Behind the Code EP5 Part 2: Alephium Name Service, 'but which one tho'?

Behind the Code EP5 Part 2: Alephium Name Service, 'but which one tho'?


5 min read

This is the second part of the series. To refresh everyone on the story, this is about a debacle on three main issues. One, a dispute over project naming. Both were named ANS or Alephium Name Service. Two, potential user confusion. Three, differing views on how a naming service should be implemented and managed within the Alephium ecosystem. To those who haven't seen the first episode, you can read it here. Today, we reached out to Splinter, the core developer of the first NFT Marketplace in Alephium. He is also the developer of the first-ever Orderbook DEX in the ecosystem, CandySwap, which has completed an audit. We will hear his perspective on his latest work, the Alephium Naming Service (ANS) project that he recently launched on the test net. Both dApps are set to launch very soon. Here's the interview:

Thank you for taking this interview, Splinter. Let's start by understanding your vision. What inspired you to create the Alephium Naming Service, and what value do you believe it brings to the community?

We have been discussing potential implementations of the ANS protocol for a few months now so when the discussion came up in the #lounge. I felt it was time to act. A name service is a unique project within a blockchain because if done right, it will be a core protocol that every application developer will have to adopt.

There has been some controversy around the naming and timing of your project. Can you share your perspective on these issues and clarify any misconceptions?

We saw that another team had begun working on a name service. However there were key features that they were missing: the code should be open source so it can be verified and scrutinised from the start. The project has no running costs and should not generate revenue for a central team. Names should be NFTs, which takes full advantage of Alephium's sharding and makes them tradable on all NFT marketplaces.

About the naming of the project, this is derived from the Ethereum Name Service, which has become the standard naming convention for all blockchain. As we desire to become the open standard on Alephium, we feel it is important to use the same naming convention.

Ultimately this protocol is for developers, it has no use on its own without being integrated into 3rd party applications. The name service is used to provide labelling of human readable addresses and to send tokens to human readable names.

Community feedback is crucial in any open-source project. How have you engaged with the community throughout the development of ANS, and what steps have you taken to address their concerns?

Since the Name Service’s initial proposal, we invited every developer of the community into the a public channel on the Alephium discord to agree on a solution in a completely open and transparent way. Once the first implementation was agreed upon, I took action and developed the solution you see today.

Can you highlight any outstanding features or innovations in ANS that you believe will particularly benefit Alephium users?

One stand out feature is the problem of assigning a higher cost to popular names without sending that money to a central team like we see on so many other chains. We have created a circular economy where people who mint longer names are rewarded with a token called ANS. People who want to mint shorter names will have to buy that ANS from them. In this way value is transferred between real users and short names are balanced with the real adoption of the protocol. You can find more information in ourdocs.

Many people have suggested collaboration instead of competition. Have you reached out to the team behind the other naming service, and is there potential for a collaborative effort to strengthen the Alephium ecosystem?

We did reach out to the other protocol before we started development, and again after we finished development. “Hey, ‪If you wanted to work along side this project you could provide the web 2 link part of the project with a separate token.‬"

This could be an isolated project to connect a Name NFT to a web 2 domain.‬ I feel this would justify revenue to maintain.

‪You could rename to Alephium Domain Service (ADS).

Basically they could provide an addition to the protocol which is a centralized and traditional domain name linking service, something we feel isn’t necessary for the core but could be its own thing.

Finally, what message would you like to convey to the Alephium community about your commitment to the ecosystem and the role ANS plays in its growth?

We have developed a solution with backing from every major project in the ecosystem, even if some are hesitant to support it publicly. Its is completely open source and doesn’t provide any revenue, you can suggest any changes you like before we go live, all the code is there for you to review. If you want to see Alephium to thrive, this is the way to go.

Thank you for accepting this interview, Splinter.

To our readers, we encourage you to explore his latest creations and follow his work.

Thanks for joining and I'll see you on the third part of the series.

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