Nick Johnson, founder of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), joins "First Mover" to discuss the domain name protocol's partnership with GoDaddy that allows users to link internet domains to their ENS addresses for free.
Let's talk all about domain names and web three because it just got a little bit easier to connect your web three domain with your web 21, Godaddy and the Ethereum name service also known as Ens recently announced a partnership that's gonna make that a little bit easier. Joining us now is Ens founder Nick Johnson. Nick. Hey, for the uninitiated before we jump into the Ens and Go Daddy partnership, just briefly explain for our audience. Uh what Ens is sure ens sure for the Ethereum name service is effectively the next evolution of naming for web three. So we focused primarily initially on naming web three wallets for a variety of chains. But we also now support being effectively your web three profile. So you can bring your profile with you to different applications and depths and platforms. And of course naming distributed content like IP Fs and Swan. When you say profile, what do you mean? Give us a practical example, pretty much everything you'd see when you go to your Twitter, sorry X profile or Facebook or anywhere else, your name, your profile picture, your header, image, short, bio, et cetera, all of those things that make you distinctly you and really we believe that those should be something that you own rather than being owned by the platform and something you should be able to bring with you. Do you have a ballpark figure for us? How many folks have, uh dot E name at the moment? Ah, so as of right, this moment, it's about 1.7 million. It's been a little higher in the past. It's been a lot lower in the past. It varies. So, what does this mean for those 1.7 million people? Ah, so ens in general, it means that they no longer have to deal with cryptographic identifiers. Big long hecs addresses every time they transact with their wallet or every time their friends want to send something to them, instead they get an easy human readable name. And so if I were to come to you and say, hey, can you send me five E if you were being generous, I could just give you my dot E name and you would send that over to my wallet address. It wouldn't have all these complicated characters for me to send over that. I always get super stressed about when I'm copying and pasting that I've forgotten. Exactly right. And of course, uh relevant here is that Ene isn't just dot E names. Uh, we support a lot more than that. Now, tell me about what this specifically means for the Godaddy partnership. These 1.7 million people. What does this Godaddy partnership mean for them? Well, really, it affects a lot more than just those 1.7 million people because the Godaddy Partnership is part of our ongoing drive to make DNS part of ENS. So DNS, the domain name service is foundational to the internet and is the way that it resolves your name.com into a website. And with this integration, it's now trivial for anyone with a Godaddy name to make that their ens name as well. So on top of the 1.7 million people who have already on boarded, any of Godaddy's millions of customers can now simply enter a crypto address into their Godaddy interface and instantly be able to use their domain name as their identity on web three. Paint a picture for me. What's the future that this is a step towards? Ideally, if we see web three develop the way we want it to then your domain name, whether it be a name or a DNS traditional name becomes your identity on web three apps and therefore on the majority of the internet. So instead of being stuck with sign in with Twitter, sign in with Google, you can sign in with Ethereum and have all of your profile information come across with you. Is this a more secure way to do things than they're being done? Now, I would say it's equivalent in security to things like a war but much better in terms of privacy and control of your own data. So as with anything, the system is as secure as you keep your credentials, the difference is you're no longer also trusting Google or Facebook or Apple to custody those credentials for you. Tell me a little bit more about that privacy piece. Ah, well, I think a lot of people are concerned about the implications of handing over their whole digital lives to major corporations, particularly given how few of them there are and how much of the internet they now effectively control or mediate. And one of our goals with the web three platform with ENS with sign in with Ethereum with our new integrations is that you should be in control of all of that data and hand it out to those you want to and also that you shouldn't be beholden to those platforms for your profile's continued existence. We see a lot of cases where a simple machine error results in someone's Google account being deleted and now suddenly your entire identity goes away with a little way to appeal. Tell me about how the partnership came about. Did you approach God Daddy? Did Godaddy approach Ens and yeah, tell me about the initial conversations there. We've had connections in both directions over the years, but it really started with one of our team at a conference, getting in touch with a God Daddy representative there, chatting, had a great conversation and just keeping that contact up in both directions until it's eventuated with what you see today. Well, that's a conference success story. If I've ever heard one, I've been to enough conferences where the momentum starts, but then very quickly fizzles after that conference is done. I feel the same way. I'm, I'm super impressed with that all worked out. And so it's, it's interesting when we talk about web two brands, especially web two brands that have built their brand on the internet. Uh You know, we often hear stories about the reluctance to Web three and sometimes about the acceptance. It sounds like Godaddy was, was um you know, really is, is really adopting the technology with welcoming arms. I think so. Yeah, they've been very interested in pursuing these not directly financial use cases and doing what we believe in which is building a better internet in a much broader sense than just purely focusing on finance. I want to broaden the conversation out a little bit now, you've been operating in the Ethereum ecosystem for quite a while. Um And there's some big developments coming up for Ethereum this year. We're sitting in February 2024. What are you most excited about for Ethereum this year? Ah I think the two big upgrades that we know are coming are blob space which will be better, more efficient LT two systems and also support for temporary storage which will enable more efficient smart contracts. And the latter is more esoteric, I guess. But given my interest in development on Ethereum and so on, that's probably the one that excites me more. I understand the value and the benefits that blob space brings and that having more efficient roll ups will bring. But I always get more excited about new functionality unlocks. Tell us a little bit more about that. What will that unlock for users of the Ethereum ecosystem effectively? It doesn't necessarily enable things that weren't possible before, but it makes them a lot more efficient. So there are lots of cases where with increasing complexity of smart contract interactions, you are contacting the same smart contract multiple times in a single transaction. And right now that can incur a lot of additional costs that aren't really necessary and that aren't sort of reflective of the actual cost of the Ethereum platform to execute your transaction with this, those sort of complex nested transactions should get a lot cheaper. And Nick, the last time we spoke about Ens on this show, uh we were talking about a legal battle with unstoppable domains, any update there? Uh Not writers of this moment. No. All right, we are going to wrap the conversation up there. Nick. Thanks so much for joining the show. My great pleasure. Thank you. That was Ens founder Nick Johnson.