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Why Is It So Hard to Run a Bitcoin Exchange?

One of the chronic features of the Bitcoin landscape is that Bitcoin exchanges screw up and fail, starting with Mt. Gox. There's nothing conceptually very hard about running an exchange, so what's the problem? The first problem is that Bitcoin and other blockchains are by design completely unforgiving. If there is a bug in your software which lets people steal coins, too bad, nothing to be done. more

Businesses and Intellectual Property Owners Discuss GDPR and WHOIS Issues With ICANN and Community

On January 24, 2018, ICANN's Business Constituency (BC) and Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) co-hosted an event to discuss the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its implications on access to the WHOIS database. ICANN's CEO and General Counsel joined the discussion, as did stakeholders from across the ICANN community. The event was timely and well attended with over 200 participants attending in-person or virtually. more

What Do Bitcoin, Cloud Computing and the New gTLDs All Have in Common?

I am a student of life, learning one hard lesson at a time. In fact, I actually dropped out of my last year of college to start a tech company in a new space called the internet. I was an entrepreneur running an online service prior to the advent of the world wide web in 1992, back when Pine, Usenet, and Gopher ruled the information superhighway. Over the last 25 years, I have learned a great deal about technology adoption cycles by launching six internet companies, each at the forefront of a new technology wave. more

Extraterritoriality

Black's Law Dictionary defines it as "the extraterritorial operation of laws; that is, their operation upon persons, rights or jural relations, existing beyond the limits of the enacting state, but still amenable to its laws. The term is used to indicate jurisdiction exercised by a nation in other countries, by treaty..." Extraterritoriality is also the most significant emerging development today in the law shaping virtual network architectures and services that includes OTT and NFV-SDN. more

IPv6 Deployment Around the World: A New Digital Divide?

Alain Durand, Principal Technologist at ICANN, visited Georgia Institute of Technology last week for a talk on the global adoption of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). The Internet Governance Project organized the talk in cooperation with Atlanta's Technology Development Center (ATDC) and the Institute for Information Security and Privacy. Durand, who was involved in the IPv6 standardization efforts at IETF back in the early to mid-1990s, offered a clear eyed assessment of the protocol's critical flaw... more

The Rise of a Secondary Market for Domain Names (Part 1/4): A Tale of Competing Interests

The Trademark Act of 1946 defines trademarks and service marks to include "any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof." Marks composed of lexical and numeric elements (as opposed to images) also can be described as strings of characters. Before the Internet there was no commercial use of such strings other than as marks, but the functionality of the Internet depends on strings of lexical and numeric characters in the form of domain names that serve as electronic addresses. more

Trademarks vs Domain Names: Dictionary Words, Common, Combinations, and Arbitrary Letters

The typical daily accounting of decisions filed in disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) may include an award or two dismissing complaints (three is particularly noteworthy: weddingfleamarket.com, dme.com, and scheduleflow.com from the Forum for January 20, 2018), but overwhelmingly complaints are granted not dismissed. Let us imagine a trademark or service mark that is neither a dictionary word nor composed of common combinations, would anyone be surprised when the Panel rules in Complainant's favor? more

A Look Back at the World of IP Addressing in 2017: What Changed and What to Expect

There is no doubt that the Internet continues to grow. While the sales volumes of the more traditional forms of personal computers has peaked at some 430 million units per year and sales of handheld smart devices has also peaked at some 1.9 billion units per year, the world of the Internet of Things continues to spiral upward. The installed base of these "things" is now at an astonishing 8.4 billion at the end of 2017. more

The Rise of a Secondary Market for Domain Names (Part 4/4): Facilitating the Secondary Market

The defining of rights in the UDRP process is precisely what WIPO and ICANN contemplated, but it is unlikely they foresaw the destination of the jurisprudence. Since its inception, UDRP Panels have adjudicated over 75,000 disputes, some involving multiple domain names. (These numbers, incidentally, are a tiny fraction of the number of registered domain names in legacy and new top-level domains, which exceeded 320 million in the first quarter 2017). more

ICANN Maps Whois Models for GDPR

Earlier today ICANN held a webinar to provide an update on their data privacy activities in relation to whois and GDPR. Rather than simply talking about the various "models" they produced both a visual mapping as well as a matrix. While some attendees may not agree with how all the models are classified it is still a helpful way of showing the deviations from the current fully public whois model for gTLD domain name registrations. more

The Rise of a Secondary Market for Domain Names (Part 3/4): Domain Names as Virtual Real Estate

The way the Internet operates drove a wedge between strings of lexical and numeric characters used as marks and alphanumeric strings used as addresses. Domain names were described by Steve Forbes in a 2007 press release as virtual real estate. It is, he said, analogous to the market in real property: "Internet traffic and domains are the prime real estate of the 21st century." more

The Future of .COM Pricing

When you've been around the domain industry for as long as I have, you start to lose track of time. I was reminded late last year that the 6-year agreement Verisign struck with ICANN in 2012 to operate .com will be up for expiration in November of this year. Now, I don't for a second believe that .com will be operated by any other party, as Verisign's contract does give them the presumptive right of renewal. But what will be interesting to watch is what happens to Verisign's ability to increase the wholesale cost of .com names. more

How Do You Turn a Typesetting Language Into an Identifier System? (Not Easily)

Unicode's goal, which it meets quite well, is that whatever text you want to represent in whatever language, dead or alive, Unicode can represent the characters or symbols it uses. Any computer with a set of Unicode typefaces and suitable layout software can display that text. In effect, Unicode is primarily a typesetting language. Over in the domain name system, we also use Unicode to represent non-ASCII identifiers. That turns out to be a problem because an identifier needs a unique form, something that doesn't matter for typesetting. more

From Crisis to Resilience - the Path to Sustainable Communications Infrastructure in the Caribbean

The Caribbean suffered six major storms in 2017, including the record-breaking Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria. In the unprecedented destruction, the islands of Dominica and Barbuda lost all communication and telecommunications service, and eight other Caribbean countries were severely disrupted. Each hurricane season wreaks greater devastation than the last, yet decreased telecommunications competition, inadequate regulation, and high national debt burdens in the region yield ever-diminishing infrastructural investment. more

The Rise of a Secondary Market for Domain Names (Part 2/4): Origins of the Competition

Before the Internet, the sole competition for strings of characters employable as marks was other businesses vying to use the same strings for their own products and services. National registries solved this competition by allowing businesses in different channels of commerce to register the same strings but prohibiting competitors in the same industries from using identical or confusingly similar marks on the grounds that they were likely (at best) to create confusion and (at worst) to deceive the public. more

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