Governance proposal: sub judice fees


I’d like to make a proposal on how to handle fees on the new permanent registrar in a way that might help align some incentives. Fees in ENS have two main purposes:

  1. Create correct incenvitizateons to reduce squatting
  2. Help fund development

While ideally we are doing it mainly for (1), many people might believe that (1) is an excuse to get (2) and raise money for the ENS foundation or the root multisig. It’s a fair criticism: since a small amount of people (who know each other) are responsible for both setting the fees amounts and collecting them, it might lead to perverse incentives. The only recourse someone could take if they disagree with something the ENS foundation is doing, would be to fork the whole system and use a new one. Which is a perfectly valid one, but I’d like to propose another one:

Sub Judice Payments

In legal term these are payments that are done when you disagree that you need to pay that but you want to prove you are able to do the payment, you’re simply not willing to it. So you pay to a third party escrow that will hold it until the judgment is decided.

In this case, whenever any fees for ENS usage were due, if the domain holder wants to protest the ENS foundation they could pay their fees, but in a way that would not go the foundation. Instead they would list one addresses of worthy DAOs they would accept to give the money to, if they were in charge of the ETH registrar.

That money would NOT go to these addresses however (otherwise it would become quite simple to pay yourself) but would be locked until such time that these addresses became the new managers of the ETH registrar. The original owner could always change their mind and config a new address to be the receiver of the money if they found a better suited candidate, or if the foundation changed something to please them. This would not have any direct effect on who would be in charge of the ENS foundation or the root multisig, but it could help them be informed by better decisions.

Basically: you would not be able to NOT pay your fees, but you could protest by making sure it did not fund an organization you disliked either. I think this could create an interesting mechanism that would force ENS foundation to be aligned with the interests of domain holders.


Interesting thought! I’d considered letting people choose to contribute or burn the fees, but this is an interesting variation of that idea. My main concern with it is that it would likely add a fair bit of complexity to the implementation.


Yes, I started thinking on it after I saw your comment about optional burns. I think this would work as a reversible burn that could allow people to have a bigger voice.