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ICANN is blocking 23 gTLD transfers over blockchain fears

Kevin Murphy, December 29, 2021, 15:09:30 (UTC), Domain Registries, Uncategorized

ICANN is objecting to the transfer of 23 new gTLDs from UNR to an unknown number of third parties, because it’s scared that the associated non-fungible tokens may break the internet and its own authority over it.

The mystery of how UNR’s auction in April of its entire new gTLD portfolio has so far not resulted in a single ICANN Registry Agreement changing hands appears to have been solved.

It’s because UNR bundled each contract sale with a matching top-level “domain name”, in the form of an NFT, on the Ethereum Name Service, an alt-root based on the Ethereum blockchain, and ICANN is worried about what this means for both the long-term interoperability of the DNS and its own ability to act as the internet’s TLD gatekeeper.

This all emerged in an emergency Request for Reconsideration filed by a company called Dot Hip Hop, which bought .hiphop from UNR earlier in the year.

It turns out .hiphop is the TLD alluded to by Digital Asset Monetary Network, which in October became the first to out itself as a UNR buyer while not naming its gTLD. The purchase was made separately from the April auction, despite .hiphop being “mistakenly” listed as one of the lots.

It also turns out that consultant Jeff Neuman, who’s been a leading figure in the ICANN community since its inception, was behind long-time employer Neustar’s application for .biz, and is a big fan of musical theater, is chief legal officer of and a partner in DHH.

In his reconsideration request, Neuman rages against the fact that it had been over 120 days at time of writing since DHH and UNR had applied to have the .hiphop contract reassigned, but that ICANN is continuing to drag its feet despite DHH long ago passing its due diligence review (which Neuman says cost an excessive $17,000).

DigitalAMN lists DHH as a subsidiary in its recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company is publicly listed but essentially pre-revenue, making its ability to start selling domain names rather quickly rather important.

ICANN has repeatedly delayed approval of the reassignment, provided no visibility into when approval will come, and has repeatedly asked the same questions — largely related to the NFTs — with only slight rewording, Neuman says:

ICANN Org has already communicated to DHH that it has already met all of the criteria required under the Registry Agreement. Yet still, ICANN is withholding consent based on its mere curiosity about the former owner of the .hiphop, TLD (UNR Co), and based on the questions that ICANN keeps re-asking, has presumably conjured up non-issues that: (a) have already been addressed by DHH on multiple occasions over the past 123 days, (b) are beyond the scope of ICANN’s mission, and (c) are philosophical, fictional and frankly do not exist in this matter.

The ENS NFT is a “de minimus” component of the transaction that DHH didn’t even know about until after it had already decided to buy .hiphop, the request states, and ICANN has no authority over the blockchain so the existence of an NFT is not a valid reason to deny the reassignment.

I think I also detect a race card being played here. The RfR spends a bit of time talking about how ICANN’s foot-dragging is making the Org look bad to “traditionally underserved communities where the Hip Hop culture has thrived, globally”.

Apparently referring to DigitalAMN, the RfR states:

In addition to such partner being established at the birthplace of Hip Hop (Bronx New York), by its founder who shares the same birthdate as Hip Hop (August 11th), its mission is to provide financial literacy and economic opportunities for those communities and cultures that are traditionally under-represented, under-funded and under-valued.

DigitalAMN is majority-owned and led by Ajene Watson, who is black. One of company’s stated goals is to connect early stage companies with capital from non-traditional investors (not just the “privileged few”) using non-traditional means.

The RfR goes on to say:

The most dominantly underserved, under-funded and under-valued communities, are also those that embrace and are part of the Hip Hop culture. This Partner has embraced what seemed to be an opportunity to provide domain name registration services to a culture that knows nothing of ICANN, nor the domain name industry. Now, its first impression of the ICANN community is unnecessary delay, a lack of transparency, and bureaucratic indecision—just another gatekeeper to prevent equitable access. In their eyes, they consistently see deadlines that are never met (by ICANN), a lack of information as to why their launch is being held up, and an entity (ICANN) that takes weeks/months to act on anything with no end in sight. In their view, it would appear that ICANN, as an organization, cares nothing about serving the public interest, or about the impact of its actions (or in this case inactions) on the undervalued communities this Partner aims to support.

It should be noted that 22 other unrelated UNR gTLD reassignments are also in limbo, so it’s not like ICANN has a problem in particular with hip-hop music or those who enjoy it.

ICANN, in its response to the RfR, lays all the blame with UNR for, it says, refusing to provide “fulsome and complete” answers to its questions about the NFTs. In a December 10 letter to Neuman, ICANN VP Russ Weinstein wrote:

Significant questions remain, including regarding the role and rights conveyed to the proposed assignees related to the NFTs created on the ENS. For these reasons, ICANN must continue to object to and withhold its consent to all pending Assignments proposed by UNR, including yours.

The RfR was denied by ICANN’s Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee on a technicality. DHH had filed an “emergency” request based on ICANN’s staff inaction, but emergency requests only apply to board action or inaction.

Neuman appears to have known this in advance. It appears DHH just wanted to get something in the public record about the state of play with UNR’s gTLDs.

ICANN seems to have two problems with the NFTs, and they’re both big, existential ones.

First, ENS is essentially an alt-root, and when you have competing roots there’s the risk of TLDs colliding — two or more registries claiming authority for the same TLD — breaking the global interoperability of the internet.

Second, but related, the existence of alt-roots threatens ICANN’s authority.

ICANN has no authority over ENS or the NFT names that live on it, so for a registry to run a TLD in the both the authoritative ICANN root and the alt-root of the ENS could cause problems down the road.

While NFTs can be “owned”, gTLDs are not. UNR is merely the party ICANN has contracted with to run .hiphop. While UNR and any subsequent assignees have a presumptive right of renewal, it’s possible for ICANN to terminate the contract and hand stewardship of the gTLD to another registry. It’s not merely a hypothetical scenario.

Should that ever happen with .hiphop, ICANN wouldn’t have the authority to seize the ENS NFT, meaning the old registry could carry on running .hiphop in the ENS while the new registry runs it in the ICANN root, again breaking global DNS interoperability.

You could spin it either way — either ICANN is worried about interoperability, or it’s worried about protecting its own power. These are not mutually exclusive, and are both probably true.

One thing’s the sure, however — in roadblocking these gTLD transfers, ICANN is playing into the hands of critics and blockchain fanboys who argue for decentralized control of naming, with ICANN as their bogeyman.

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Comments (27)

  1. It’d be more surprising if ICANN moved on anything. They’re slower than pond water.

    They’re fat oligarchs, content to just collect fees.

  2. David says:

    Quoote: UNR is “refusing to provide “fulsome and complete” answers to its questions”

    Sounds like what ICANN did to Xavier Becerra. It truly makes the ICANN organization look two-faced and a like a disingenuous organization. ICANN now has blood on its hands in far too many situations to trust it further than one can throw a car.

  3. While it could be that ICANN is flexing its traditional alt root horror, which is at the opposite pole from the “ITU takeover” in the pantheon of ICANN bogeymen employed by the shamans to keep the community in line, this particular episode may provide a convenient hook for what boils down to distate for the carnival barker hucksterism with which these gTLDs were marketed – even ignoring the obviously boneheaded addition of “the one thing that ICANN hates more than that other thing” to the goods on sale.

    For example:

    “This unprecedented opportunity to own foundational assets of the internet remains open to everyone for a short time.

    Top Level Domain owners join a unique club at the center of the web. … Similar to blockchain, each of UNR’s domain names are unique and recorded in the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) ledger.

    Auction winners have the ability to use domains within their namespaces as they see fit, adjust pricing to increase uptake, and monetize registry-owned and premium inventory, such as poker.game, buy.property, and wellness.diet; without restriction by the seller.”

    Regardless of what one’s opinion of just what an ICANN TLD delegation confers, ICANN is unlikely to desire to be perceived as in the business of minting crypto tokens or unrestricted personal namespace fiefdoms to be collected and traded like comic books. Treating them that way for the purpose of drumming up dumb money, was bound to hit a nerve regardless. Unfortunately, the only lever ICANN has is to bleed as much time and money from all concerned, to at least give pause to others similarly situated who may be contemplating a similar exercise in tone deafness.

    • Adrian Kinderis says:

      Spot on John (as always). You are managing critical components of the internet. I don’t think the attraction, once secured, was for the asset to be traded and swapped. It will also have an impact on the next round of new GTLDs which Jeff is so passionate about as ICANN continue to safeguard any behaviour it considers detrimental to it’s stated goals of stability and integrity.

  4. All existing ICANN TLDs are already supported in ENS, without any action on the part of TLD registry owner. Owners of individual SLDs can claim their domains in ENS via DNSSEC for use within the ethereum ecosystem.

    The “TLD NFT” discussed here is either a key to a custom registrar contract in ENS, or nothing at all, just the promise of the ability to claim ownership in ENS like every other TLD owner. Looks to me like ICANN is trying to assert legal authority over ENS domains while holding up legitimate business use. I bet most of the new TLD owners don’t even care about the ENS control at this point.

    BTW there is no risk of namespace colliding because the only TLD that ENS has claimed is .ETH, which ENS has said they are working on acquiring from Ethiopia (who already uses .ET).

  5. Jeffrey Neuman says:

    The NFT in question here is literally a symbol that has no functionality whatsoever. The NFT is a digital art creation resembling the old logo for the TLD. It is akin to a digital plaque given to the party that sucesfully obtained the TLD from UNR. In the case of .hiphop, we got the NFT after the agreement was negotiated to purchase the TLD from UNR.

    The analogy I use is if you think of an American Football game. At halftime, there is a contest whereby a fan has to kick a field goal from the 50 yard line. If it does, then it gets $1 Million. Lets say the person does kick the field goal. THe sponsor of the contest hands the “winner” a check that is 1000X the size of a normal paper check for the money. The check (like the NFT) is nothing more than a symbol. The winning funds are actually wired to the winner. The check is a useless piece of paper that symbolizes the fact that the person won the contest. You cant actually cash it in a bank and it has no real purpose other than to mae the person who won feel good.

    That is this awful NFT. It does not give anyone acces to the ENS. If the NFT is destroyed, it doesnt matter. Any individual can put its domain name on the ENS with or without a useless NFT. Any registry can collaborate with ENS (like .xyz has been doing) with or without an NFT.

    So, because ICANN has no understanding about NFTs, blockchain, or ENS, it objection is to a functionless big-ass paper check.

  6. Blewy says:

    Whoever controls the tld controls the ens counterpart.
    If icann takes control of the tld they also have control of the nft. Thats how ens works. As for .eth ens people said they were in talks with ethiopia and icann.

  7. Rubens Kuhl says:

    ICANN Org is acting childish in this process, which will be a good test of accountability mechanisms. For instance, ICANN still lacks an standing IRP panel, making IRPs more expensive and slower than they should be.

    • Jeffrey Neuman says:

      I wish it were just “childish.” Its actually a lack of understanding about what they are dealing with. They believe that UNR’s creation of digital pieces or art for an auction (that we by they way did not even know about or participate in) actually have some sort of function (which they do not). All of the metadata from the NFTs are fully public – if ICANN had people that actually knew anything about NFTs.

      The problem for ICANN is that they took this Assignment Request as their “way in” to fight what they perceive as the evils of alternate roots (which this is not). Someone at ICANN – perhaps their legal Counsel – should be held to account for this blunder,

      Now, we have proven that the NFTs were meaningless – they are destroyed. Rather than admit its mistake and drop its refusal to consent to the assignment, ICANN is stuck realizing their mistake. They are continuing to object to the Assignment based on the creation of functionless NFTs which no longer exist.

      Dot Hip Hop DID NOT participate in the auction. We negotiated a separate deal (like the hundreds of previous assignments already completed). We did not even see any of the complained about marketing until after we signed the assignment agreement. ICANN charged us $17,000+ to complete diligence on us (which we passed). The only issue remaining in ICANN’s eyes were these meaningless NFTs. Now the NFTs no longer exist.

      Yet, ICANN knowing this, has still refused to consent to the Assignment. If anyone has any questions, please ask. If ICANN will not be open and transparent about this, I certainly will be. Someone needs to actually be open and transparent and that clearly is not ICANN in this matter.

      Just dont ask me about the UNR Auctions. I was not involved in any of them, I never saw any of the marketing for them (until ICANN brought it up in a letter to us), and I have deliberately kept myself away from all of that (despite all of the questions we got from ICANN on the auctions we did not participate in).

      • John Berryhill says:

        “Just dont ask me about the UNR Auctions.”

        Yeah, screw all those other people!

        Just to be clear, since you insist that everyone understand that whatever deal you made was enough of an inducement for .hiphop to be pulled from the auction…

        You support ICANN’s decision to hold up all of the other TLD assignments, because you did not participate in the auction – is that correct?

        Can you explain why you believe the distinction matters?

        Just really simply, complete the sentence: “The .hiphop assignment should go through and ICANN should tell all of the others should get bent, because…”

        • Jeffrey Neuman says:

          Wow John, a lot to unpack

          1. Actually, we did not start negotiating with UNR for .hiphop until the auctions for the other 22 already happened. I said don’t ask me about the auctions because I honestly don’t know anything about them. I mean you can ask me about them, but my answer would be “I don’t know”. So your claim that we must have provided some inducement to take .hiphop out of the auction is way off the mark as far as I am aware. I guess it is possible that no one bid on .hiphop and that is why it was taken out. I honestly have no idea. All I know is that everything we did to negotiate the .hiphop deal was outside of the auction process and I believe way after all the auctions had completed.

          2. Bottom line is that I don’t know anything about the auctions, never read any of the marketing relating to the auctions (until icann raised it after we asked them for consent) and therefore cannot respond to anyone that asks me about auction details. And my partners in .hiphop don’t know anything about the auctions either (other than what is now out in the public).

          3. I never said the hell with the other 22. All I said is that our 1 should be treated separate and apart from those because we did not participate in the auctions. This, if icann has an issue with how UNR marketed the auctions for the other 22, that should not apply to us. The thrust of all of ICANNs questions deal with whether UNR misled auction participants into believing that they could claim some property ownership rights in the TLDs. If we didn’t participate in the auctions and never saw the marketing UNR did for the auctions, I don’t understand how ICANN’s concerns over that marketing apply to us.

          It’s almost as if ICANN is worried that those who participated in the auction may have believed they bid on something more than what they were entitled to get.

          But if we did not participate in that, did not bid on anything at all, then how can ICANN plausibly state that this concern applies to us.

          So to complete your sentence: “The .hiphop assignment should go through because (a) none of the concerns expressed by ICANN could plausibly apply to us since we did not participate in the activity that gave rise to ICANN’s concerns, and (b) any other concerns ICANN may have are fully dealt with in our purchase agreement with UNR which ICANN has had for months and from what ICANN relayed to me, and UNR subsequently confirmed, our agreement with UNR is very different from the agreements that UNR has with the 22 auction participants. I cannot confirm that as I have not seen the other agreements, but I have no reason to question that.

          I hope that helps.

          • Jeffrey Neuman says:

            One more thing. You asked whether I support icann holding up the other 22or actually you seem to imply that I support holding up the others.

            The honest truth is that I don’t have enough information to support or not support what ICANN should do with the other 22. Without any of the information on those 22, how can I support or not support holding them up. And that is my real point. Our transaction was very different than what icann and UNR have stated went on with the 22. Perhaps all 23 should be treated individually. Again I have no idea about those 22. All I know is that ours should not be grouped in with any of the 22 that were acquired via auction.

            And last point for now. Who are these other 22 that we have been unfairly grouped in with? I would love to discuss with any (or all of them). If there is a common thread, I would love to know. But so far none of them have made themselves know.

            Perhaps John you know one or more of them and can put me in touch 🙂

          • John Berryhill says:

            “1. Actually, we did not start negotiating with UNR for .hiphop until the auctions for the other 22 already happened.”

            That’s quite a bit of luck that .hiphop, out of all 23 of them, failed to attract a bidder, and that your group happened to come along just after the conclusion of auctions that you didn’t know anything about.

            There might be a larger issue for ICANN involving the more general treatment of TLD delegations as personal chattel on the order of root zone Beanie Babies.

            While, sure, one perspective is “why am I being penalized for the behavior of the prior owner?” it probably doesn’t have a lot to do with the racial composition of your client/partner/conflict-of-interest or whomever they are in relation to your personal interests.

            But if, as you suggest, ICANN may rightfully have concerns about the prior delegate’s marketing of the TLDs, then the problem for ICANN is that they have no real leverage to penalize the prior delegate. The only way that ICANN can manifest their disapproval of the prior delegate’s behavior is precisely by “taking it out on” those who dealt with the prior delegate.

            To put it another way, if ICANN wanted to send a message that selling TLDs on late-night television commercials, through lotteries, as chips in a poker game, or some other used car dealer antics, then the only thing ICANN can really do about it is to make it difficult to consummate those kinds of transactions as a deterrent to current and future parties similarly situated.

            For example, the five year saga to approve .xxx or the multipartite struggle over .amazon may have provided a general impression that it might be best to avoid TLDs directly connotative of controversial subject matter or international geographic features.

            So it might be worth pondering what are, or are not, appropriate mechanisms for ICANN to address objections it may have to the overall behavior of a TLD registry which purports to sell its interests in the TLD to another party. Obviously the .org situation demonstrated that whatever deals may be made, ICANN has the last word.

            At a minimum, one imagines that ICANN would want to be sure that such deals expressly acknowledge that ICANN has the last word on approving them. But if one does sign a document stating “I acknowledge and agree that this deal is contingent on a leopard not eating my face” then there is only so much surprise you can express that, good golly, a leopard ate your face.

            “From what ICANN relayed to me, and UNR subsequently confirmed, our agreement with UNR is very different from the agreements that UNR has with the 22 auction participants.”

            It may also be unfortunate that none of the auction participants had any idea that different terms might be available. Again, I have every confidence you will get this sorted out, and make peace with the .music community of which one assumes the .hiphop market is a subset. It is certainly a singularly fortuitous happenstance that right after all of the auctions went through, this one remained available for “very different” transaction. The connection between blog commentary and getting the assignment approved by ICANN is a mystery, but I guess it is cathartic for you.

  8. AFAIK, “ENS” is *NOT* an alt-root, all ENS domains must end “.eth”

    However, Handshake *is* a blockchain alt-root & ICANN have already blogged warning ppl against it – https://www.icann.org/en/blogs/details/buyer-beware-not-all-names-are-created-equal-24-11-2021-en

    With over 2M registered TLDs in Handshake, I’m not sure they’ve achieved what they wanted.

    You can use Handshake TLDs by using different resolvers or there’s a browser that reads the blockchain directly.

    • Jeff Neuman says:

      @John,

      I am simply trying to bring out in the open this debate so that everyone can see what ICANN does in the background with their “technical coordination role.” These things are usually handled in back offices privately which gives ICANN the unfettered ability to shape the story in ways that benefit them (regardless of the truth).

      If ICANN Org is concerned about bad marketing decisions, that is really a “content” decision outside of ICANN’s mission. But even if it were in ICANN’s mission, then that is something the community should address outside of the Assignment process. ICANN staff is not supposed to be setting policies, but rather just enforcing existing policies.

      ICANN should only act in accordance with its Bylaws and in accordance with the contracts it has in place. Section 7.5 of the Registry Agreement provides that ICANN may not unreasonably withhold consent and then goes on to expand on the criteria by which it must evaluate Assignment requests. Section 7.5 states (yes I am paraphrasing for brevity) that ICANN’s role is to (a) conduct diligence on the Assignee (that we are who we say we are, we have goof credit, we have no been convicted of any felonies, and are not cybersquatters) – which it has done, and (b) to ensure that the Assignee has the ability to operate a TLD in accordance with the Registry Agreement. Essentially ICANN must treat assignees the same way it originally treated the original applicants by ensuring that our answers to their questions would have passed the original evaluation. These have both been done and ICANN has admitted that we have passed that evaluation.

      The Registry Agreement does not give ICANN the unfettered ability to reject an assignment at their sole discretion for whatever reason they want. They may hate the marketing programs of the former operator….and they may not want to see others auction off their TLDs like UNR did, but the contracts (and their Bylaws) do not give them the right to reject assignment requests based on their personal preferences.

      The Sale of PIR was rejected because ICANN was not convinced that the Assignee met (a) and (b) above. There were questions as to the actual corporate structure of the Assignee and information that the Assignee allegedly refused to disclose. And ICANN was not convinced that the Assignee could comply with the Registry Agreement and the commitments that were made in the agreement. And therefore, it was justified under the contracts and the Bylaws in rejecting the sale. ISOC/PIR/Ethos could have challenged that, but elected not to.

      Here, ICANN admits that (a) the assignee has demonstrated it is technically, financially, and operationally able to operate the TLD, and (b) the Assignee has demonstrated it will act in accordance with the Registry Agreement. This is not even in dispute.

      So, if ICANN wants to discourage what it believes is poor Marketing practices, then work with the community to get the contracts changed. I have no issue with that. And in fact, I would gladly support and participate in that endeavor. But dont use a routine assignment process as a back door to way regulate activity that otherwise is really meant for the community to weigh in on. No one has given ICANN the authority to do that or to use an assignment process as leverage for behaviors its current staff does not like.

      P.S. I dont understand your “make peace with the .music community” comment. That came out of left field…and I believe this is really just your sense of humor which I know (but other readers may take you seriously). So, for those that do not get your sense of humor, we actually get along real well with the principals of the .music team (including the former Far Further founders that serve as advisors). We wish them all of the success in the world…in fact I talked to some of them yesterday. Neither we, nor the .music team, view each other as adversaries at all and we have every interest in seeing them succeed both personally and professionally.

  9. Robert Kay says:

    ICANN and domain registration desperately needs to be disrupted by blockchain. They’ve had their time, it’s over. Handshake decentralised TLDs are a huge improvement on the legacy system and are the future for web3. It’s inevitable.

    • Jeffrey Neuman says:

      Robert,

      Statements like yours are what is causing the problems. There are VERY BIG differences between types of Blockchain Domains. The ones that you are likely referring to are what I put in the category of “those seeking to replace ICANN and its authority over the root.” I am NOT a fan at all of those as they encourage fracture, collision, and lawlessness.

      The kind of “blockchain domains” that I (and many others support) are those that are designed to work and improve on the existing system. While companies like Handshake and “Unstoppable” are basically raising the middle finger to ICANN, the governments and basically any semblance of order, other systems like ENS are going out of their way to ensure compatibility.

      I do not work for ENS nor do I get paid by anyone that uses ENS. But if you read the ENS governance documentation, they go out of their way to ensure that there are no collisions and that its system recognizes the authority of ICANN and the registry operators that are approved by ICANN. It gives the best of both world by having the advantages of the blockchain in connection with the domain name system, but also tries to work within the system so that those with domains in the ICANN-world can be authenticated and not collide with those that use ENS.

      Handshake is NOT AT ALL an improvement on the legacy system. Rather, it is a system that attempts to circumvent the existing system where its users are unaccountable for their activities. Many of the so-called registrants take advantage of the existing slowness of the regulatory environment.

      I support new innovative systems that focus on compatibility, accountability, while at the same time take advantage of technological advances.

      Don’t get me wrong, ICANN has a LOT of issues that they need to do better on. THe only reason Handshake exists is because of ICANN’s inability to get out of its own way, and its inability to encourage self-governance independent of governments but in a manner that also allows the market to innovate. The optimistic side of me states that once ICANN gets its act together and really starts doing its job, Handshake and Unstoppble will become irrelevant to 99.99% of the Internet.

      ENS, however, and other advanced technologies that work within the overall system will thrive. I know this may come across as hypocritical, but the only reason I hammer away at ICANN staff when it engages is this type of conduct, is because I still believe in the model and still believe with the right leadership, it can succeed.

    • Tony R. says:

      @Robert

      I would have to agree with @JeffNeuman. He hit the nail on the head concerning Handshake. How can it be an improvement over the legacy system when Handshake engineers and investors are purposely allowing name collisions with existing legacy TLDs to make a quick profit? Allowing anonymous bad actors to claim existing TLDs like .amazon and .music and many others through a NameBase auction clearly shows that Handshake is nothing but another rug pull and money-making scam. Worst still, why are these Handshake .amazon, .music etc TLDs currently being auctioned out on NameBase yet again? Who are the anonymous owners? This is how blockchain is getting a bad name. Handshake and Unstoppable should get their house in order before whining about ICANN. Once you get the absolute minimum and basics down, such as ensuring compatibility as @jeffneuman has said, then you can be taken seriously. What benefits does Handshake provide? Anonymity and decentralization to avoid censorship? It appears the benefit is that they are hiding behind their activities, getting rich by exploiting Internet users by pitching another pump and dump scheme, and not having the guts to take any accountability when the system that they devised was designed in an amateurish way. This just shows that they are not the future for web3.

      When it comes to ENS, it does appear that ENS is taking a different approach. I am not a fan but I am all about interoperability and not exploiting Internet users by creating confusion and collisions. Some appear to be getting the basics right at least. I could care less about Handshake and Unstoppable giving ICANN a middle finger. But I do care about Internet users being scammed and using confusion and name collisions to conduct bad behaviour and hide behind illicit activities.

  10. I’ve read a lot lately about handshake and alternate roots in general. And mostly the tenor was that all of this is no good. But if that were really the case, why are so many talking about it? ICANN is not Chief of Internet and the only reason this hasn’t been questioned is because there wasn’t a serious alternative. But as everything changes on the Internet, that will change too – or it has already changed.

    In any case, I now see ICANN’s duty to be OPEN on this topic and to think about interfacing – if they don’t, they endanger the stability of the DNS.

    It may be sentimental and out of date to talk about spirit today, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. I see great progress, new areas of application and markets in the new technologies – and it would be a step forward for everyone (except a few lawyers) if ICANN succeeded in integrating the new technologies instead of blocking them. With this question, the current character of ICANN will become clear again.

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