Earlier this month, the Ethereum Name Service, or ENS, formed a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, for the ENS community.
Cointelegraph spoke to two ENS DAO delegates who applied for the opportunity to represent the community and stay involved in the decision making process: Victor Zhang, CEO of AlphaWallet, an open source Ethereum wallet, and Gregory Rocco, co-founder of Spruce, a decentralized ID and data toolkit for developers.
Zhang spoke about his experience as an external contributor to ENS and an early supporter since 2018. Zhang initially sought to help ENS by offering Alpha Wallet as a user-friendly tool for resolving .eth names and cryptocurrency wallet addresses. Essentially, if a user inputs an .eth name in the AlphaWallet, it will show the wallet address, and vice versa using reverse resolution. AlphaWallet also supports ENS avatars.
Zhang, also known as @Victor928, is among the top 30 delegates with the most voting power. When asked about how he plans to keep contributing to the DAO, Zhang said:
My biggest concern currently is voting power. The second largest voting power is Coinbase, a big corporation. We need to make sure the ENS is always a public group, always a neutral service, not influenced or controlled by any single party for its own interest.”
Related: ENS’ director of operations says that DAO-based governance ‘has always been the plan’
During the ENS token airdrop, 100 million total ENS tokens were distributed. While 25% went to users with .eth domans, another 25% of the tokens were allocated to those who “contributed in significant ways to ENS over the last four years.” The other 50% remains in the DAO community treasury.
As an external contributor, Zhang received 46,296.3 tokens. At the time of publication, this number of tokens amounted to $3,320,311.15. Zhang is among 27 contributors to receive this exact amount.
Zhang confirmed that he is, “holding it all. I’m not cashing any tokens out. As long as ENS continues to grow in the right direction, I don’t see any competitors. So that means the value is much bigger than the current market cap, if we’re looking at it as an investment.”
The day of the airdrop, Brantly Millegan, AKA “Brantly.eth,” ENS’ director of operations, tweeted about the “responsibility” bestowed upon users and added how it’s up to the ENS community to use decentralized identity “wisely.”
you were not airdropped free money, you were airdropped responsibility
— brantly.eth (@BrantlyMillegan) November 9, 2021
Gregory Rocco from Spruce discussed this concept of decentralized identity with Cointelegraph. He developed Spruce precisely to help users own and control their digital identities rather than give up that data to large corporations. Spruce leads a community-based open source project called sign-in with Ethereum, or SIWE software.
He is referring to large centralized corporations such as Google, Twitter or Facebook that offer web2 users the option to login to third-party apps and services using their respective Gmail or Facebook details instead of having to create and remember individual usernames and passwords for each new account.
According to Rocco, these traditional logins have the “ultimate control” over user identifiers because “if Google pulled the rug on you, you wouldn’t just lose access to Google services, you’d also lose access to every service that you signed into using Gmail.”
The Ethereum Foundation and ENS recognized this issue and announced a Request for Proposal for the creation of a Sign-In with Ethereum package using Oauth. Spruce was selected to offer a decentralized identity alternative in September.
The goal of SIWE is to enable users to control their public identifier by owning their private keys or as Rocco put it: “‘your keys, your crypto’ but also ‘your keys, your identifier.’” Not only does Spruce’s toolkit establish a blockchain-based identity, but it also enables verifiable proof of identity, ownership of assets and DAO membership. In the case of any DAO, proving a user’s value to an ecosystem can earn him or her rights to upcoming airdrops.
When asked how it feels to be a delegate, Rocco said:
“I feel this motivation to stay on top of everything for ENS and be on board and establish that social contract. I believe in the future of ENS and support participation in user-controlled systems. That paradigm is the first step towards enabling users to have more control over their identity and data.”
Decentralizing identity ultimately empowers the ENS DAO and builds up its credibility as a truly decentralized organization. Both Zhang and Rocco are champions of collective ownership and hope to further promote the usage of ENS in the Web 3.0 ecosystem.