Web3 Foundation Grant

3 min readSep 26, 2023


We are happy to announce that Scio Labs, the development company behind AZERO.ID, has been awarded a research grant by the Web3 Foundation (W3F) to explore the architecture of an XCM-based cross-Parachain domain system. Web3 Foundation is one of the core contributors to the Polkadot SDK and its ecosystem, including the cross-chain messaging protocol XCM, and the Rust-based smart contract language ink!.

In the course of this grant, we are researching the architecture of a Polkadot-wide on-chain domain system that creates a unified namespace for the whole Dotsama ecosystem and enables new possibilities to onboard a large group of non-crypto native users across many use cases. To achieve this, the main focus is on leveraging the XCM & ink! technologies. Learn more about our accepted grant proposal here.

What are on-chain NFT domains?

On-chain NFT domains have emerged as one of the first killer apps in Web3. They work as an abstraction layer for complicated wallet addresses, letting users interact with simple-to-use and remember names instead of alphanumeric addresses. Thus, they achieve a similar level of simplification as the internet has experienced with the switch from IP addresses to domains. On-chain domains allow us to abstract away the complexity of public keys in blockchains. This heavily improves the UX for most users, reduces the likelihood of funds lost due to human errors, and eliminates the attack vector for address poisoning attacks.

At the same time, leveraging the concept of NFTs, we can guarantee ownership and an efficient secondary market for the domains within a namespace. This heavily improves the long-term feasibility and value creation, as well as the efficient allocation and distribution of domains.

Why is a unified on-chain domain system for Polkadot needed?

One of the big premises the Polkadot ecosystem is being built for is maximum interoperability between blockchains. Currently, more than 45 chains are live and secured by the Relay chain. Every single chain has built up a unique user base. However, the full potential of Polkadot comes to shine if a user can interact and utilize the features of all Parachains without any friction. This should also be the goal for on-chain domains. Thus, we are proposing an XCM-based cross-parachain domain system that not only resolves on all chains but lets the user register, manage, trade, and utilize a domain from every connected parachain. This will improve the cross-chain UX for every user on Polkadot.

This domain solution can play a crucial role in the onboarding of new non-crypto native user groups to the Polkadot ecosystem. Combined with account abstraction, choosing a username and setting up a domain is the perfect first touchpoint for users who are just getting started.

Our research aims to deliver a sound architecture and a basic MVP of how such an XCM-based domain system could look like. We will share all our results in an extensive research report once the milestones of this grant have been concluded. Further, we will share more information about our vision for domains on Polkadot beyond the scope of this grant in the following months.


AZERO.ID is the leading domain service for the Aleph Zero and Substrate ecosystem. While being live on the Aleph Zero Mainnet to create Web3’s first-ever privacy-preserving domain system, we are expanding and bringing our domain system to the entire Polkadot ecosystem with the first-ever ink!-based and XCM-native multichain protocol, enabling a new level of UX within Polkadot.

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Your digital identity in one domain. On-chain name service for Aleph Zero and beyond.