First, some useful background reading:
Second, what are our goals for the .eth registrar? Here’s my proposed list, in rough order of importance:
- Name stability. The owner of a name should be able to retain ownership of that name for as long as they’re prepared to pay for renewals. Other parties should not be able to acquire a name through inaction (except when it would naturally expire anyway), or force the owner to pay an increased price to retain it.
- Fair allocation. Names should, wherever possible, end up in the hands of the people who can put them to the best use.
- Usability. Registrations and renewals should be as simple as possible.
- Anti-squatting. We should disincentivise squatting, particularly broad-based attempts to buy up large parts of the namespace for resale, to the greatest degree possible.
- Affordability. Prices for rent and registration should be set at the minimum level required to achieve the above goals.
With those goals in mind, here is an outline of my current working proposal for the new registrar and the migration process to it:
- A one-off auction will be held, during which people can bid on names between 3 and 6 characters in length. This will likely be a vickery-style auction, like the current registrar uses, but over an extended duration (at least a month). The winning bids will go towards funding ENS development, and all winning bidders will receive a 1 year registration on the name.
- The new registrar’s interface will be clearly defined at least a month in advance of activation, to permit existing tools time to update their functionality to support it.
- The new registrar will be deployed and activated at an agreed upon time. At that point, all existing names - both legacy names and those from the short name auction, will be eligible for transfer.
- Anyone wishing to transfer a name from the previous registrar has a year from the date of deployment of the new registrar to do so. When they do, the expiration of their name is set to 1 year after the registrar deployment date. The same rules apply to those who won names in the short name auction.
- A fixed yearly rent will be assessed on each name. This will be a flat rate for all existing names, but may scale up for shorter names (eg, 3 character names may cost significantly more to renew than 7 character names, due to the scarcity of short names).
- Anyone can extend the registration duration of any name at any time by calling a function on the registrar and paying the appropriate fee. There is no limit on how long the renewal duration can be - if you wish to renew your name for 100 years, you can do so as long as you pay the current price for that. This also enables ‘locking in’ a favorable price.
- Rent prices will initially be set by a multisig controlled by ENS, and adjusted based on fluctuations in the price of ether and other market conditions. In time we would like to develop a mechanism to set prices automatically.
- What form should the short name auction take?
- What registration price is sufficient to discourage large scale squatting, but affordable to regular users?
- How much more expensive should short names be, if at all?
- What should be done with funds over and above those required to pay for ongoing development costs?
Please don’t hesitate to offer input on everything here - goals, proposal, and questions.