Anheuser-Busch InBev now owns the Web3 domain “beer.eth.” Meanwhile, no one is doing anything with Web 1.0’s beer.com.
Beer.eth sold for 30 ETH on August 12, and AB InBev, which owns Budweiser, Bud Lite and many other major beer brands, confirmed to CoinDesk Wednesday that it was the buyer.
The news seems to have set off a .eth domain purchasing spree. Resales of such domains are up more than 300% over the last 24 hours, according to OpenSea data.
The purchase may represent a bet on the future of a decentralized internet. The “.eth” address is a top-level domain governed by the Ethereum Name Service. It represents a way to trustlessly create a pointer on the internet to a website, much like traditional “.com” and “.net” addresses do. ENS addresses are tracked using the non-fungible token (NFT) standard, and are bought and sold on OpenSea and other NFT marketplaces.
Not only are a lot of existing ENS domains selling, a lot of new ones are being registered each day also. ENS Domains saw registrations in the high hundreds each day until about mid-August. Then the rate of new registrations jumped up to more than 1,000 per day, according to Dune Analytics.
New internet bet
AB Inbev bought its new domain for just about $100,000 at today’s prices. It sounds like a lot, but it could turn out to be a steal if the decentralized web takes off (sorry, Guinness).
“Web3 is the future of the Internet. It’s smart for brands to adopt it sooner rather than later since they’ll have to do it eventually anyway,” said Brantly Millegan, director of operations for ENS Domains, the company that manages the Ethereum Name Service, via Telegram.
Buying beer.eth could be roughly like owning Hotels.com or mp3.com in the early days of the internet. Though decentralized domain names could prove to be quite valuable, right now, ENS is not supported by the top browsers, a market dominated by Chrome and Safari. Among underdog browsers that can navigate to .eth addresses, Brave and Opera have millions of users but tiny market shares.
Yet, even if ENS domains don’t stick, it might still be a good exercise for AB InBev, a company that’s not new to crypto experimentation. Earlier this summer, it announced a partnership with media entrepreneur, Gary Vayherchuk, to release NFTs based on the beverage company’s intellectual property. And in 2018, the company partnered with decentralized identity provider Civic to demo an age-verifying Budweiser vending machine.