The downside of simplifying blockchain addresses with ENS

Today, Udi Wertheimer pointed out that the Founder of Etherum, Vitalik Buterin sent 90,000 Eth to his ENS address which is not anonymous and public for the world to see. Granted, Wertheimer is a “Bitcoiner” who is often critical of Ethereum, he makes an objectively good point.

“If he can make this mistake, anyone can. It’s time for ETH leaders to stop shilling this dangerous habit, and remove it from their twitter handles” – @udiWertheimer

ENS is short for Ethereum Name Service, a project lets users create their own legible ether address that can be used by Ethereum smart wallets. This is helpful because instead of telling people to send money to a random 26 characters that are easy to mess up, they can just send it to Vitalik.eth.

One of the benefits of transacting over blockchain networks is that the complicated addresses are helpful to maintaining anonymity and security. Ofcourse, once a huge organization has transacted a number of times, it becomes obvious who owns that address, but individuals are harder to identify.

Anonymity is not only a preference, it’s a good measure for security. Since people know that 90,000 ether was sent to Vitalik.eth, the address might become more of a target. Also, Vitalik might have not wanted people to know that he was moving around so much Eth and it could affect his reputation.

If there are more ways to privately send Ethereum in the future, having a naming service might not be detrimental, but for now it is a good way to dox yourself. At the same time, if you’re a content creator who relies on donations, the ease of use with ENS might be worth the risk of being doxxed, especially if you’re not a huge influencer. Recently a payment service, Wyre, adopted ENS to simplify payments for streamers.