ENS Workshop Retrospective

Dean Eigenmann
Aug 28, 2018 · 4 min read
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On the 10th of August 2018, the ENS team hosted a unconference style workshop to discuss important topics around ENS and its future. In this post we try and highlight some of the key takeaways from every session.

The unconference topics were suggested by participants using session cards, then 3 topics were chosen by public votes. At the end of the event we had a lightning talk session where everybody could demonstrate what they are working on in the ENS space.

ENS as an entry point into blockchain

The first discussion was lead by Beltran, it revolved around creating an entry point into blockchain and the ethereum ecosystem using ENS. The basic idea is that today to register a domain, or use any other dapp, the users must already be blockchain “experts”, they must have a wallet and some ether, which implies that they have gone through an exchange’s KYC process; this is not a user friendly experience and needs to be solved with a flow where a “no-coiner” can get a name, a wallet and tokens to start using dapps. Beltran’s beliefs were that ENS has the perfect position to be this entry point, and could offer a valuable place for new users to go and get introduced to various different dapps as part of alliance of companies who contribute to onboard users to the blockchain, sharing among them the web3 version of the “customer acquisition cost”.

It quickly became apparent that many people in the discussion believed that every dApp should be an entry point into ethereum, and ENS subdomains should be registered to users through those dApps. It was then discussed that wallet providers could also create ENS subdomains for their users, this would help improve the overall UX for most users and would soon enable a way to completely abstract away ethereum addresses using ENS almost everywhere.

One of the main points that came up during this discussion, was that we first needed to improve the UX for people already familiar with ethereum before we try to onboard those who are completely unfamiliar with it.

The discussion then moved towards some of the issues in ENS making the overall experience bad for users, we need a more streamlined pathway from buying a name to getting an address connected to the name.

ENS Governance

Another topic of discussion at the workshop was the governance of ENS, this was not only to discuss the multisig currently used to govern ENS but also the dispute resolution system which will need to be implemented in the future.

The conversation initially started with discussions around blacklists, our way of blocking ENS names which have been deemed malicious — something which was previously talked about in this post. A key take away from these blacklists is that any dApp should be able to choose if they use a certain blacklist or not. Additionally, applications could allow users to select which blacklists should be active while they are using the dApp. When discussing how content gets into blacklists, the ENS team is working on researching a dispute resolution model that will allow for a democratic system. However, this comes with various issues. We need to figure out how we can keep arbitrators honest, additionally we need to create a set of guidelines on what we consider an infringement or fraudulent usage. It was also important to many members of the discussion that blacklisted users see why their name has been blacklisted.

Registrar and Rent

One of the big issues currently occupying the development and research of ENS, is how we go about rent. In the third session led by Nick, this was one of the two main topics of discussion.

On the topic of the registrar, it has become apparent that the auction model is not very efficient — this is why the next version of the registrar will allow people to buy domains instantly, and will charge rent on those domains. A problem with charging rent, however, is how we determine the price of a domain and how it can be adapted over time. Additionally, we need to figure out if all names should be priced the same, or if more popular names should be more expensive. Another open question about rent is, what if someone forgets to pay, for how long should data still be resolved? One suggestion that came out of this discussion was that users should be able to pre-fund their names for as long as they want, to be able to ensure that they have their name guaranteed. It seemed that most parties agreed that the rent price should be somewhere in the $10 to $30 range per year, as we see with traditional domain names.

It became obvious that one of the issues with finding a pricing model is that we need to prevent the prices from varying too much. This is why it was determined that a price range needs to be established, so the prices don’t vary too much.

There are currently two discussion topics being actively discussed in our forum which we recommend anyone who has ideas to get involved:


Our workshop led us to a lot of interesting conversations, and some of the conclusions from those discussions will affect our decisions in the coming months.

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