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The Avalanche Name Service

Design Concerns & Considerations

October 3rd, 2021

Allocating names in a namespace comes with many challenges. Some are related to disputes over possession - who has a greater claim to a name? Others are related to maintenance, integration, and usability. In this document, we'll try to maintain a comprehensive list of concerns & considerations for platform stakeholders.

Name Squatting

This occurs when a user leases a domain they are not entitled to. This may take many forms, such as squatting a trademark (e.g. amazon) or squatting a person’s name (e.g. johnsmith). Squatting is generally an act of bad faith, where the squatter intends to re-sell the domain for a profit.

Name Disputes

This occurs when two users have claims to the same name (e.g. two companies which have the same name but in different countries, or two people with identical names). In general, the users involved in name disputes are likely to have acted in good faith.

Unused Names, or Hoarding

The number of available names in the system is limited. Every name that is registered is a name that is no longer available for registration. The system should be designed in a way that users are not able to hoard names. For example, if names are freely available, users may attempt to keep as many names as possible to themselves. They may let those names lay dormant. Because those names are no longer available for others, this is undesirable. 

Privacy

Users may want to keep owned names private. For example, if I lease two names,  “bronyexpert” and “johnsmith” from the same wallet address, it’s possible that I do not want others to know how much I love my little pony. We should try to protect the privacy of users of the system as much as possible, while not limiting functionality.

Illicit or Illegal use of the System

As seen in other blockchain naming systems, takedown resilience will likely attract illicit activity (e.g. child pornography, malware, references to C2 servers). This presents two subproblems to be explored:

  1. How can we comply with requests from legal authorities related to users of the system?
  2. The use of the system will have an impact on the reputation of the Avalanche Community, Ava Labs, and Avvy Domains. How can we protect the reputation of these actors?

In general, no stakeholder benefits from illegal or illicit use of the system. It is bad for the overall community reputation. 

ICANN Registration & other organizations

In order to maintain the option of being accepted into the global naming system as a gTLD, the namespace needs to comply with ICANN requirements. It would be unfortunate to design the system in a way that prohibits such an option.

Ongoing Development

The naming system should be designed in a way that will sustain ongoing development, such that new integrations can be completed as the system and Avalanche ecosystem evolve.