The following is a transcript of our conversation with Gary Palmer jr. We discuss everything ENS and his vision for the future. We really enjoyed it and hope that it would provide value to the community. Here are the links for the audio on youtube and podcast:
James: Thanks so much. Okay, the first question: Why is ENS booming in the bear market?
Everything else has brutally gone down 60, 70, 80% and is staying down, but ENS is booming. What do you think is happening?
Gary: Just think about the past 12 months. Crypto has been going up, all those PFP projects, people were putting money into projects, sometimes these projects were delivering fun, utility, and culture, and with that came a little bit of speculation. You have the Flippers or Sprinkle, and in many of those projects there were hints or rumors or straight-up promises of utility— that they were going to potentially get (or they were getting).
The utility might have been accessed through Discord, or a physical party, or a promise for the future, and there was all this focus and money and hype.
And all that time, ENS was the cute boy in the corner that nobody was paying attention to, but people were not recognizing its value across all web3 or NFT and crypto projects, or what it means to be a decentralized human readable naming protocol that has the level of integration that we have.
And so as all the value of everything else was going up, nobody was pumping into the ENS names, the 10k club was not a thing, the 999 were not all minted out, and then as the bear markets have been happening for over a year now, people have been searching for flights of value, ENS names being completely ignored and undervalued.
It’s essentially impossible for the project to be dumped on. There were no VCs, no hype, no culture community (10k PFP clubs) like we do now. All there were were people with diamond hands and people with paper hands, and there was nothing in between. And now, really not much has changed. Money is exiting these projects which might be fun, but may not have utility or cultural relevance in the future, and people are looking at solid word ENS names and the scarcity of the numbers and they are recognizing its value, and that it only had one direction to go.
James: Yeah, you bring up a lot of great points. One of the things that were resonating with me was with crypto in general, there was a lot of misleading, a lot of hype, and influencers were being paid but don’t disclose that and people fall for that right and left, but with ENS there is no hype behind it nor any influencers pushing it, it is much more transparent in that regard.
A follow-up question would be, we all understand ENS has a variety of utilities such as replacing your wallet address web3 identity. In your opinion, what is most unappreciated about ENS, what is it that people don’t realize or do not see?
Gary: On one hand, I don’t think they see the depth and breadth of the application of the ENS name. You have to realize when someone references their ENS name as their wallet, it makes me twitch a little bit, because your ENS name is not your wallet, your Ethereum wallet is your wallet. Your wallet is your wallet of the chain that you are using, and I get it, you are just referencing your ENS name as your wallet because that is the identifier of that wallet, but the name is just name and you have to realize every smart contract, or NFT, or every physical thing in the world, every car or part in a car can have its own name.
Step away from the ENS name and think about supply chain tracking. Supply chain tracking is just ones and zeros being followed. If you have eggs that come out of the farm that have a digital token to represent them, and as those physical eggs are moving from one truck to a building to another truck to another building, they are passing through different wallet holders. They are accepting the token or maybe adding some data that is going somewhere else. Those eggs are like a token in the blockchain for supply chain tracking. Like in the normal world, it’s like a number in the database, and the blockchain world it’s like a number in the database, but there is no reason why everything can’t have its own human-readable identifier to make things organized and easy in the world of massive ones and zeros.
That’s one thing, if Ethereum succeeds, which has significantly, and I believe it will continue to succeed significantly, ENS will just continue to succeed, and ENS is connected to Ethereum, chain link, all of web3, and it is an independent web3 protocol. Yes, it is tied to Ethereum but it is blockchain agnostic and it is cross-blockchain compatible, so to think about ENS’ names as their domain names when they are really so much more, the fact that it can do what a web2 domain name does is not a majority of the pie graph of what an ENS name can do.
And then the second thing that I think people are undervaluing with ENS names is that your ENS name is freedom of life and proof of life. Proof and freedom of identity, freedom to own your own name, to let people know where to find you. Your freedom to be able to receive payment. It is your right to live and exist because a lot of people are denied existence and visibility. They are marginalized, sometimes on purpose, sometimes it happens in America, most of the time outside of America, and I think it is really powerful that anyone can have their ENS name, or be on the blockchain and mint their own NFTs, and create their own economy as in the economy of one is connected to the rest of the blockchain. In the WEB3 world you don’t need to go to GoDaddy or PayPal or centralized hosting and risk that, because we have ENS and NFTs, and we have decentralized blockchain rails. You know we are human beings, we have a habit of naming things and clasafying things, it’s just easier to have humanity when you can be an ENS name instead of a (0x) address.
James: Two follow-up questions;
the first one is regarding ENS being used for physical objects. That blows my mind and it is very rarely talked about, but there are billions of objects so there would be billions of ENS names being used. What would that do to the value of ENS names? Would there be the best ENS names, and then all these subdomains are used, or do you think it will lift the whole ENS market because of the total address of the market?
The second follow-up question is, given how you have outlined so many great use cases of ENS, even though ENS allows for DNS to be imported, would that even happen, would it be useful? Would it be such an easy decision just to go with ENS that people overwhelmingly choose to do that?
The vast majority of people don’t worry about having censorship resistant immutable blockchain technology, and most of us are just benefiting from this new playground in the world. In some places, it is really needed and required, and I don’t think Google and Amazon are worried about losing ‘Google.com’ or ‘Amazon.com’ respectively. For them, it could be a perfectly viable option, or for someone starting a new company, it could be a perfectly viable option to use their (.com), and have some kind of cross functional working between (.com) and the blockchain. I think that it is highly likely at some point Google and Amazon could find that they have problems with the DNS system, and they could find benefits to using the decentralized rails. Even though they don’t have that problem now, they could have that problem later, and then there is also the cultural part of it. In the very beginning, automobile makers didn’t need a website to survive or to get their (.com), but eventually, the technology was so strong that you can’t sell cars without having your own website, and it’s highly likely that, culturally, things will shift to ENS, even though (.com) is needed, and you don’t need the immutability in the centralization of (.com), just for the ease of mind, to be cool or to be a 100% decentralized. There are many more reasons to be able to shift over to that. I am in huge support and I think it is very good that we are forward compatible and cross-compatible with most of the (…), and that provides a lot of opportunity and experimentation, and it only adds value to (.eth) names that are the only decentralized naming protocol out and TLV for the ENS protocol, and it’s part of our ENS constitution that we believe in an unlimited namespace, we, in fact, do not believe in expanding the decentralized naming space, compared to UD it is the exact opposite. Look at Bitcoin, there is only 21 million bitcoin, and people say, ‘what are you going to do when the price of bitcoin is a million dollars’, you move the decimal point to the ither direction. As humans we want see bigger numbers, but to the reverse of thinking, we have to move the decimal point in the opposite direction, and then, the lower number is better. It is sort of like saying in the ENS space, we are going to be able to increase the decentralized naming space by creating super domains, which the (.earth) project is, it’s the first project that is really implementing the super domain concept. We all know the decentralized has (.eth) but we also know that there is only one naming protocol which is ENS, but in the case of (.earth), when you see (earth.eth) you think, okay, that’s (earth.eth), since we know its ENS. Since we know its ENS, we can all agree that we know its (.eth), just to save language, we are going stop saying (.eth). Saying “(.earth.eth)”, DAO will say, I’m just going be on the same page magically and just say (.earth), and now in Web3 when I say (.earth), you know I’m not talking about the Web2 version of (.earth). I’m talking about the ENS (.eth), the super domain of (.earth), and now in the (.earth) project, they can focus on creating (France.earth),(Eiffel tower.earth), so, there is going be this massive naming world, everything is going get bigger, in the terms of second level domains. There is unlimited supply and what I’m laying out, in both the physical and the digital sense, not just humans but also AIs, that all machines are going to need their own ENS names. There is going to be an increased demand, which means the value of premium ENS names will go up and it is going be different than Web2, because we are not increasing the namespace, we are not coming out of the gate with a (.net) or a (.org), and just a side note, everyone that does have good ENS names, and you might have a 2 or 3 word ENS name so you might not value it as highly, but I would caution people about submitting their grails (…) into a sub-domain contract, because you’re going to want to be really careful.
You could take a decent ENS name, and for the sake of argument, say you could sub-domain it, and you could turn that into a million dollars by selling sub-domains. That name might be worth more, not in a sub-domain wrapper, than you’d have to have done that. This is kind of a new concept that I’m sharing with you as we’re bringing PFPs into ENS. If/when you ever submit your ENS names to a sub-domain wrapper contract, you are essentially opening up a deck of cards. Some NFTs you can open up and sell before you open it up, if you submit your name to a wrapper contract and then, say, Pepsi comes and you have (CBDwater.eth), they offer you 5 thousand Ethereum for that name.
James: Gary, a question on usecase, in my mind one of the biggest opportunities I see for ENS is what is happening with the creator economy. In Web2, all these people on social media creating all this content are not getting the profits, the platforms are eating all those profits. But one of the biggest changes that are happening in Web3 is the rise of the creator economy, and it started with NFTs— where it is a huge shift to receiving profits having ownership of all these, so are all these creators that are coming in the creator economy. How are they going to get paid, how are they going to send and receive value? It’s going to be through an ENS name, or a Web3 domain. They are not going to put their PayPal address, they are not going to put their wallet address.
What are your thoughts on that?
Of course, people don’t want to send money to a long wallet address, Twitter handles or gamer tags, or other platforms. These things sell for tens of thousands of dollars. People are very serious about their identities. In Web2, people use PayPal or cash app. In Web3, people are interested in ownership. We are in an in-between phase right now where people get paid and their landlord is not into crypto. They need to convert crypto into cash to pay the landlord; This is where every time there is a pullback, we push back into another bull market, where more and more people are involved on the blockchain, which is less of a reason to have to pull out, and maybe a solution that would allow you to transfer from crypto and cash with more ease. The trend is very clear that NFTs are taking over, even if the banks want to make bitcoin illegal, and they want to do fedcoin. On the fun business side of the world, where people are making money, the metaverse is billions of dollars in future economics, and for me, it is clearly going to be done on Ethereum or chainlink or other EMV compatible blockchains like polygon. That is exactly where we see the Web2 giants playing, Ebay bought KnowOrigin, Reddit just launched on polygon, that’s EMV, Facebook and Instagram are testing on polygon, and bored apes is on Ethereum. For me, I try not to be biased, I go back and look at the data, and it is all happening on Ethereum. Web3 people are going to want to get paid on that ecosystem, and when they get paid in that ecosystem, it is possible that they can use a UD name to get paid, but then when they take that name and they want to login into a Web3 websites, your name is not going to show up there, and so, people are going to shift to ENS, because the main usecase of usernames. Your ENS name is your digital identity and your business card.
Majd: The DAO is actually investing in creating like a Web3 phonebook for ENS, where you just put in the name, and if the owner of that name associated their email, website, or a profile photo, it is kind of a business card so I can see how this will be the place where we go first to look up the name of a business and see it in a phone book.
James: I can see, in the not too far future, there will be lots of people that are making a part-time or full-time living in the creator economy, and they are going to get paid by ENS, and it blows my mind because there is a very limited supply of good ENS names. I think that says a lot about where values are headed, and it is a hundred percent clear that corporations are going to be using ENS names because, here is my rational, you have got about seven hundred people in the crypto worldwide, and that is going to go to billions, and corporations are all about removing friction, if people want to pay by crypto they will make that happen eventually, and if they are going to make paying by crypto a reality, they are going to need an ENS name. What will that do to the values of ENS names?
Garry: If you say every human in the world needs an ENS name, that’s like telling people back in 1995 every human in the world needs an email, but everyone in the world has 10 emails at least, and in the future, everyone will have their own ENS name or multiple ones. You have to realize that every smart contract, every digital asset, is going to have its own ENS name(bayc.eth) that might be the name of the contract, and then (3636.bayc.eth) that might be the Web3 URL that shows you the picture of my NFT, and (garry.bayc.eth) that goes back to my column, but then every physical object could have its ENS name. We have supply chain tracking that could be done on the blockchain, so you could have (honda.eth), and then(civic.honda.eth) and then (123.civic.honda.eth) that is your civic. Then there is a section of records like when it was manufactured, this is where the break pad was made, this is the civic that these breaks were installed in, here is the ENS name of the honda civic that those breaks went in to. So now, you have not only names with records, but names with records that are cross repricing other ENS names with records, and that is a super extreme view of how this could be pushed, but I’m just thinking about this in the blockchain world that is Ethereum focused, and ENS is the naming protocol for that, and I think there is going to be a lot of creative applications that people can come up with, we are still in the wild west of Web3.
James: I totally agree Garry, I think it is so stupid to be using a long hexadecimal wallet address, it is like being in the caveman era. I’m sure at one point, people were typing in a long IP address into the browser, but if you do that today you would look dumb as a door knob, and we are still in the phase, people are still using wallet addresses, but it is a temporary thing, and what excites me is that we are still early and people do not realize the opportunity ahead of us. I’m going to ask one last question and then give it to my co-host and the audience. I completely agree with you that NFTs are blowing up, and I have never seen anything grow like this. I have seen master-card opening up to NFTs platforms with billions of people and I think there is going to be a tsunami, how will that impact ENS?
Garry: Every single project is affecting a group of people, not everyone relates to lions, but some people like apes, so everyone has their own audience, and every single audience out there has their own community. This Web3 world we all share, we are all part of this Web3 world, and it has ropes, and we all use these ropes and services, a lot of public goods that we all need to survive, so by helping other people we are helping ourselves, and every project, they’re using Ethereum and public goods, and they are a part of this larger wider system network that, they, as individuals, are creating this one big community and all these communities come together creating this one bigger thing. ENS is this common layer framework, like the postal system. ENS is there for everybody, so for each of these projects, if they are not using ENS, I would recommend immediately going to login.xyz and they think about some creative ways to integrate ENS into their community. All of these projects they would immediately be able to tap into 4 and 50 thousand unique addresses or thousands of people that are part of the 10 thousand club. It just makes a lot of sense by connecting into ENS, if they are using Ethereum and not using ENS it doesn’t make any sense.
Majd: To respect Garry’s time, we are going to start with the Q&A with the community now.
9396.eth Go ahead.
9396.eth: Hello everyone, I have a really quick question.
I was part of a very interesting spaces a couple of minutes ago, we were discussing everything related to racism in Web3 and NFTs, but I took a route towards true decentralization and I asked a question related to ENS and my question was: How the host of that space feels about ENS? The answer was, I’m bullish on short and midterm bearish long term, so I asked what is long-term for him and the answer was 10 years, and I asked why, the answer was, Ethereum is not going to be able to scale to really become like a global network and just function for everyone, so it made me think. I wanted to drop this question because everything is related to Ethereum, if Ethereum scales, and keeps on expanding and all these use-cases that Garry mentioned, and we are just getting started I agree with that, and the topic connected to Ethereum was also how Metamask is being the center of all this because probably 95% of us are using it, and there was also a claim that it is connected to central banks through the ownership, so just wanted to through these things to pick your brains, I’m asking questions I just want to know as much as possible because we are on the brink of collapse of fiat system. I was just blown away by what is happening in China, Thailand and Russia as well. They are not able to withdraw their funds, so this is becoming an alternative right now. Where do you store your savings, where does it go?
Gary: Yes, sure, Ethereum could fail—I don’t know the future. The most important aspect to me with Ethereum, it is central ship resistant, and then one of the ways it might scale is, there are a lot of things that are being worked on, but additional EMD-related blockchains, even if they are not as decentralized, as long as we have the most decentralized system at the core. I would caution anybody who is not a lawyer or a financial advisor, not to over-extend their investments into anything, because anything could go to zero. Just to say it, Ethereum and ENS could fail. I don’t think that is going to happen by a longshot, but that is why you should not extend into any one thing. With that being said, when the internet was invented in the 50s or the 60s and then we got emails in the late 80s, and you could say it was wildly speculative, and people were saying the internet is not going to scale, and now you are not allowed to get a job unless you use the internet, so, on one hand, it is wildly speculative and on the other hand, people are really good at solving problems. On the third hand, the internet that we had was not the best. It was, with the best privacy, a lot of things were missing, and we could have shifted and got a better internet, but because the internet that we had had the network adoption that it did, it was kind of the internet that we are stuck with, and so now that is the case with bitcoin. It’s that we are stuck with the bitcoin that we have. The bitcoin that we have could have had potentially privacy features, but it is what it is and does what it does. With Ethereum, the first to do what it did, I just don’t see it failing, just like in 1990, when the weird sound for the dialog on the internet, and images loading line by line very slowly, and people didn’t use the internet back then. But if you say billions of people have supercomputer smart phones streaming a video with practically no latency, it is just unbelievable. But this is the future that we have because we were able to solve problems, and if I was a betting man, I would not vote against a small group of people who are determined to change the world.
January walker: What is always at the top of mind for me, just because of my personal opinion, we messed up Web2. The laws around it, personal privacy, pretty much everything that goes along with that. When it comes to ENS and creating the right laws, I would be very interested in hearing outside thoughts from other individuals, because we cannot take the same laws from Web2 and apply it to Web3, and say, yes, everything is fine because we know that is not.
Gary: A lot is happening across the world with cryptocurrency and regulations, and there are a lot of different trains of thought and a lot of conflict of information, and there is also the conflict in the reconciliation between Web1 and Web3 before we even get to Web2, things like the federal reserves and the federal reserve view and the cryptocurrency proper, and how regulations are looking at that, has a direct effect on us people playing in the NFT, and the digital monkey picture space including ENS names. I think it is really important to remember that we have freedom of speech, and freedom of speech includes: freedom of math is freedom of speech, and part of the regulation of math is, what computations are you allowed to run on your computer, and then it gets into current regulations about self-hosted wallets, and there is talk of making it illegal for people to hold their own Bitcoin or Ethereum, or make it you have to be an institutional investor to do so. If those things were true and it could also be not legal to hold NFTs and there is just these base freedoms which America was founded on and blockchain sort of amplifies those rights.
Web3intern.eth: I did have a question, I am thinking individually, what do you think we should be building that you have not seen yet? What gets you motivated about ENS?
Garry: In terms of the ENS community, is the integrity and the authenticity. Everyone is excited about the utility of ENS, the potential of ENS, and how people in the ENS community buy other people’s ENS names with the intent of gifting them their ENS names. Like individuals, I’m talking about the amount of love and excitement and the authenticity of people purchasing into something real, that is a done product that already has utility, that has already delivered and continues to deliver, that has unrefutable metrics of a wildly incredible success connected to a blockchain, which is equally including chainlink. What I really want to see from the community, as we move forward, is that I want to see them with the most respect and candor and empathy possible. I want to see you guys encourage other projects that integrate ENS by that Ethereum, I want to see more applications with ENS.
Majd: Garry, I definitely would love to have another space with you where we can just talk about the DAO, what it is, what they are doing, and how they are doing it, and I think maybe we could have a panel and if you would like to invite someone else who has experience with the DAO the team. Because I think that interface is important, to get the community to understand what is powering all of this. Yes, we have the names and the utility, but all that came from somewhere and it is fascinating to kind of explore that.
9396 you have your hand up, that will be the last question before we end the space, go ahead.
9396: I want to drop an elephant in this room because, in my opinion, the coexistence of nations and central banks is impossible if they allow the self-custody of not only wallets but our funds, and our NFTs, I don’t see any way that this current model of the US or EU, the whole world if they would allow us to self custody our money, this model that exists right now is based on fixation and monopoly of violence and extracting your money and funds through applying this violence on the society, as a politician maybe you see a model that citizens can generally self custody their own money and wallets, which means a totally new system from the roots, what is your opinion, January, on this?
January: I think there will be a new system that is coming up it, and it is being put in places that we see. This is a transformation, and it is good. There are good things that are going to come out from humans advancing technologically, and the biggest thing is we need to make sure that we are having the right people in place to put the right legislation in place to create this framework that fosters trust and protects the people. I think that you are a 100% right with what you were saying that we are going to see a change.
9396: I think this is the collapse of the system, how do you see this system right now with the central banks coexisting with us having our own money?
January: I see the ability to coexist between the two groups, and I will leave it at this. Factualism is not helpful to humans, and we factualize everything, politics, crypto, groups, and cultures, but at the end of the day we are all in this together and we can live together and not have to hate each other, for example, you mentioned the central bank, just because we have that it does not mean that it has to topple crypto and vice-versa.
Gary’s twitter: https://twitter.com/garypalmerjr?s=20&t=UZt0nEaGmoE3ceTVL10Pkw