Determining a fair rent model


Interesting thought. Wouldn’t the default of being able to pay a fixed renewal effectively ensure that the only time names go to auction is when someone’s ready to let go of them, though?


Wouldn’t the default of being able to pay a fixed renewal effectively ensure that the only time names go to auction is when someone’s ready to let go of them, though?

I think this is a desirable property don’t you? It gives certainty to people who build a brand around a name.

I think the main challenge is to deter people from mass registration and squatting domains, in this scenario they could do that but would have to pay renewal fees on all of them if they want to lock them up beyond a year. For a single legitimate user interested in one or handful of names that have high value to them personally that is not an issue, but would be a significant deterrent against squatters/mass registration.

Its probably also worth comparing this to simply charging a fixed registration + renewal fee, perhaps with some algorithm for price setting (eg Registration duration as a price signal). Such an approach could be used with something like this to set the renewal price floor, so the key comparison is charging rent by default, or only optionally to secure renewal privileges.

I think the advantage of keeping the auction mechanism for initial registration is that users who want to use ENS but don’t place strong value on maintaining control of a specific name indefinitely can do so with very minimal cost. Whereas if all registration are set by a global price algorithm, even if its an excellent algorithm, it will be more expensive than necessary for those users, and probably not expensive enough to deter squatters from speculating on high value names anyways.


I agree, it’s definitely a desirable property. But, it seems to render the auctions much less useful. Our experience shows that most auctions after the initial landrush period get only a single bid, so auctions are mostly just extra complexity with no real gain at this point.

Auction and Permanent Registrar Update

Hmm I think there is definitely a gain, but I suppose the question is that benefit worth the extra UX complexity.

To help wrap my head around that I sort of broke up the possible usecases as follows:

A. Names which are unlikely to ever be contested.
B. Names which have value to only a single legitimate owner, but may also attract squatters or scammers.
C. Names which may have intrinsically higher values, eg short names, common public names (johndoe), but which don’t have a single legitimate owner. These are likely to attract squatters/speculators.

With this in mind the auction process certainly has value as it allows for A to be priced very cheaply (perhaps a negligible deposit to use the name for a year). With a flat fee for all names most of these users would be significantly over charged. B is the most problematic, but (I think) fundamentally requires some sort of arbitration to resolve and isn’t made worse by this proposal. This proposal wouldn’t be significantly worse than other proposals that use a flat price registration for this category, the main downside being the UX of the initial auction process. C is where the auction and renewal fee really shine because most of these names will be held by speculators/squatters and the auction mechanism would ensure that they are valued appropriately and the renewal fee as a percentage of valuation (much like a harberger tax) ensures that these turn over to their more valuable uses more efficiently.

  1. If someone can just make a higher bid for a name that you already own, do you really even own it? Does that mean, ‘He who has the gold makes the rules’? Only the government can push me off of my land, in the US anyhow, and even then they have to pay me fair market value.

  2. I understand what you mean about not wanting people to ‘Squat’ names. What about someone that is just creative or has foresight and has registered names that they believe people will want to rent from them? What if this creative person has registered names for the purpose of reselling them? You guys admit that names have a value, so what is wrong with buying a penny stock and it’s value going up? I feel like in a similar way someone could argue that it was unfair for early adopters of ‘ETH’ tokens to buy at such a low price. They are squatting all of my cheap Ethers, right? I will use an example of a name that I recently registered, ‘WalletClub.eth’ , I believe that this name would be popular to rent to others, (i.e. yourName.walletclub.eth) and if I start to invest my time into creating the ‘wallet club’, is it fair that someone that is better funded can just take it from me? I will be perfectly honest, if I come up with a good idea first (a good name) why am I pushed out of the market because a bunch of guys want to own CarInsurance.eth and everything like it. Not only that, but my current investment for names is at least a couple hundred dollars in Gas alone. That is a whole lot of money for me and it was an investment in an open market where my creativity could shine. I would rather it wasn’t taken away.


Throwing these comments in the conversation:

I think we have to leverage the existing internet domain system. For example someone verifying that he owns the same domain in .com would be able to claim a name that’s already registered.

The problem of allowing to take over domains is that someone could steal funds from customers unaware of the change, I believe we should protect active domains so they cannot be outbid/claimed by an attacker. For example if someone is actively running a casino on mycasino.eth, there would be incentive for an attacker to claim/outbid it.

  • Tie the amount of the takeover bid to total amount ever sent to mycasino.eth (eg. amount^2)
  • Take into account how much is currently held in mycasino.eth
  • Take into account when was the last transaction
  • Take into account the frequency of the transactions

Also we need to protect from typosquatters.
For example someone trying to register my-casino.eth could then setup a phishing dapp/website and lure customers into sending to this new address. By using the same technique described above to take activity into account, variations of the domains could be more expensive to buy/rent.


I mostly agree with these thoughts. I think there should be goals of usability and preventing squatting but that it should be noted that usability is a much more important goal than preventing squatting. Preventing squatting is not a small innovation and my understanding is it hasn’t been solved yet. I think there is an instinct to solve problems with governance when often times the market should just play out.

Is the argument here that any .eth domain name could allow for its own auction system for its subdomains with rents and whatever enforcement process desired, and if done well, other domains may follow and adopt that model to distribute their subdomains?


I don’t like the idea of paying rent. I’d like to feel like I own the domain and not have to worry about losing it if I don’t pay ‘the man’. Could some fee be added to things like transferring the domain or setting a resolver instead of having rent?


One problem rent is designed to solve is lost domains; if someone loses the key to the domain and there’s no expiration, the domain will end up ‘lost’ forever.

Another is squatting, which requires imposing a cost on domain holders to prevent them buying up an unlimited number of them and just sitting on them.


the lost forever if you lose your key is most certainly bad. i would assume most people buying these in the future would have some sort of backup or multisig ownership hopefully. If there were ever another release of a new registry and registrar maybe have some time limit for people to upgrade or lose being able to persist ownership?

This is major weak point, especially if the suggested fees were flat rate, squatting domains would cost almost nothing after purchase. Maybe making the fee to transfer the domain grow at some exponential rate based on things like: price bought from registrar, number of competing bidders, how long this domain had been available for purchase. Also would want a way to release ownership back to the some of the initial sale price.

One problem with this might be people buying domains with a contract so they could ‘transfer’ ownership to anyone within the context of the contract without paying a fee.
Also I am assuming squatters goals are to eventually sell their domains for a profit, doesnt really do anything against people buying domains and then doing nothing with them.
Another really big issue with this is users possibly having large fees to transfer domains to another account or sell them so deciding fee rates seems like the heart, also maybe they could be estimated for the user before purchase.