Proposed amendments to article II and IV

This is, let’s say a campaign promise of mine :wink:

There are some changes I would like to propose on the constitution. Before making individual proposals for amendments, I would like to make a temp check on the overall reaction to them.

Article II
The primary purpose of registration fees is as an incentive mechanism to prevent the namespace becoming overwhelmed with speculatively registered names. A secondary purpose is to provide enough revenue to the DAO to fund ongoing development and improvement of ENS. The goal of the any registration mechanics should be to allow names to be, in this order, useful, available and affordable. ENS governance will not enact any fee other than for these purposes.

I would like to remove the striked out version. I believe that the mandate of the DAO to provide for ongoing development for ENS is already covered in article III. My fear here is that it could enable a rent-seeking governance in the future, in which the expanding governance needs to raise fees to cover the cost of the expanding governance. In a sense, article II limiting fees works as a sort of ceiling for the DAO’s power to enact rent on buyers.

The second sentence (notice I replace the word registration fee, with registration “mechanics”) added creates a more specific goal which is to make sure that names are useful (most names are being used by people who are using it), available (ie, most are not held by speculators and a new users can still find useful ones to buy), and in last affordable (which is subjective and only a third priority after the last two).

IV. ENS Integrates with the global namespace Internet

In order to facilitate making the most widely usable naming system, ENS aims to integrate with the legacy DNS naming system to the greatest extent possible without sacrificing decentralization of ENS. ENS will aim to create new features to improve the overall experience of internet users and be compatible with other naming systems as long as they are not in conflict with ENS or DNS. ENS governance will not enact changes that compromise ENS’s ability to do this.

The goal here is to emphasize that ENS is not subject to DNS or Ethereum, but rather aims to be a protocol for everyone. It also creates a framework that allows ENS to be compatible with other naming systems and other blockchains, but within a very limited framing: that the naming system is compatible with ENS and DNS for now and the foreseeable future.

Example: let’s say that there exists another naming system in another blockchain. Let’s say it uses the TLD .foo. We could consider granting them .foo in ENS if:

  • .foo has some special reserved status in ICANN and it’s deemed unlikely that it a new DNS .foo would be launched.
  • Foo Naming System respects .eth names and does a best effort to resolve .eth names to a recent snapshot of .eth
  • .foo in ENS would similarly use some mechanics to resolve names to a recent snapshot of theirs (similar how L2 subdomains would work, or how other TLDs work)

While some might find this weird, and would love to bet on a sort of ENS maximalist position in which ENS eventually takes over DNS and everything else dies, I actually think this framework would be a positive sum for everyone. It would provide an incentive for other naming systems to be ENS compatible and would allow ENS names to be resolved to their proper owners in other blockchains.

While I believe in Ethereum and will always hold it dear to my heart, I also believe in peaceful existence with other blockchains and naming systems, and we would all benefit if we all worked together to allow cross compatibility. In fact, if ENS names were respected in other blockchains, this would be better, not worst for ENS owners. And finally, the strict requirements filters out naming systems that don’t actually care for proper decentralization and aim to sell names that belong to DNS or other naming systems.

I would love to see a future in which a bitcoin wallet can use ENS names to make their experience better, in which an Avalanche user could bridge ether to avax using names that exist in both blockchains at the same time.

ENS is not just a naming system for ethereum. It’s an identity system for everywhere.

  • Support changes to Article II
  • Against changes to Article II
  • Support changes to Article IV
  • Against changes to Article IV

0 voters

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First, I can tell you put a lot of time and effort into this. That’s awesome and I respect and appreciate your contribution. However, I have to say I don’t agree with your amendments.

The main reason I don’t agree with your change to Article II is that codifying ideas like useful, available and affordable into anything is doomed from the start. This comes down to the concept of negative vs positive rights.

  • A negative right forbids someone from committing an action against your rights.
  • A positive right obligates someone to act in accordance with your rights.

While the intention behind positive rights is usually admirable, when theory becomes practice, the “obligation” element is where it falls apart. I can’t imagine ENS DAO or any other DAO effectively “policing” to achieve compliance with these types of guarantees or obligate anyone to act in accordance of anything outside individual self interest.
Rather, I believe the focus should be on negative rights. They are less ambiguous by design and make more sense for creating a foundation [or constitution] in my opinion.

In reference to Article IV, I think namespace may not be the most ideal term to use, but I believe it is closer in concept than internet, because identities and names of course exist beyond just the internet.

That said, I share a lot of views you expressed here relating to interoperability. One thing I love about web3 is the modularity and granularity of it. The incentives are more easily aligned through cooperation rather than conflict because it’s much harder to deceive/conspire while also being fully transparent.

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The quote is–and I might change the wording so it’s clearer–in reference to any change in registration mechanics. It means that when deciding on a fee, or considering a new system for renewing names, the goal should be to make names useful, acessible and affordable. Meaning:

As cheap as possible, but still expensive enough that it will discourage name hoarding and allow enough names to be available to be bought on layer 1. We want to have as many names available for a new users as possible, only to the point in which they’re being used by other users.

1 Like

In regards to amending Article II and IV:
I do not disagree, but I am “for sure” in favor of this, at the moment.
These are very good ideas, and direction, but imo, we would need a few reviews to solidify the agreed upon wording, and the supplemental material to support our collective meaning.
Also, I believe a strong “ENS maximalist” position is to embrace all/as many other protocols as possible (across both Web2 and Web3), without the sacrifice of the Web3 core values, mission, or direction. I believe we may want “any new changes” to be balanced with this ethos.

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As the fees are the only source of revenue for the DAO I am very much opposed to the changes to article II. I would prefer to be explicit about the fact that the money has to come from somewhere.

This doesn’t say the DAO shouldn’t have revenue. It says that it can have only if it’s aligned with other long term goals of ENS. Subtle but important difference. No revenue for revenue’s sake. The DAO still has a big treasury, and the ability to emit up to 2% of tokens per year if the renewal revenue is not enough.

Here’s a thought experiment: it’s the year 2027, crypto public goods governance research is now a viable academic path. There is a tried and tested method that is much better than the standard $5 a year we still have. It’s better in every way, cheaper access for users, wide distribution of names, no downsides in decentralization, great at combating squatters, etc. Except it cuts down future DAO revenue stream by 90%, even considering the growth in user base. We still have governance, but we’d have to cut down the business class stipend for delegates and the New Years party.

Would you not vote for that method?

I can’t think of any other blockchain naming systems that fit your criteria.

In any event, in addition to needing to be forward compatible with DNS, we also don’t want to be unnecessarily combative with the current Internet systems and communities. Making new TLDs, even ones that are outside of what ICANN will likely ever add to DNS, is problematic since people had restricted those TLDs for a reason and simply making any names outside the normal process is a problem since it breaks down the process to keep a unified namespace for the Internet. Naming by its very nature requires coordination and a single root.

Even .ETH, despite the fact it’ll likely never conflict with DNS, is somewhat problematic to the DNS world but can be tolerated since it was needed to make legitimate technological progress. But we don’t need multiple TLDs to do that and making any more would greatly hurt our relationships with the DNS world. It hurts the future success of ENS if we unnecessarily make enemies of powerful and important organizations and communities. So I would oppose all efforts to make or legitimize new TLDs beyond .ETH outside of the existing ICANN process for the time being. The only scenario in which this would change is if ENS grew to be so large and important that the Internet community in general agreed to change how the process worked.

I would love to see a future in which a bitcoin wallet can use ENS names to make their experience better, in which an Avalanche user could bridge ether to avax using names that exist in both blockchains at the same time.

This is already true today and in fact ENS works for those cryptocurrencies (and many others) in several wallets. Further, CCIP-read will allow actually storing subdomains and records on any blockchain (other L1s, L2s, and even non-blockchain locations like servers). Things like that can continue to be expanded.

ENS is not just a naming system for ethereum. It’s an identity system for everywhere.

Completely agree, that’s already the vision and has been for some time, and what you’ve proposed above not only isn’t necessary to achieve it, I think it would actually work against it.

I believe in your twitter thread you said ENS can become the Everything Name Service. We’ve thought about that name. I think it’s better to simply refer to ENS as “ENS”, dropping a fuller name, rather than changing what it stands for, and in fact we’ve mostly been doing that lately.

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Right now I agree with you, no other name system fits the criteria. It’s purposeful. In order to be compatible with both ENS and DNS a naming system needs to have some sort of special status within DNS that would allow them to do so, or for them to collectivelly buy that TLD from DNS.

Right now this is how other naming system uses top level domains:

  • Namecoin: .name
  • Solana: .sol
  • Unstoppable domains uses .crypto, .bitcoin, .nft, .x and a few others.
  • Handshake: .name
  • FIO naming system: name@domain
  • Blockstack: .id , .podcast and .helloworld

In this scenario, we are setting up a high bar for some naming systems. Solana and handshake would have to either buy their domain from ICANN or be so popular that it would force ICANN to issue a special reserved status for them. Blockstack and UD would have to do it for EVERY TLD they issue, which is a higher bar. I believe that in the case of Unstopabble Domains that is already impossible as some of these names already exist in DNS. Fio would be simply incompatible, unless they change their system to include a TLD. I would say that even .eth is currently in a limbo state, until we get an agreement with the ethiopian government.

But once one of these projects have such status, and I think it’s likely that they achieve, I don’t see any good argument that we should not give support their TLD in a similar way that we will support other chains in L2 or that we currently support DNS names. It’s something far in the future right now, I just want our constitution not to explicitly forbid this.

It’s a high bar, no doubt, but at least we are proposing a path to resolve future conflicts in the future. These other naming systems already exist and will continue to exist in the future, more so if these are limited to their own blockchain. While for some time in 2017 there was the possibility that everything would be Ethereum and ENS, to say that today is a maximalist argument that requires other projects to be obliterated and I think this is a violent proposition.

That is true, but you’re again ignoring tribalism and bitcoin maximalists. There are some types of people that will never touch anything that is on ethereum but would accept the same thing if it’s built by a bitcoin team (even if it’s a clone of ethereum technology). These proposes a way in which they can respect ENS names while querying only the holy blockchain. Fits my personal belief of being tolerant of other people’s religious beliefs even if I disagree with them, as long as they can accept and respect the right of others to exist.

I remember that. I disagree. Maybe put that to a vote or a new amendment? :wink:

I’ve updated the original text to include a poll, to see how you all feel.

Namecoin actually use .bit (but I consider Namecoin to be a dead project at this point). Handshake doesn’t have one TLD, it has millions and is explicitly attempting to replace the DNS root (I think this is highly unlikely given some significant strategic missteps they’ve made).

I believe that in the case of Unstopabble Domains that is already impossible as some of these names already exist in DNS

None already exist in DNS, but I think it’s highly unlikely imo they will win control of all of them in DNS. You may be thinking of HNS, which has TLDs that already conflict with DNS (due to a mistake in how they set up HNS).

But once one of these projects have such status, and I think it’s likely that they achieve, I don’t see any good argument that we should not give support their TLD in a similar way that we will support other chains in L2 or that we currently support DNS names.

Note that if a project wins a TLD in DNS, due to DNS namespace integration into ENS, those names (from the DNS side) will automatically be able to imported into ENS. But we’d have to be careful about integrating them into ENS in a way that can’t be revoked since TLDs can change hands in DNS, and if we want to remain future compatible with DNS then we need to be able to do this as well.

While for some time in 2017 there was the possibility that everything would be Ethereum and ENS, to say that today is a maximalist argument that requires other projects to be obliterated and I think this is a violent proposition.

Naming by it’s very nature requires a single root. While I think the ENS root zone will always remain on ENS, CCIP-read means that other parts will go other places. The core team’s current vision of ENS doesn’t see ENS as only on Ethereum and doesn’t support Ethereum maximalism. But I do see ENS as the blockchain naming system, which anything else connects to or comes out of.

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Sure the current wording doesn’t say we can’t reduce fees. The new wording in my opinion is more complicated and confusing, at least to me.

I absolutely agree revenue for revenues sake is something that we need to defend against, so my disagreement is that this proposed change doesn’t address that problem.

If I wanted to pay myself more as a governor I could say we need to pay governors more so that we can spend more time to make better decisions to make ENS names more useful, available and affordable.

But now we’ve also lost the imo clearer wording and important point about registration fees that they are also there to fund the DAO.

Unfortunately I don’t have an alternative solution for how to stop revenue for revenues sake, but it’s something I’ve begun to think about.

One option would be to simply strike out the “secondary purpose” sentence, without adding anything.

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Which would mean fees are only there as an incentive mechanism? Imo this ignores economic reality.

Development and improvement of ENS is a defacto thing that has to happen for the DAO to make any sense at all. If ENS doesn’t continue to improve, and we fail to be the winner in our field, then the DAO fails too. Therefore the ENS DAO constitution in my opinion needs to be explicit in how it’s going to continue the development and improve of ENS (and at the base level it’s funding). We shouldn’t be reliant if possible on grants or 3rd parties to fund us, we should be looking to be perpetually self funded if at all possible.

Currently if you remove registration fees, which is arguable now given there is high gas price to dissuade squatters (wasn’t before since gas fees were very low), we have no funding for ENS at all.

Long term I think it makes sense to have it explicit to have funding in the constitution and that if there are other revenue streams that are sustainable, then we could revisit this in the future. But in my view long term viability and sustainability has to be a core tenet of the constitution.

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After thinking about it more, I don’t even necessarily disagree with your stance. I just don’t think it should be in the constitution.