. On the one hand, it means a way of organizing information: a sequence of blocks of data. On the other hand, more interestingly, it designates a distributed system -- several computers that communicate through the Internet -- that keep a copy of the sequence of blocks, guaranteeing high availability and integrity. That is, a Blockchain (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB Chain or Avalanche) replicates data to ensure availability and integrity. Furthermore, many Blockchains are decentralized, that is, they are managed by a set of different and independent entities.

The DNS system contains data that is critical, so several researchers have proposed storing this data on a Blockchain. It is an obvious way to leverage Blockchain replication to ensure the availability and integrity of DNS Resource Records. So, we can say that Blockchain can help the DNS.
Blockchains represent accounts and execute Smart Contracts, identified by addresses that are much longer and indigestible than traditional IP addresses. That's why the idea of having name services, such as the Ethereum Name Service, came up to store associations between Blockchain names and addresses. It's a good idea but Ethereum and other Blockchains are shared infrastructures whose use is moderated by paying significant amounts. So each name resolution request costs money...

In a partnership between .PT, Instituto Superior Técnico and INESC-ID, we studied an alternative solution: using DNS as a name service for the Blockchain world. The idea is to store associations between names and Blockchain addresses in DNS. This solution is simple, free for anyone who has a domain name, and offers guarantees similar to those provided by Blockchain ones. After all, DNS is also replicated, managed by different, independent entities spread across the world. 

So it can be seen that not only Blockchain can help DNS, but DNS can help Blockchain as well.



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