Charter for the dispute resolution working group


The below is the draft charter for the dispute resolution WG. Comments and feedback appreciated!

Chair and editor nominations are tentative. If you want to chair a WG, or be responsible for editing the proposal to keep up to date with the current consensus, please say.

WG Name: Dispute Resolution
Chairs: Dean Eigenmann
Editors: Dean Eigenmann

Registration of ENS names is frequently accomplished through automated processes, such as those employed by the .eth registrar on the ethereum mainnet, without any integrated dispute resolution process. This leads to challenges when a name is registered deceptively - eg, for purposes of phishing - or otherwise constitutes abuse of the ENS system or of participants in the wider ecosystem.

Following the initial ENS workshop in London, a resolution was adopted to initially tackle dispute resolution as a second-layer solution; this will take the form of a series of on- and off-chain components that allow anyone to maintain a blacklist of abusive domains, and permit clients that need to resolve ENS domains to refer to the blacklist in place of the core ENS registry.

The products of the WG will be:

  • A high level standard for maintaining blacklists of ENS domains: adding and removing entries, and resolving names against the blacklist.
  • A standard for a specific implementation of the above standard, designed to act as a general purpose dispute resolution and appeal mechanism suitable for application to .eth.



My contributions will come from the perspectives outlined and codified in the Anti-Cybersquatting Piracy Act (ACPA) , Lanham Act S. 43(d), 15 U.S.C. S.1125(d). The framework is described here: . In my opinion, the domain name practice area is the most compelling at these early stages of Ethereum development. If we can get this right, it paves the way for mass adoption of the Ethereum specific blockchain running away from any competing blockchain pack.


I propose an additional standard that precedes the two listed above. First, there should be a “gateway” mechanism to adding names to the blacklist that must reasonably satisfy some factors that are codified in some law; international, US, EU, common law etc. Trademarks are category specific in the US and other countries. No .eth domain should be able to be swept onto a blacklist without a critical evaluation between the “strength” of the mark in relation to the category it is protected in. Some marks are so strong that, acquiring the .eth when the use on its face appears to by done for squatting purposes is an easy call, but there will be more cases, where users or challengers will want to claim some rights that simply don’t exist.

Therefore, I propose the WG contains three products:

  1. A codified set of gateway rules, that makes a .eth qualify for a blacklist.
  2. A mechanism for adding it to a blacklist with a ruling on why it has been placed in the list.
  3. A robust resolution process that allows a challenger of the blacklist to have it removed by arguing a case directly related to the initial finding from Product 1.

I would be happy to provide a basic framework from the codified laws of the ACPA, Trademark Act 43(d), or 15 U.S.C. S.1125(d) or any other international law you would like to use. I’ll keep it simple with only critical legal points to be addressed.


I think this would be useful guidance for blacklist maintainers, but I think we want to try and separate technical and political considerations here. A good blacklisting design should not care about what the criteria are for adding items to the blacklist.


I agree on the technical aspect; however, I hope legal and political considerations are considered distinct from each other.

For a fictitious example: if Anymark.eth or Anymark being used as a protected trademark should be controlled by the same party are questions of fact. Whether the Anymark Coporation should have any claim to these may be a political discussion or a legal question. I hope .eth accounts rarely get added to a blacklist for a political reason.