Jackson Dame, once a conservative Christian, cancelled Brantly Millegan to secure the bag
Dame became a web3 morality cop and affinity scammer after not making enough money as a Christian blogger
“This is a stick-up!”
ENS Foundation Director Brantly Millegan was fired for a six year old tweet expressing his constitutionally protected Catholic religious views.
Why does that matter? Isn’t this all just silly internet drama?
This whole web3 thing was meant to be decentralized, and it may still end up that way, but as the Brantly fiasco shows, institutions that are still only partly decentralized are still partly susceptible to the mob. You can get up to speed on ENS here, but as of this post Brantly Millegan remains fired for his Christian views. And who got him fired? Well, as we’ll see the canceler-in-chief, one Jackson Dame, aka @damedoteth, aka dame.eth was once himself a fundamentalist Christian saying the same things as Brantly!
Jackson Dame’s sudden conversion to wokeness appears to be part of a classic affinity scam. The SEC defines this play on Investor.gov as targeting:
…members of identifiable groups, such as the elderly, or religious or ethnic communities. The fraudsters involved in affinity scams often are – or pretend to be – members of the group. They may enlist respected leaders from the group to spread the word about the scheme, convincing them it is legitimate and worthwhile…These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exists in groups of people.
Why would a devout Christian conservative become a web3 woke almost overnight? A clue lies in Dame’s old Kickstarter, which didn’t go particularly well:
As you can see, in his former life as a conservative Christian, Jackson raised all of five-hundred and eight dollars for the cause of creativity through Christ.
Things have gone better in his reincarnation as a web3 woke. He made a million dollars pumping & dumping NFTs, and gained a following by cancelling people:
Is it that simple? Could it really just be someone moving onto a new way to grift with a new set of moral causes? I think it could be. Recall Investor.gov:
The fraudsters involved in affinity scams often are – or pretend to be – members of the group.
It is that simple. Let’s take a look at how the old Jackson did things and compare.
Jackson Dame, Christian Conservative
As mob ringleader, Dame was pushing hard for Brantly’s firing.
But Dame actually “loved to preach about” the same stuff. Jackson Dame wrote for years as an evangelical Christian at twitter.com/jacksondame, on his blog at jacksondame.com, on his group blog with his wife at dameology.com, at the now-defunct Bedlam Magazine, and at the Gospel Blog.
These works often reveal a much more forgiving, merciful side of Dame, one that has apparently vanished, like in this amazing piece:
Notice how ecumenical and compassionate and broad-minded Dame once was:
I have come to realize that Christians can believe different things and yet still be a unified body. Christians can be from different denominations and still work and live in harmony…Is it okay to drink alcohol? Should we support the ban on same-sex marriage? Or worse, is it okay to kiss out-of-wedlock? We argue about these things so much that it causes walls of animosity to be built up around our infant hearts. All the while, we are forgetting that we are waging a war against our own body.
(the italicized emphasis was there in the original)
Here’s Dame approvingly publishing a post by a “celibate, bisexual” friend who explains that he is remaining celibate because “same-sex desires are sinful”:
Paul describes his battle against a sinful nature. That reference would explain why my same sex attractions (as part of a broken, sinful nature) might not be completely vanquished in this life…Quite a few people did not read my posts holistically. If they had, there would have been no question of my theological stance that same sex relationships are sinful…publicly expressing your sexuality is not always the best choice.
Dame’s then-fiance applauded this post as a confession of sin:
I really appreciate…Christians who do struggle with same-sex desires are speaking out. Pretty much all of us struggle with some sexual sin
Dame often linked to such statements expressing the still-common Christian view on homosexuality of “love the sinner, hate the sin”:
I am not saying it is okay to act on these desires, but temptations are there for all of us– and it is our decision whether or not to act on them. That does not mean those temptations disappear or are no longer tempting…They expressed the need for believers to surround our gay community with love, and then to confront the sin.
He condemned not just porn, but TV-content review sites for being too tempting.
I have a weakness when it comes to sexual content. Because of this, I have some fairly high standards for media consumption to help protect me. I try not to watch movies or TV shows that contain a lot of nudity or sex. I almost always do research before I watch something. I even have to be careful reading content reviews from PluggedIn.com because my imagination sometimes can be just as vivid as the silver screen. This means that I’m incapable of participating with “the guys” when the latest episode of Game of Thrones is being talked about.
HBO is actually degenerate and I think contemporary audiences giving Euphoria rave reviews should look more closely into why Hollywood makes this kind of stuff, but in the 2010s, Dame was unable to watch Game of Thrones without losing control. Just between us girls, I don’t think this is totally normal. Not to say Game of Thrones was any good narratively (the source material was bad, too, and Tolkien really is just miles above George R.R. Martin) and I do think HBO conceals poor writing by adding gratuitous nudity. But, c’mon, this is like a liberal’s caricature of a Christian conservative.
Next, let’s take a look at how Jackson shakes people down for a cause today.
Jackson Dame, Woke Capitalist
Twitter is an outrage machine, so it’s not always so easy to differentiate the true-believers from the opportunists, but we can observe the difference between an impulsive rioter and a practiced bank robber. One point of professionalism in Dame’s calculated attack was how he chose to speak to the leadership vs. the crowd.
Notice that while he makes moral appeals to Nick Johnson, the lead ENS developer…
…he makes financial appeals to the crowd, to redistribute ENS’ money and power to his friends!
$MIGUEL Piedrafita @m1guelpf✨ Made a lil website where you can see who you're currently delegating your $ENS to. Delegates hold power over the @ensdomains DAO, and we should make sure we're elevating people who represent the things we stand for. https://t.co/V8ebC3wzNN
alisha.eth @futurealisha3/ the community has an opportunity to demonstrate that ENS is more than the opinions of one person—that the values of web3 are reflected in those that hold power and influence in the space re-delegate your $ENS: https://t.co/3tF2IXioNe make a proposal: https://t.co/q6d0D87YOo
Some questions immediately arise. How much more money and formal power did Dame and collaborators like rainbowwallet.eth and alisha.eth acquire in the chaos of Brantly’s firing? And how much more informal power do Dame et al. now have over ENS?
These questions matter because these are not small sums of money. For context, the ENS DAO Community Treasury holds 50 million ENS tokens.
At $20 per token that is a billion dollars.
How will the treasury be used? That’s up to the people who are trying to eliminate Brantly.eth as a delegator—with control of it, or sufficient collaboration with other interested parties, they can do whatever they want. Perhaps it’ll go to some nice DEI initiatives, which, of course, will have to be very, very well paid.
A Governance Attack By Another Name
So what happened? To be blunt, it appears the entire ENS community just got tricked into abruptly firing one of their top contributors and giving significant control over a massive sum of money to an affinity scammer and his friends.
Dame only appeared on the ENS scene a year ago. He’s not technical. He didn’t make anywhere near the contribution that Brantly did. But via ruthless social engineering, he now has greater de facto influence over ENS than the sincere and straightforward Brantly Millegan.
And social engineering it was. Ironically, just before all of this went down, Nick Johnson tweeted about the possibility of governance attacks:
John Wang @j0hnwangAave already got governance-attacked by Tron, with the recent proposal to deploy on BitTorrent PASSED. Forum post with 3 replies passed with 109k out of 110k AAVE in votes coming in last minute from A SINGLE ADDRESS funded by Poloniex. h/t @nathereum https://t.co/cwZo7D9zfP
But it looks like naive Nick got completely rolled here. Scammed. Conned. Taken for a ride. What just happened to ENS is at the level of a SIM swap or key compromise, but in broad daylight. They got hacked.
Treat Mobs as Hacks
How can we prevent social media mobs from turning into de facto social engineering hacks of protocols?
First, be aware that all may not be as it seems. Any emotional appeal to hand over the keys to your billion dollar DAO treasury should be treated with suspicion no matter what quarter it comes from, lest you end up used and abused like poor Nick Johnson and the ENS community. This goes doubly so if these claims come from a social media mob.
Second, insert cool-down clauses in contracts, to protect worker and company alike by giving 90 days to evaluate whether a passing social media storm is substantive or a flash in the pan. If it’s real, it’ll still be real in 90 days.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Finally, set aside your personal feelings about LGBTQI+ issues for a second.
If you're in web3, who was honest in this whole episode and who was dishonest?
Brantly Millegan has his beliefs. He was honest and didn’t dissemble about them. Jackson Dame on the other hand not only concealed his espousal of very similar religious sentiments but also abandoned his shtick of open-mindedness and mercy in order to persecute Brantly and secure the bag.
Moreover, Dame tried to further cover up his tracks by encouraging others to delete tweets to avoid “harassment” of the exact kind he directed at Brantly. Nothing wrong with deleting tweets in general of course (yours truly is often compelled to delete absolute bangers), but it’s clear that Dame’s motivation here was to provide a justification for lying about his past.
What have we learned from all of this?
No doubt Dame will make excuses about how he was raised by ignorant fundamentalists, but now he's seen the light and is a born-again woke.
But as an ENS holder, you must ask, is this genuine? Or is it yet another metamorphosis, something Dame is just lying about again to keep his newfound wealth and following? And will he flip on you tomorrow, mess with ENS, or otherwise betray you if he can make a little more money that way?
In short, who would you rather entrust with your ENS vote — or your Rainbow Wallet funds — a guy like Brantly who is what he says he is, or a character like Dame who has one finger to the wind and another hand in your pocket?
I leave you with this: