NamesCon 2016 Keynote: Elliot Noss and the Future of the Internet

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Elliot Noss delivers a keynote speech at NamesCon 2016

Elliot Noss, President and CEO of Tucows Inc., said, “I’m sorry if this is a little heavy for just after lunch.” In his NamesCon 2016 keynote, Noss discussed the seismic shifts in technology that will potentially change how we experience the Internet as users and businesspeople.

The Winds of Change

“Today we take for granted the fact that it is simple for a web-hosting company or a small business of any kind to sell domain names,” said Noss, and that that change was not appreciated.

“We are living inside of fundamental change that took place with the introduction of new gTLDs,” said Noss, saying how fascinating it’s been to watch how so many haters of the new gTLDs have become innovators in the space. Noss said that Fox’s embracing of its new name “blew me away”.

Noss said that the blockchain, most popularly characterized by Bitcoin (and Dogecoin!), is another fundamental shift in the landscape: “fundamentally decentralized authentication and verification will bring much more change than people are thinking [they will].”

Similarly, the domain-name world is potentially the next space where you can see change that is underappreciated. “ICANN was under threat of control by governments,” said Noss. Nation-states are “attempting to exert more and more control… over the centralized pieces of Internet infrastructure.” Almost every country has made overt moves to control the Internet of its citizens, usually under the auspices of “heightened security.”

It’s an existential threat to the Internet as we understand it, but blockchain technology allows for the fundamental elements of internet functionality to untether themselves from any one nation’s soil: “If nation states tried too hard to control it, the Internet would get up and walk away.”

NamesCon in Full Swing

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