We have been evangelizing ENS Names, and encouraging everyone to buy their fullname/lastname.eth domain as their first asset in ethereum blockchain.
However, we stumbled upon this problem, which is very unfair!
There is a shark who snipes every time someone starts an auction for their Last Name.
(If you are not familiar with how ENS Names are bought, read this first: https://medium.com/the-ethereum-name-service/a-beginners-guide-to-buying-an-ens-domain-3ccac2bdc770 or this https://email@example.com/ens-name-buying-simplified-8a69888e0ba9)
A typical user tends to start bidding at the lowest, 0.01 ETH. The premise is that if their name is not taken yet, chances are no one will be interested to compete with them in the next 3 days. Besides everyone thinks their names are unique and rare, its much harder to guess from a hash at the first place.
Some users are paranoid, they don’t want to lose their name at any cost, they start at anywhere between 0.2 — 0.5 ETH level, for a ethereum novice, a $400+ bid for their last name is a huge investment.
But there is this one person who has a large database of all last names, a large wallet and a script. Anytime an auction is started for a lastname, he jumps in and places a magical bid for 0.778 ETH. He wins all the time. The worst part is, he gets a free pass: He pays the second highest bid, which is almost always 0.01, doesn’t lose 5%, pays the lowest gas since he uses a script and can time it better, and always wins the name. On the other hand, the earnest newbie gets the raw deal, is penalized with 5% burn and loses the gas money as well. This is so unfair at several levels.
Here is the offender: https://etherscan.io/txs?a=0xa7f3659c53820346176f7e0e350780df304db179
I am not privileged to reveal the last names we bid and lost (confidential client information), but every time we started a bid for a last name, this account jumped in and took it away from us.
This is detrimental to ethereum / ENS in few ways:
- Real people can’t get their last names, no warnings either
- The sniper gets away, and even rewarded with the win
The only recommendation we could give now is for anyone to not to bid on their own last name, unless they are willing to spare $1000 USD locked away for ever. Not everyone is rich enough to pay that price for an ENS name, when they could get their DNS domain name for $10 a pop.
We can break this wall if can gather enough support!
Here is the plan:
- If you have some ethers to spare, and want to help the community, Go start an auction for a last name (a name that you don’t really need. Just pick a random American / European last name) for 0.7 ETH
- You will be outbid, you will lose 0.035 ETH + change. However, you have now made the shark to lock .7 ETH in a useless name. (If he/she doesn’t bid, you will only end up spending 0.01 ETH + change, and you can return it after a year)
- If enough people get on board, and we do this fight long enough and fast enough, we can create serious damage, the sniper will hopefully back off, or at-least end up with a lot of ethers locked up. That account has about 100 ethers now, the goal should be to exhaust it and see if she reloads.
- Other outcome could be that he/she is a reasonable person, reads this post, terminates his script for the greater good of the ecosystem, and comes out clean.
Let me know what you think. If you are causing damage, do post the txn links as comments to this article, we do want to see those.
I’m crypto-poor don’t have a lot of ETH to invest myself, but reach out to me if you need help with any of the ENS name buying steps, happy to help
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