Ethereum Name Service considers building out ‘identity layer’

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The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is exploring options to expand onto layer 2 networks, including potentially building its own dedicated layer, ENS Executive Director Khori Whittaker said.

In an interview, Whittaker said that ENS is undergoing internal discussions. ENS is considering leveraging an existing network to complement and build out its Ethereum layer 2 integrations. One prospect propped up in these discussions: making their own.

ENS considers making its in-house layer 2 network, designating it as an “identity layer.” Although there are no specifications on the proposal at the moment, Whittaker said that they will likely communicate the developments of the research efforts within the year once there are tangible outcomes.

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Whittaker says that most ENS developers’ discussions focus on pursuing development and integrations with the Optimism network. ENS developers are also considering implementing zero-knowledge proofs to protect user data better. 

According to Whittaker, ENS’ status as a protocol poses structural and awareness challenges. As an open standard, ENS relies on developers to integrate the domain name service.

“We are sort of dependent on builders and developers to build with ENS and then push it out there. There’s this awareness challenge we have to overcome, which we’re definitely working on — we just have to be able to get into more major institutions like we did with GoDaddy,” Whittaker shares.

ENS recently partnered with domain provider GoDaddy to provide free domain usage on ENS. This partnership helps address the awareness issues: users can now connect .eth blockchain names with traditional domains, making adoption easier to understand, even for mainstream users. 

“Crypto is still this weird space for much of the world, and all they hear about are these glimpses of scandals, token prices rising and falling,” Whittaker said.

“I would like to see a future where we don’t talk about Web2 versus Web3,” Whittaker adds, commenting on the confusing taxonomies behind current domain standards and technologies. Whittaker says he hopes to see a future where “[it’s] just the internet or it’s just on-chain and all these technologies — they fade into the background.”

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