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What is ENS or Ethereum Name Service

ENS (Ethereum Name Service) is a decentralized domain name service built on the Ethereum blockchain. It provides a human-readable domain name system for Ethereum addresses, replacing the long and complex Ethereum addresses (0x...), making it easier to remember and share Ethereum addresses.

An Ethereum domain is a custom, human-readable name (e.g. "myname.eth") that is associated with an Ethereum address. The domain can be used as a user-friendly address to receive and send payments, store and access data on the Ethereum network, and interact with decentralized applications (dApps). The ownership of an Ethereum domain is recorded on the Ethereum blockchain, ensuring that it is secure and tamper-proof.

ENS provides a convenient and secure way for individuals and organizations to interact with the Ethereum network and decentralized applications, making it easier to use and access Ethereum-based services and applications.

The ownership of the ENS (Ethereum Name Service) root node is currently held by a multi-sig contract that is managed by trusted individuals within the Ethereum community. These individuals are responsible for ensuring that the root node is maintained and used only for administrative purposes, such as the introduction of new top-level domains (TLDs) or emergency situations, such as a critical vulnerability in a TLD registrar.

The keyholders come from well-respected members of the community and are not affiliated with ENS, except for Nick Johnson, the founder of ENS. They are expected to act in the best interests of the ENS community, using their independent judgement, rather than blindly following requests from ENS developers.

As the owner of a node can change the ownership of its subnode, the owner of the root node has the power to modify any node within the ENS system. This means that the keyholders have the ability to replace the contracts that manage domain registration and issuance, giving them complete control over the structure of the ENS system and the registered names within it. However, the root keyholders have locked the control of the .eth registrar contract, meaning that they cannot affect the ownership of .eth domains.

The keyholders have the following powers:

  • Control the allocation and replacement of TLDs other than .eth, which is necessary for DNSSEC integration.
  • Enable and disable controllers for the .eth registrar, affecting the policies for registering and renewing .eth names.
  • Update the pricing for .eth names.
  • Manage registration revenue.

In the future, the plan is to gradually reduce and decentralize human control over the ENS system. Powers that are currently held by the ENS root, such as setting domain pricing and renewal conditions, will be decentralized as more robust systems become available.

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