Hey everyone, Jordan here.

Over the past 5-6 months, many of you avid Twitter users have probably noticed more and more people with a .eth address in their display name. I did too and fortunately, a few months ago, I decided to take the jump and purchase my very own Ether Name Service (ENS) domain.

In a nutshell, this can be thought of as your Web3 username, which you can use throughout the decentralized web (and maybe even the Metaverse (I love relevant buzzwords)). Unlike the scattered, custodial usernames we’ve been using for years in this version of the web, the ENS username is so much more than just a social handle. If a domain owner chooses, they can consolidate their identity, wallet, payment processor, and more all into their .eth address. What’s more? Unlike the traditional version of the aforementioned products and services, ENS domains are non-custodial- meaning users have complete control over whatever they choose to encapsulate in their domain and the associated data.

At the time of registration, I really thought very little about what the future held for ENS and my .eth account, I was simply hopping on the FOMO bandwagon, but over the past few days I’ve come to think of myself as a genius savant for getting into this game early (just kidding).

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To apply for the upcoming cohort, click here.

The Drop

For those that don’t know, on November 8 at 7p ET, the early adopters of ENS were airdropped governance tokens for the DAO, which resulted in many members of the community receiving 5 - 6 figure paydays. Full disclosure: I was able to claim tokens, but they won’t be putting my future children through college (unless someone here gives me a heads up to the next SHIB). Since then, the tokens have been going to the moon, hitting a peak price of $85 / token on Wednesday, bringing the total market cap to over $1B.

While I may be putting myself on a pedestal from seemingly doing nothing except utilizing impeccable intuition to inherit some good fortune, I felt it important to actually try and understand more about why the founders of ENS airdropped these tokens to early adopters and what the future holds. A great resource to start was by learning about the ways in which the tokens were actually allocated at the time of drop, which this chart illustrates:

ENS chart.jpg

As you can see, the original domain holders represent only a fraction of the total distribution. Active users in the ENS Discord server, for example, were given extra as were the core contributors to the DAO. With a total of 100M tokens in supply, 50% were allocated to the community treasury, which will support community focused initiatives to help the development and growth of ENS, such as grants, hackathons, meetups and more.

What I did not understand when initially registering my domain is that ENS is so much more than a name to display on Twitter. It is a way to create a human readable address, meaning that ENS makes it possible to send crypto, for example, to "jordangreenberg.eth" (feel free to do just this if you please) instead of “0x55b3d0hs6294xsqot1270odq47c”. However, ENS is also an active community that is incentivized to communicate regularly (so much so that I find it almost impossible to stay up to date) via Discord. These community members and conversations now represent the future of the protocol. In fact, as a first order of business, the founders made sure that everyone who wished to claim their tokens had to first vote on four articles of the DAOs constitution. For now, the true value of ENS lies in the fact that the owners of the tokens will determine the future of ENS.

As the ENS claim site puts it, “with the launch of $ENS and the DAO, the community will be empowered to govern the ENS protocol.”

Where Do We Go From Here?

In writing pieces like this, it’s typically a good idea to talk to people who are smarter than you. I asked my friend and fellow Fintech Today colleague, Parker, what the future might hold for ENS and here are a few of the ideas that she came up with:

  • Startups are building on top of ENS to create self-sovereign, self-custodial identity verification. In other words, this is effectively a new form of authentication that allows users ​​to control their digital identity with their Ethereum account and ENS profile rather than relying on a traditional intermediary (such as signing in with an email address).
  • Self-sovereign, self-custodial identity verification is already used across Web3, but startups like login.xyz (founded by the original ENS team and sponsored by the Ethereum Foundation) want to standardize the practice by providing wallet vendors a more consistent machine-readable message format…
  • In turn, this ^ will improve user experience and aid in consent management.
  • The ENS token has now been listed on Binance for trading, and it’s speculated that Coinbase is heavily considering listing it on its exchange as well.
  • It also seems as though others have been inspired by the ENS airdrop. For instance, Joe Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys, which owns MetaMask, teased an airdrop of $MASK.

In my opinion, the sky’s the limit for ENS and I’m excited to be along for the ride!

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