Popular Internet Domain Registry Moves to Restrict Non-Traditional Financial Service Providers Author: Jimmy Aki Last Updated: 05 August 2019 Last week, fTLD Registry Services, one of the most popular Internet domain extension operators, announced that it would be restricting firms providing crypto services from registering their websites with some specific domain names. The registry is owned by various banking and financial service providers across the world. According to a report by tech news site Mashable, the registry announced changes to its policies relating to the eligibility of registrants. The changes are still under review (and will be until August 24), but per its provisions, some registries will now restrict the individuals and entities that can qualify for its names. According to the proposed changes, the .bank top-level domain will now be highly restrictive. Essentially, any entity that wants to qualify for this specific domain will need regulation and approval from the United States government. These entities will need to specifically be retail banks, national banks, holding companies, and savings associations. However, financial service providers can also register for the domain. Speaking on the new restrictions, Heather Diaz, the Director of Compliance and Policy at fTLD, pointed out that over the years, the financial services industry has seen some significant evolution. However, a knock-on effect of this evolution has been an increased occurrence of prospective registrants that are applying for these domains in a bid to appear more legitimate to their prospective customers and authorities. As a result, Diaz believes that these restrictions would serve to separate legitimate banking institutions from others that want to get the domains just to look better and more legitimate. The registry service revealed that there are currently over 500 banks that make use of the .bank domain name, while there are about 2,800 .bank domain names registered in total. The changes proposed to the registrant eligibility of the .bank domain will eradicate the “service provider” category. Only government regulated retail banks will be able to get the domain. Also, companies such as peer to peer payment providers, non-banking financial institutions (including cryptocurrency exchanges and microloan companies), payday lenders, and every cryptocurrency firm will become ineligible for the domain. Still, crypto companies might not need to worry so much. Last month, EnCirca, another Internet domain register, announced that it has launched an Ethereum Naming Service (ENS) to provide domains at .eth locations. According to a statement, EnCirca explained that the ENS will link alphanumeric Ethereum addresses through readable names. These domains will appear just like the usual URLs, and they can be accessed through any web browser. They will link to Ethereum web pages, regardless of whether the pages exist on or off the blockchain. Thus, crypto enthusiasts, Bitcoin trading companies, and more will be able to associate their brands with Ethereum accounts. The statement revealed that short names (between 3 and 6 characters) will be awarded to brands that can show that they have used a particular URL for long on a pre-existing domain (.com, .net, .org, etc.), while addresses that have 7 characters and above will be auctioned off.