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Improving Polkadot's Identity System With Subsocial Usernames

Improving Polkadot's Identity System With Subsocial Usernames

Blockchains suffer from a common problem: account addresses are not friendly to humans.

Various projects such as the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) have been created, allowing users to map human-readable names to their crypto accounts. Paired with wallet integrations, these services allow us as users to interact with our friends in a much easier way.

Which of these two is easier to remember?

  • 3osmnRNnrcScHsgkTJH1xyBF5kGjpbWHsGrqM31BJpy4vwn8
  • subsocial.sub

Let’s look at how Subsocial Usernames solve these problems, enhancing your Web3 social experience.

Subsocial Usernames V2

With this recent update to the Subsocial Usernames system, we have addressed problems related to cost, username length, suffixes (such as .sub or .polka), and accessibility. Users will still not be able to unregister usernames or buy and sell usernames to each other, though these features are planned for the future.

Cost

Previously, registering a username only required locking 10 SUB. While locking tokens is good for reducing the circulating supply, it fails at generating large demand for SUB or creating revenue for the chain.

Seeking to improve our tokenomics and benefit all SUB token holders, registering a Username will now require you to lock 10 SUB, as well as make a payment, depending on the length of the name:

4 Characters: 10,000 SUB

5 Characters: 2,000 SUB

6 Characters: 400 SUB

7+ Characters: 100 SUB

At the moment, users are set to own their username forever. However, in the future, the network may add expiration dates to Usernames (including Usernames that were previously registered), ensuring recurring revenue. This would likely take place through on-chain governance.

Length

The minimum character length of Usernames has been lowered from 6 characters to 4, though with an increased cost depending on the length to combat cybersquatters and benefit the Subsocial treasury. At the moment, there are no plans to allow Usernames with 1–3 characters (of course, this may be implemented through on-chain governance in the future).

Suffixes

We received a lot of feedback that there were too many username suffixes (there used to be 1,000+), and have reduced the options to two: .sub and .polka. Many ecosystem members want .dot Usernames, however, we feel this is a bad idea, as there is already a centralized .dot TLD owned by Dish.

Accessibility

In the original implementation, only SUB holders could acquire Subsocial Usernames, and there has not been a way for users to acquire SUB. We are aiming to enable token transfers in the very near future, eliminating the accessibility problem. However, in the meantime, we have also developed a system allowing users to acquire Usernames with DOT tokens, which will continue to serve community members long after token transfers are enabled. This service will be explained further in the section below.

Registering Usernames With DOT

Following the trend in the wider ecosystem of allowing DOT to be used anywhere, our team has created a service with the help of our friends at Subsquid to allow you to register a Subsocial Username with DOT!

Our team will supply the 10 SUB required to be locked, and the payment for the Username, ensuring you don’t need to go through any hassle to get started. The DOT will be sent to our team’s Service Account, and this service will register your chosen Username to your account. In the back-end, this service will be making the SUB payment in order to register your username for you.

4 Characters: 100 DOT

5 Characters: 20 DOT

6 Characters: 4 DOT

7+ Characters: 1 DOT

As you can see, this does not reduce the demand for SUB, it merely reduces the friction of registering a username, which will ultimately result in more usernames being registered, increasing the demand for SUB.

Other Changes

In addition to the above, a few other things have been changed for Usernames (previously known as domains), mainly related to developers:

⁃ Accounts can register usernames for other accounts, where the buyer pays for it and makes the deposit
⁃ Accounts can now register up to 100 Usernames for themselves (though they can register an infinite number of Usernames for other accounts)
⁃ A domains_calculatePrice RPC was added for developers to easily get username prices without duplicating the calculation algorithm/code
⁃ Username metadata was changed to also include the depositor account
⁃ force_register_domain was removed (Usernames cannot be registered without a deposit)
⁃ The promo Usernames feature was removed (now we can’t get Usernames for free, they must be purchased)


Usernames are important on any social network, especially one based on cryptographic keys, which are barely human-readable. Social platforms and applications need good username solutions like ours, and we are working to add social features to every application in the ecosystem, making Subsocial Usernames a natural integration.

Get your Subsocial Username today, and we’ll see you on-chain!

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