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Web3 Domain Alliance

In order to become independent of ICANN's regulation, Namecoin was created in April 2011 as a Web3 blockchain DNS. Now the Web3 sector shall get regulated by the Web3 Domain Alliance?

Web3 has so far become a synonym of decentralization. As a downside of the wild west of the new area, it came to collisions of competing pTLDs (pseudo top level domains). On January 25, 2019, Unstoppable Domains applied to register the .crypto TLD as a US trademark. The application was declared abandoned on January 26, 2022, so the application failed. The USPTO regularly pointed out that a TLD is of a descriptive nature and therefore not eligible for trademark registration. Same goes for other jurisdictions. Additionally, Unstoppable Domains dropped the .coin pTLD, as it was colliding with the Emercoin project, what is a fork from Namecoin.

In November 2022, finally the creation of the Web3 Domain Alliance (W3DA) was announced, which seeks to secure the “intellectual property rights” of blockchain DNS projects:

The Web3 Domain Alliance believes that blockchain-based generic web3 Top Level Domains (“TLDs”) developed and marketed by a specific organization are intellectual property

In other words, the Web3 sector is now to be regulated by W3DA like previouly the Web2 sector by ICANN. Who would have guessed, Unstoppable Domains is the leading founding member. The beginning of a pulsating cycle of unregulated decentralization back to regulation?

38 new namespaces with pTLDs have been introduced in September 2022 to Namecoin. The new Namecoin browser add-ons and a local DNS Resolver as shown in action at section Specifications are ready for code review by Google and Mozilla, but haven't been submitted yet. It should be noted here that there are some collisions of TLDs with the competing blockchain DNS project Unstoppable Domains. Several attempts to coordinate this were rejected, instead I was advised to create a business inquiry, which of course was never my interest. However, our community believes that conflicts don't matter, as everyone can decide for themselves which browser add-on to install and activate, or not. Besides, there have already been several attacks on Namecoin by (a mirror of and (formerly OneName) while copying the .bit TLD without consulting the Namecoin developers. So we don't see the need to worry about collisions, as long as of course there are no collisions with the ICANN namespace, which is not the case (see the list of TLDs). Last but not least, I have to mention that I had already introduced the new TLDs for Namecoin before the new alliance W3DA was announced in early November 2022.

While I view the formation of the new “Web3 Alliance” as critical in terms of decentralization, I have invited its members anyway to engage in a new dialogue.

December 09, 2022
Uwe Martens

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