Jan. 19, 2023

We are all .eth domains! with Nick Johnson, Founder of ENS

We are all .eth domains! with Nick Johnson, Founder of ENS

Founder of ENS, discusses ENS, Digital Identities, Ethereum, Web3, and much more.


Today’s guest is Nick Johnson, the founder and lead developer of ENS. Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is a distributed, open, and extensible naming system based on the Ethereum blockchain. ENS converts human-readable Ethereum addresses like john.eth into the machine-readable alphanumeric codes you know from wallets like Metamask. The reverse conversion -- associating metadata and machine-readable addresses with human-readable Ethereum addresses -- is also possible. Nick previously worked as a software engineer at Ethereum from June 2016 to August 2018, where they implemented a trending system to identify trending terms on Lumi, improved integration with Twitter, and made significant improvements to the efficiency, scalability, and monitoring of backend systems. Prior to Ethereum, Nick worked as a senior software engineer at Google from June 2014 to June 2016. At Google, they were a primary point of contact for external developers with questions and problems using Google App Engine, and they wrote client libraries and SDK code to improve the user experience with App Engine. Nick also wrote extensive technical blog posts to help users with specific App Engine technologies, and they gave talks at high profile technical conferences around the world on subjects related to App Engine development. Nick Johnson completed a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Canterbury. We discuss a variety of topics including ENS, Digital Identities, Ethereum, Web3, and much more. We begin our conversation by discussing Nick’s journey to crypto and why he is so passionate about wallet addresses. Nick shares his first experience with Bitcoin but didn’t really understand the value proposition. Nick explains how crypto eventually clicked for him when he discovered Ethereum. Nick shares his experience working for the Ethereum foundation. We discuss the various tradeoffs between working for startups versus the corporate environment. Nick shares how NameCoin was an inspiration for ENS and how they were able to learn from NameCoin’s mistakes. We discuss what we are most excited about the upcoming trends for 2023. Nick shares why he is very excited of ZK-rollups. We discuss the relationship between ENS labs and the ENS DAO. We focus on the future of DAOs and why it is so disruptive. We discuss the organizational structure of DAOs and the importance of proper identity verification practices for DAOs. Nick explains the importance of removing the politicking and governance capture in DAOs. We discuss how Web3 enables people to own their digital identity. Our final conversation topic centered around ENS’s 2023 roadmap. Nick discusses their upcoming Name Wrapper and their commitment to long term sustainability. Please enjoy my conversation with Nick Johnson.