Where tech aligns

RETURN Podcast, EP01: Decentralized Culture Wars

In the inaugural podcast for RETURN, Editor Jon Stokes sat down with Brantly Millegan to discuss faith, getting canceled, and the history and future of the Ethereum Name Service.

There’s no appeasing the mob. Brantly Millegan discovered this after getting ousted from his role as director of operations for True Names Limited, the non-profit entity developing the protocol for the Ethereum Name Service (ENS), in February of 2022. After a separate, contentious vote, he remained on as one of the three directors of the ENS Foundation. 

For those who don’t know, ENS is a protocol to create decentralized internet addresses. In the same way, the Domain Name System (DNS) translates the IP address into a website name, ENS provides the same service for crypto addresses. Previously sharing your Ethereum address required knowing a long string of numbers tied to an account; by utilizing ENS, a simple name could link to a specific crypto account. This significantly lowered the barrier to entry and marketability for the entire Web3 ecosystem. 

In this episode, Millegan explains the fascinating history of ENS, his early involvement, and how vital decentralization is for the future of the internet. For the first time, he tells his side of the story and gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the machinations of his removal. 

It’s worth remembering he was canceled in 2022 for a Tweet from 2016 in which he expressed a pretty standard religious opinion regarding the definitions of marriage and gender. Even if you disagree with the Tweet, the majority of religious Christians, Muslims, and Jews around the world share those beliefs. Millegan is a devout Catholic, living with his wife and seven children in South Carolina. He explains why his faith is essential to who he is and why he would not apologize for his religious convictions.  

His cancellation calls into question some of the 1st principles of the entire decentralization movement and crypto institutions. If woke mobs can just take over Web3 and start imposing their will, what exactly is the point of these alternatives? Millegan’s answer to this is enlightening and helps to explain the power and limitations of a newly emerging version of the internet. 

The RETURN podcast is excited to interview some of the smartest, most controversial, and most interesting people from tech and culture in the coming year. We’ll explore what it means to remain human in the digital age. We’re currently in the approval process with Apple and Spotify; in the meantime, please subscribe to our Youtube channel. If you have guest suggestions, please contact our editors at [email protected].

In this episode:

Lots more where that came from.