Ethereum Name Service now fully decentralized as DAO takes control

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Ethereum Name Service (ENS) has achieved decentralized governance, according to a message from the project’s creator on Dec. 14.

ENS is a naming system for the Ethereum blockchain that adds human-readable names to various resources, including crypto wallets and websites. Until now, the project’s root node was managed by members of the Ethereum community.

Nick Johnson, ENS founder, endorsed the change in ownership. He wrote on X:

“[This is] truly the end of an era. Here’s the message I just sent to the ENS root keyholders, requesting the transfer of the last of their powers to the DAO.”

Johnson’s attached email stated that the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) of ENS, which is a governance group formed and controlled by ENS token holders, voted unanimously to acquire control of the project’s root node.

He said that, in response to those voting results, he created a transaction to execute two actions that transfer root control to the DAO address (wallet.ensdao.eth). He wrote that this transaction transfers all remaining multisig responsibilities to the DAO, thereby “retiring the multisig entirely.” It is unclear whether the other multisig owners have approved the transaction.

Individuals who previously managed ENS’ multisig include Chainlink’s Sergey Nazarov, Metamask’s Dan Finlay, MyCrypto’s Taylor Monahan, Colony’s Aron Fischer, the Ethereum Foundation’s Jason Carver and Martin Swende, and Johnson himself. Johnson addressed those individuals in his message, writing: “Thank you so much … for your service to ENS over the years.”

ENS governance will be more open

ENS’ DAO is a governance group comprising token holders that vote on decisions and issues related to the project by staking tokens.

According to the latest proposal, the DAO already has several ownership responsibilities but did not have control over the core ENS root name until now.

The DAO will gain specific capabilities by controlling the ENS root. The ownership change will allow the DAO to create, manage, and permanently lock top-level domains apart from the permanent and unchangeable .eth domain. It will also allow the DAO to update reverse resolutions that map addresses back to a name. The DAO may also introduce primary domain names on layer-2 networks.

A snapshot indicates that voting concluded on Dec. 15, 2023. Virtually 100% of the staked tokens, or 1.9 million ENS, were staked in favor of DAO ownership. Johnson was one of the largest voters, staking 155,000 ENS in favor. Less than 17 ENS tokens were staked against the plan or were used to abstain.

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