So, I figure it’d facilitate further discussions if we first make sure we’re all on the same page with regards to the goals and principles of a rent system. Here they are in my mind; further discussion appreciated:
- The primary goal of charging rent is to discourage mass registration of domains with the sole purpose of selling them on later to actual users (‘name squatting’). Imposing a fee for each domain requires squatters to make an economic assessment of the likely future value of the name to them, rather than mass registering a large number of names on the off-chance someone will want them later. ENS has a vested incentive to prevent this happening, because the name system is only useful if overhead is kept low and if names are commonly allocated to those who can put them to best use.
- A secondary goal is to ensure that names do not get ‘lost’ and become permanently unusable due to participants leaving the system or losing credentials. Charging rent ensures an unmaintained name will eventually return to the system for reregistration.
- The above goals do not require that the rent price for a domain depend on that domain’s popularity or level of use. Thus, rents should be the same across all domains, or depend only on variables other than the use of that particular domain (for instance, shorter domains may be more expensive to reflect their scarcity, but ‘mew.eth’ should not be more expensive than ‘xod.eth’).
- Ideally, rent prices should not be set centrally by a single entity, but rather adapt automatically to conditions, using some form of feedback mechanism to ensure rates stay at a level that achieves the above goals.