The $ENS token must be delegated to an Ethereum address in order to vote on governance proposals
To use the $ENS token to submit and vote on proposals, $ENS tokens must be delegated to an Ethereum address.
Tokens can be self-delegated or delegated to another address. Delegation can be changed at any time.
Once tokens are delegated, the delegation will persist until it is changed or the tokens are sold or moved to a different address.
Delegations cannot be split – once delegated, all tokens in a single wallet are delegated to a single address.
Only self-custodied $ENS tokens can be delegated — tokens kept on centralized exchanges cannot be delegated.
$ENS tokens can be delegated using these websites:
What is a Delegate?
A delegate is anyone who controls an Ethereum address that has been delegated $ENS tokens.
Delegates may choose to publicly announce their intention to participate in ENS DAO governance by commenting in the ENS DAO Governance forum and setting the eth.ens.delegate text record on their ENS name in the ENS Manager app. This is entirely optional and is not required to be a delegate.
Delegate statements are pulled from the eth.ens.delegate text record, which is linked to the statement made on the governance forum. Delegate statements are pulled by delegation platforms to give $ENS tokenholders more information when making a decision to delegate/re-delegate $ENS.
Why is delegation important?
The $ENS token is a governance token. Delegation ensures that $ENS tokenholders who do not wish to actively participate in governance themselves, can delegate to others who do.
Through delegation, it is possible for someone to own no $ENS tokens, but control a significant number of tokens for voting purposes. This removes a major economic hurdle for participants who are able to campaign to receive delegated $ENS in lieu of having to acquire $ENS themselves.
The number of delegated tokens will naturally decline over time as tokenholders sell tokens, move tokens between addresses, and move tokens onto centralized exchanges.
Delegation also boosts the overall number of tokens being used in votes as those who hold $ENS but don’t have the capacity or interest to participate in governance are able to delegate their voting power to an active Delegate.
The Meta-Governance Working Group is charged with boosting delegation numbers and making re-delegation as simple as possible. In 2021, the Meta-Governance Working Group led an initiative to improve the delegation experience, including gasless re-delegation on delegate.ens.domains. The total amount of fees saved by delegators was 2.1 ETH. The initiative was restarted on November 8, 2022. Any wallet delegating 50 or more $ENS is able to delegate/re-delegate once for free.
What makes a good delegate?
When selecting a delegate, $ENS tokenholders may choose to consider:
- will the delegate vote how I would vote?
- does the delegate participate in most or all of the votes?
- does the delegate have area expertise that may be beneficial for ENS?
- does the delegate actively participate in working groups?
- will the delegate engage in conversation with me about topics of governance?