Meet ENS domain OG, Master.eth, who has invested over $200,000 into ENS domains. But, he isn't claiming to be a millionaire, in fact, he hasn't even broken even yet (despite being early to the game). The story gets even more insane because he received and then quickly shrugged off a ~$1 million bid for one of his domains (Coin.eth).
"When I try to estimate the values of my names, I just compare it with the same prefix [coin] but change the suffix to dot com." He told me, "Can I buy coin.com with $20 million? No, it's worth more than that. Same case with .eth."
Master.eth’s conviction is surely something to aspire to, especially in this market-wide downturn. He wants to wait for the technology to go mainstream, so he can cash in on his early entries.
The conviction comes partly from the sheer number of years he has spent in the space. Master.eth joined the crypto game after the creation of Ethereum, after a background in IT. He already had an understanding of the Web2 world of domain names and found them sort of restricting. With the creation of smart contracts and ENS domains, Master.eth discovered what he sees as the evolution of the domain name.
"Firstly, .eth just looks really cool. But secondly, traditional TLD domains have too many restrictions, this isn't the case with ENS — the code is the law." He said, "With regular domains, you don't have 100% ownership. They must be approved by ICANN and hosted by a parent company, unfortunately, this protects trademark owners. So, they can take the domain from you through the legal system. Meaning you don't 100% own this domain."
His First Investments - ENS Domains with People Names
The first domain he bought was Samuel.eth, back in 2019. The move was completely strategic — let me explain. ENS domains can be used both for hosting a site or as the address for your crypto wallet. Master.eth noticed this and decided to invest in common names, with the hope that people with this name will want to buy it so they can have it as their wallet address. And I’m sure we all know quite a few “Samuels”, don’t we?
He bought Samuel.eth for around $79 and has since had an offer of $2,555. He hasn't sold with the belief that it will be worth much more in the future.
Maybe the most shocking of one of the ENS common name offers he rejected was with Richard.eth, which caused waves in the ENS Twitter community.
An unprecedented bid of $100,100 was made for Master.eth's Richard.eth gem. In laid-back fashion, he took to Twitter to kindly counter offer the bidder a price of $210,000 — a price he feels is, if anything, too low. The bidder did not accept the counter offer and Master.eth still owns the domain.
So, why did he reject the bid? Firstly, he feels the ENS market is still in its infancy. Other NFT markets (such as BAYC) have matured and have floors much higher than ENS. With art NFT projects, there is no real reason to own a particular piece, other than that you like the art. That is not the case with ENS domains. There is only one Richard.eth but millions of Richards — which makes Master.eth feel that he holds all the chips.
"There are thousands, no, millions of Jack, John, Rose, Marys in the world but there is only one Jack.eth. When more of these people start to realize that only the richest Jack, John, Rose and Marys will be able to afford the name, they'll start bidding on it causing the price to pump.” He told me, "As long as Ethereum [blockchain] continues to be bullish, I think this is highly likely to happen."
Since Master.eth rejected the Richard.eth bid, the community has gone crazy and people have minted more Richard domains. First Richard69 and Richard420 went (obviously) but now almost every Richard numbered between 001 to 500 has been taken.
Master.eth wants to make it clear this trend has nothing to do with him and he's not too sure why this has happened.
Transitioning to ENS domains for companies
Domains for regular Joes (or Richards) are fun but they aren't where the money is. Instead, some of the best gems are domains that big corporations will want to purchase.
A prime example is the most expensive ENS ever sold — Paradigm.eth. In October 2021, the domain sold for 420 ETH (~$1.5 million) because it shares a name with a crypto-focused VC firm. It is worth noting that many have speculated that this was simply a wash sale.
Despite the mind-bending amount of money it sold for, the company has confirmed that it wasn't even them who bought it for this price. Clearly, ENS domains for companies are lucrative in the market even before companies get involved.
This is why Master.eth has stocked up on company-related gems. From Game.eth to Tezos.eth to Cisco.eth, he's stocking up for ENS to go mainstream, and for companies to come on board.
His $1 million bid came from this approach in the market. He received a private email offering a bid of around $1 million and he suspects it was a company trying to acquire it for their business.
"I do not plan to sell [either Coin.eth or Game.eth] for less than $20 million. I think I need to be patient enough to hold them for a long time." He said, "this is obviously expensive for individuals but for big enterprises, this is affordable. Coin.eth could be the best match for Coinbase, Coinmarketcap, and other businesses — they are rich."
A subdomain bullrun?
One factor he predicts will create an ENS bullrun is if a big project buys an ENS domain and offers subdomains. For example, if Coinbase purchased Coin.eth and offered all their users the opportunity to purchase Richard.coin.eth as the way to represent their wallet. If this happens, Master.eth sees the user base for ENS domains skyrocketing.
In fact, this may be sooner than we all suspect as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) has owned Bayc.eth since October 2021.
Although they're yet to do anything with the domain, ENS bulls are hopeful the project may offer subdomains to their NFT holders. This is something the market has already identified as something that NFT holders want. After all, 4-digit domain names (000-9999)have all sold out — forming the 10k Club.
If BAYC offers subdomains (such as 8541.bayc.eth) it is sure to bring more eyes to the ENS ecosystem and possibly the start of a bullrun.
That being said, it's hard to define a bullrun for ENS. The market isn't liquid like a cryptocurrency or even an NFT project, there is only one Richard.eth and the price will only go up if there is a rich Richard who wants it.
"99% of the domain market is in a bear market. But that 1% is where the perfect buyer shows up who loves your name and cannot live without the name. When someone like that shows up, that is when the bull market starts." Master.eth told me, "There is no absolute bull run for the market. The value is dependent on the name."
Could ENS domains be the future of crypto wallet addresses and web3 website hosting? Who knows, ENS bulls and OG's, like Master.eth, certainly think so. They believe in this vision so much that they are willing to turn down millions of dollars to just take a shot at earning generational wealth.
For now, Master.eth will continue living his life as a normal dude. But maybe one day, once Ethereum has gone mainstream and he's found the richest Richard, Master.eth will be Tweeting about ENS from his private jet.
Now… what ENS domain should I buy? Hedgehog.eth?
If you want to learn more about ENS domains, we've got the guide for you. Check out Lipsa's rundown on what they are, how they work, and why they're valuable.