[ccwg-internet-governance] [Ext] Re: Proposal to be discussed on Thursday Aug 29 in the ITU SG-17

Laurent Ferrali laurent.ferrali at icann.org
Tue Sep 3 13:48:06 UTC 2019

Dear Marylin,

Thank you very much for your message and this kind introduction, and sorry for this late answer.

Please find below some background fact based information (from a political/governance perspective). This is for your information and doesn’t reflect ICANN’s position on this issue.

  *   Several blockchain industry key players are using alternative domain names for their blockchain operations. Domain names currently in use by the Blockchain industry:
     *   Namecoin is using .bit
     *   EMercoin is using .coin
     *   Ethereum is using .eth
  *   But the interoperability between blockchain platforms and networks remains limited, impeding the development of the technology on a wide scale (Existing interoperability solutions, such as COSMOS, only have a local scope and cannot be used outside the relay chain network)
  *   In November 2018, Alibaba filed a PCT (international) patent application for a "unified domain name" and management scheme for cross-chain interactions, which is now being fast-tracked in various jurisdictions. This system is intended to be used as a unified means of managing domain names in cross-chain interactions across blockchain systems.
  *   According to the filing, Alibaba intends to patent a system that uses what they call a “unified blockchain domain name” (UBCDN) in order to denote and share information. In the system, Alibaba proposes to use a computing system to generate a UBCDN message which contains a blockchain domain name and a chain identifier that is paired with that name. This UBCDN system is intended to be used as a unified means of managing domain names in cross-chain interactions across blockchain systems. See the PCT patent application in Attachment, and the following press article https://cointelegraph.com/news/alibaba-files-us-patent-for-blockchain-domain-name-management-system
  *   In the meantime, Alibaba has been selected by the Central Bank of China as one of the operators for the new China’s state-backed cryptocurrency<https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2019/08/27/alibaba-tencent-five-others-to-recieve-first-chinese-government-cryptocurrency/#59c7e6161a51>
  *   Such a system would mirror, for blockchain, the domain name system of the Internet.
  *   Putting in place such a system is not only desirable, it is needed for blockchain to have a transformative impact on a global scale. A we know, the Internet would not have had the impact it has had if the management of domain names had been "privatized" and the main protocols patented
  *   So for some experts, these latest developments make the need for blockchain-focused multi-stakeholder governance structures more urgent than ever.

Kind regards,

From: Marilyn Cade <marilynscade at hotmail.com>
Date: Friday, August 30, 2019 at 2:39 PM
To: Laurent Ferrali <laurent.ferrali at icann.org>
Cc: Jim Prendergast <jim at galwaysg.com>, Nigel Hickson <nigel.hickson at icann.org>, ccwg <ccwg-internet-governance at icann.org>
Subject: [Ext] Re: [ccwg-internet-governance] Proposal to be discussed on Thursday Aug 29 in the ITU SG-17

Laurent, thanks for this information.

For those who don't know him well, in my view, Laurent is a serious technical expert at ICANN we can ask for more information.

I wondered, Laurent, if you might give us a few paragraphs about what managing blockchain domain names means?

I confess, I was either confused, or bemused.

but expect we need to understand!

From: Laurent Ferrali <laurent.ferrali at icann.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2019 9:10 AM
To: Marilyn Cade <marilynscade at hotmail.com>
Cc: Jim Prendergast <jim at galwaysg.com>; Nigel Hickson <nigel.hickson at icann.org>; ccwg <ccwg-internet-governance at icann.org>
Subject: Re: [ccwg-internet-governance] Proposal to be discussed on Thursday Aug 29 in the ITU SG-17


I just want to flag that in the meantime Alibaba has recently filed several patent applications about managing blockchain domain names , with the EUPIO (Europe), United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and with IP office of Singapore.


Envoyé de mon iPhone

Le 29 août 2019 à 12:46, Marilyn Cade <marilynscade at hotmail.com<mailto:marilynscade at hotmail.com>> a écrit :
I think this is indeed of concern, Jim. Thanks for forwarding it to the group.
I believe that ICANN participants in SG-17, but I am not sure if the RIRs /Root Server Operators are presently involved.

Notice how limited the author list is.

From: ccwg-internet-governance <ccwg-internet-governance-bounces at icann.org<mailto:ccwg-internet-governance-bounces at icann.org>> on behalf of Jim Prendergast <jim at GALWAYSG.COM<mailto:jim at GALWAYSG.COM>>
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 11:46 AM
To: Nigel Hickson <nigel.hickson at icann.org<mailto:nigel.hickson at icann.org>>; ccwg <ccwg-internet-governance at icann.org<mailto:ccwg-internet-governance at icann.org>>
Subject: [ccwg-internet-governance] Proposal to be discussed on Thursday Aug 29 in the ITU SG-17

Nigel and all – has ICANN or anyone else been tracking the attached proposal?

It was just sent to me and admittedly it’s a bit beyond my area of expertise but some of the language concerns me.  Am I over thinking it?


Jim Prendergast

The Galway Strategy Group

+1 202 285 3699


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