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ICANN puts blockchain on the agenda for good

Kevin Murphy, June 23, 2022, 15:57:44 (UTC), Domain Tech

ICANN’s board of directors is apparently worried about the rise of blockchain-based alt-roots.

Its Board Technical Committee voted in May to make blockchain a permanent agenda item going forward, according to just-published minutes.

“After discussion, the Committee decided to have a standing topic on the agenda to address Blockchain Names,” the minutes read.

The minutes don’t record the content of the discussion, but the alt-root topic has been addressed at every one of the committee’s meetings since last July and resulted in the CTO’s office putting together a briefing paper I blogged about last month.

Blockchain alt-roots include the likes of ENS, Handshake and Unstoppable. They are likely to present legal challenges and interoperability problems when ICANN finally opens up the next round of new gTLDs in a couple years.

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Comments (5)

  1. tom barrett says:

    This is a positive step, in my opinion.

    Blockchain domains are not going away.

    ICANN is unlikely to regulate them. But collisions are inevitable. However, the scope of NCAP doesn’t cover them (yet).


    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      The problem is not blockchain, the problem is alt roots that happen to be distributed via blockchain.

      If what you say holds up, that those alt roots are not going away, that would be most unfortunate since this is pure and simple fragmentation. And that decreases the value of the net for all its global users, not only for those holding identifiers (either ICANN root or alt-roots)

      • Users who care about blockchain domains will figure out how to use them. Otherwise, most people will ignore them.

        Fragmentation exists in every market and the businesses that survive are those that adapt. Another word for “fragmentation” is “competition.”

        Should blockchain domains prove to offer more incentive to users than ICANN domains, that’s a problem for ICANN, not global users.

  2. Jared Arms says:

    What security measures will Unstoppable Domains, provide for criminals using their Blockchain Domains to create decentralize sites containing Child Abuse & Animal Torture?

    • StoppableDomains are for wallet addresses, they don’t resolve to websites. However, your point is valid for blockchain naming systems that do resolve to websites, like Handshake…but it’s also a tired (but still valid) argument. Criminals are going to use whatever is available to peddle their disgusting wares.

      To answer your question, there aren’t inherent security measures to block content in any protocol so you do what is already done now; report to whomever is managing a website/server/TLD and escalate to appropriate authorities.

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