Summary of the roles and decision making process

During the weekend, many people raised questions about the different roles Brantly held and the decision-making mechanism around who decides what, so I would like to dissect it a bit. If you are unfamiliar with what happened, I suggest you read ENS DAO next steps re: Brantly first, which describes the summary of the incident and contains the list of the latest updates.

As of this writing (Feb 7 18:04 UTC), there were 2 actions made with regards to Brantly.

Prior to these two announcements, here are the 4 roles Brantly held within the ENS ecosystem

  • (a). The Director of Operation at True Names Limited (aka TNL), the company that develops the ENS protocol
  • (b). A director at the ENS foundation
  • (c). An ENS protocol delegate with the highest voting power
  • (d). One of the stewards at the ENS community working group

(a) TNL is a company based in Singapore and in charge of the development of the ENS protocol. Nick is the director of the company and announced the removal of Brantly. Even though the final decision was made by Nick, it was the result of the team discussion.

(b) The ENS foundation is the legal entity in the Cayman Islands that was established to provide limited liability to DAO participants for the actions of the DAO. Being in the directorship position does not have many days to day duties, but there are some legal risks and responsibilities being in that position. Please read The ENS Foundation - ENS Documentation for more detail. Currently, there is a proposal to terminate his directorship at the ENS foundation at [EP6] [Social] Proposal: DAO-wide proposal to terminate Director of Operations role of Brantly Millegan at the ENS Foundation We currently recommend that he remains in that position until a replacement is nominated and voted in by the DAO

(c) “Delegate” is someone who holds voting power to ENS protocols, such as how the treasury should be allocated or changes to the registration/renewal process. You are a delegate no matter how many/few voting rights you hold. You need to have at least 100,000 voting power to be able to make a proposal (Brantly currently holds over 300k voting power delegated to him). The proposal has to follow a forum post for temp check, followed by five days offchain voting via snapshot and seven days of onchain voting if the proposal requires any on-chain transactions. Soft/social consensus such as the establishment of working groups (to be explained) only need offchain voting, whereas any treasury asset transfer or registration/renewal parameter change and protocol upgrade require onchain voting. Nick and Brantly nominated themselves from TNL as delegates, and currently, Brantly holds the most voting power among representatives. Please refer to our initial delegate announcement post for more detail ENS DAO: Call For Delegates — ENS about the nomination process

(d) As mentioned in (c), any asset transfer out of ENS DAO treasury requires a lengthy voting process. To streamline the management of the DAO for much smaller spending decisions, alisha.eth proposed the idea of “Steward” at [EP4] [Social] Proposal: Creation of Foundational Working Groups and Working Group Rules where we establish four working groups and nominate five stewards for each working group. For the first term, the three stewards were nominated via community voting, while the remaining two were nominated from TNL, which Brantly was a steward of the community working group.

To recap, Brantly still hold two positions, (b), the director at the ENS foundation and (c) being a delegate. We are expecting the DAO level voting to happen for (b), The only way to decrease voting power at (c) is up to the people who delegated their voting power to him. Please be noted that we are about to launch a free redelegation program for anyone with at least 100 ENS for once every 90 days.


Thank you for this. I will make the correction in the EP6 proposal and link this there.

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Thank you for that first principles summary @matoken.eth

What is the relationship of TNL with the ENS Foundation? What happens if the DAO votes to retain Brantly as the director of the ENS Foundation?

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We should not deal in speculation. Let the vote go forward.

TNL is a nonprofit based in Singapore. It was formed when ENS was spun out of the Ethereum Foundation, and funds and organises most ENS development work. I’m its director. We have funding from grants (primarily from the EF), and from income from the short name auction. We expect to apply to the DAO for an annual operating budget going forward. The DAO does not have direct control over TNL’s operations, but can advise, and can of course determine whether to honour our budget requests or not.

The ENS Foundation was formed at the time of the DAO launch to serve as a legal entity representing the DAO. Its articles are written such that it takes instruction directly from, and is accountable to, the DAO. It presently has three directors - Brantly, Kevin and Myself. The DAO can appoint and dismiss directors at will.