Someone sent Mark Cuban a profane Ethereum Name Service Domain a few days ago. After attentive Twitter users recently tracked down his airborne address, it was only a matter of time before a wave of unwanted spam transactions got into his account. After all, this is the Internet. There are monsters here.
While it’s not entirely clear what the alleged troll’s endgame was, the word was nonetheless insulting enough to raise some eyebrows at Cointelegraph, and we don’t intend to reprint it here. Suffice it to say that a decent person wouldn’t want to be known as the owner of this domain even if they weren’t a prominent billionaire.
We reached out to Mark Cuban to first find out if he knew anything about his origins. Did he buy it himself? Was he even aware he owned it? And most importantly, what were his plans for the name in the future?
He has answered:
“Damn it. No, I don’t own [it]. I think anyone can give a domain an eth address. I don’t even know if it is possible to change this. Thanks for the warning.”
While Cubans have become increasingly involved in the blockchain space lately, he’s still a relative newcomer to certain aspects of the community. Therefore, his understanding of how Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains are acquired, controlled, and transferred was initially somewhat limited.
ENS gives users a decentralized way to use readable words for their blockchain address instead of a clumsy alphanumeric string. It is known that Vitalik Buterin is used for example vitalik.eth for its address instead of 0xd8dA6BF26964aF9D7eEd9e03E53415D37aA96045. Dead easy.
The difficulty with this service is that once you own an ENS domain, you can point it to any address on the Ethereum blockchain without needing permission from the address owner. This allows internet scammers to target objectionable domain names at unsuspecting users to create the impression that they are appropriating unsavory words and phrases of their choice.
The Cuban took up this inherent difficulty and remarked, “It is obvious that it was sent to me and I did not buy it.” He asked Cointelegraph, “Is it possible to cancel [the name] or reject the contract? “When digging deeper it became clear that the troll had made a mistake in the assessment. An ENS domain consists of three parts: the registrant, who is the owner, the controller, who manages the subdomains and to which the domain name refers, and the record indicating the actual address where coins are received when the domain is entered into a wallet.
Generally, when mischief makers point a domain to the address of an unsuspecting user, they just change the controller or record. They usually don’t give up complete control of the domain itself. This particular troll, whom Cubans amusingly referred to as “idiots”, had instead granted full registration rights to his address. This gave him full ownership and control of the domain.
With that in mind, and with technical help from Cointelegraph, the Cuban set out to defeat the foolish troll and get rid of the name once and for all. He changed the controller, the record, and finally the registrant so that they each belong to a burner address – i.e. H. An address whose private key has become invalid, either by design or by intent. In Mark’s case, this meant creating a new disposable bag yourself with the goal of making it inaccessible after completing his mission. When asked about his schedule for disposing of the wallet keys, he quipped:
“Which keys? They’re gone.”
As a result, the domain now effectively no longer has an owner. And so it stays (at least until the registration expires.)
When asked how similar ownership structures should be handled in the future, Cuban took the view that the ultimate responsibility for such violations rests with the developers of decentralized applications:
“This is a problem that ENS needs to fix. A transfer must be accepted. Otherwise the abuse will be really, really bad. This is a weakness in the system that needs to be addressed. “
Mark Cuban has been working to mature his stature within the blockchain community over the past few months. Yesterday, he attended an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit and took the opportunity to discuss the future of distributed technology and traditional finance. In January, he made headlines by comparing Crypto’s current trajectory to the dotcom bubble – an era that paved the way for some of its early successes in the late 90s.