As the world of domain names continues to expand and evolve, innovative ideas start coming to fruition. One such idea is the interoperability between Web3 and Web2 for the .box top-level domain.
What are Web3 and Web2?
For some context, Web3 is the new iteration of the internet that incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics. That’s as compared to Web2, the more traditional Internet that everyone is familiar with. At first glance, the idea of interoperability between both the new Web3 frontier and the traditional Web2 environment can seem impossible.
The concept of interoperability will be a theme throughout this article. Here, we’ll explain what’s happening with .box, what it could mean for the larger industry, and speculate on if a connected Web2 and Web3 is the future.
What is .box?
An ICANN delegated TLD, .box was assigned to Intercap Registry Inc., the registry for .inc and .dealer. However, .box isn’t functioning in the traditional way — this top-level domain (TLD) launched exclusively on the Optimism (OP) blockchain, which is a layer-two scaling solution blockchain built on top of Ethereum blockchain.
With registration of the Web3 NFT domain, an exact matching ICANN domain is assigned to the registered owner of the Web3 NFT domain. In this case, markmonitor.box on the OP blockchain would automatically be allocated markmonitor.box in the Web2 space. These names are bundled together, with the Web3 NFT domain .box being the “parent” domain that controls what happens to the Web2 .box domain. Additionally, Intercap has released an application, my.box, that will allow for full management of the Web3 NFT domain and for Web3 NFT .box domains to host content in the Web3 space.
In an interview with Josh Brandley, founder of the .box domains, he stated:
Intercap is already the experienced and successful operator of the .inc and .dealer registries which were released in the last round of new gTLDs in 2012. Given the recent developments in blockchain technology, with .box we wanted to harness the power of the blockchain for domain names. Our team has developed a novel system that enables .box domain names to use the enhanced capabilities of the blockchain to improve security and to open up new opportunities. In developing the systems for .box, it was important to create a secure and stable bridge between the blockchain and the DNS. Registrants interested in Web3 features available through OP & ENS such as authentication, payment, and many other use cases, can now utilize a Web2 .box domain name equipped with Web3 capabilities through our tokenized management system.
Is the concept of Web3 to Web2 integration new?
Yes, but it isn’t unheard of.
Other TLDs are also doing this, though mostly in reverse form, as is the case with .art. When a .art domain is registered in Web2 it automatically qualifies for a .art Web3 ENS (Ethereum Naming Service) name through Protocol.ART. This example isn’t the only one of traditional Web2 registries dabbling in the Web3 space, but gives context as to the idea of interoperability between the two internets. In an ideal world, both Web2 and Web3 would work seamlessly together; however, in reality it’s ventures like these that allow for the concept of a bridge between two worlds to exist where one currently doesn’t.
Will we see more domains bridging the worlds between Web2 and Web3?
In my opinion, ventures like .box and .art will continue to grow — it’s an untapped market and traditional Web2 registries are recognizing and filling that need. Recently, it was announced that the next round of New gTLDs will likely launch in 2026. And with that potential launch date, a need for expanded marketplaces has been identified as brand owners understand that brand protection in the Web3 space is key.
I titled this article, “The Future of Hybrid Coexistence…” because I truly believe that this space is moving in that direction, one in which seamless integration between matching Web3 and Web2 domains works and allows for users to operate within them.
And let’s face it — Web3 isn’t going away.
Major players in this space, like Unstoppable Domains and Ethereum Naming Service (ENS), understand that to grow Web3 brand owners need to be involved. Whether that’s by hosting content in the Web3 space or by owning the NFT domain with your brand attached, coexistence between very different ecosystems is a concept and practice that we’ll all need to wrap our heads around.
Shall we continue the conversation?
Markmonitor strives to be at the forefront of all things Web2 and Web3 to ensure our clients are protected on all digital fronts. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this topic further, please contact us here or connect with your domain portfolio advisor.