Ethereum Name Service Backlash Emphasizes Anonymity in Web3

Ethereum Name Service Backlash Emphasizes Anonymity in Web3

Despite the promise that Web3 will tear down the old guard with blockchain and decentralized technology, some old web2 problems have persisted in crypto and NFT space out.

Old tweets resurface. Reputations and brands are challenged. And, as has happened on Web2’s centralized social networks, women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and LGBTQ+ people are being harassed by anonymous individuals, even on the blockchain itself.

While harassment is not a problem unique to Web3, part of crypto’s rallying cry is that it can be more open and inclusive than the previous era of the Internet, although for many this goal is in tension with its co-goals of decentralization and anti-censorship.

The suites of the ENS

The last example of the trend concerns Ethereum name service (ENS), the blockchain-based domain name protocol that sells .eth names. Last week, an old tweet resurfaced from the director of operations of the ENS Brantly Millegan in which he declares: “Homosexual acts are wrong. Transgender does not exist. Abortion is murder. Contraception is a perversion. The same goes for masturbation and porn.

In the wake of the controversy, ENS removed him from his position, a move that sparked its own backlash among cryptocurrencies.

ENS delegate Chris Blec thinks the “woke crowd” is the problem. “I believe ENS Domains is an essential public service and I will fight to ensure that cancel culture does not take over,” he said. tweeted February 6. In a February 9 Space Blec Twitter post, he condemned the “thought police.” (Blec did not respond to Decryptrequest for comment.)

Many Web3 participants disagree.

In a Feb. 6 Twitter space titled “ENS is for everyone” that discussed Millegan’s firing,’s transgender CEO, Tux Pacific, said that transphobia and homophobia are a big problem and a valid concern in Web3.

“People think we shouldn’t exist yet or we shouldn’t belong in this space,” Tux said. “What’s happening today is not identity politics…it’s not a cancellation mob.”

Dame, who identifies as non-binary and works as a community leader for the Ethereum wallet app Rainbow, thinks there’s a difference between accountability and “cancel culture.”

“In my view, cancel culture is a term used to dismiss criticism from people who receive natural pushback and consequences for their words and actions,” Dame said. Decrypt by MP Twitter. “Honestly, I’m surprised we see so many complaints about the ‘cancellation culture’ in the crypto space…you’d think cryptocurrencies would understand the power of markets and communities better than anyone. If you say and do things that the market/community does not support, so they will choose to go elsewhere or reject you.

But even some who share Dame’s view are frustrated with ENS. For example, the Deadfellaz Dude, community manager for the NFT project, removed the .eth from his Twitter name.

“Waking up this morning and not seeing a public statement from ENS makes me very uncomfortable,” Mec said in the February 6 Spaces Twitter chat. “I don’t want to be associated with ENS right now.”

While some have dropped the .eth from their display names, other marginalized people are choosing to keep their .eth identity. Madamcultleader, a member of the Web3 community, who is trans, said in the ENS Twitter space: “We are all figuring this out as we move forward together… I am not removing .eth from my name because technically it’s a decentralized protocol Brantly doesn’t own that, we own this.

Anonymous harassment

Conversations do not always remain civil.

During a February 7 Twitter space hosted by Ashley Christenson, who parted ways with NFT platform SuperRare after earlier tweets containing the n-word resurfaced, a number of black speakers on stage said receiving a barrage of hateful DMs during space from anonymous accounts. using racist slurs and dehumanizing slurs.

And Dame says they’ve faced more than their fair share of harassment as a non-binary person in Web3.

“Now that crypto is going mainstream, the culture of the ecosystem is changing for the better and becoming more welcoming,” says Dame. “Unfortunately, there is a toxic cohort of anonymous DeFi/crypto Twitter accounts that don’t like it and they ‘I’m prepared to stir up harassment towards people trying to positively impact the ecosystem.’

Dame recently shared how they were on-chain harassed in the form of coded messages sent as Ethereum transactions to their wallet address. A post shared was deeply transphobic and appears to be an internet”pasta copyaimed at harassing transgender people (even though Dame is not transgender).

In response, Dame posted a guide to “How to deal with bullying from DeFi/crypto anons,” which lists a number of tools that allow users to mass delete old tweets or mass block certain types of accounts based on the content they “like” and interact with on Twitter.

But following Dame’s statements against Millegan, some have come forward criticizing Lady for tweeting about planning “10x the level of psychological intimidation my haters feel when they see me on the timeline.” Others raised concerns after Dame encouraged people to “block specific influential accounts and their fans” and posted a list. Rainbow says it “works through [sic] this internally.

You don’t have to “cancel” or advocate for inclusivity to become a target. Sometimes just being a woman is enough, says influential YouTuber and TikTok CryptoWendyO.

“If I was a man, I would be treated differently in crypto,” Wendy said Decrypt. “I know this because the insults, harassment and threats I receive are based on my gender as a woman.”

Most of the comments she gets on her YouTube channel aren’t about crypto, Wendy says, but about her looks. “On Twitter, I’ve been trashed for weeks straight regarding my appearance,” she said, “as well as death, rape and acts of violence being [threatened] against me and my child.

While many in the Web3 space have dismissed BuzzFeedthe recent unmasking of two founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club on the pretext that they deserve to remain anonymous, many of the same people are discovering that anonymity may not be the best path to a fairer web3.

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