[DAO: QmSA3mf] Allow the DAO to recover lost assets

by 0xfe91c0c482e09600f2d1dbca10fd705bc6de60bc


This proposal aims to standardize a process for the very exceptional case that a user requests Decentraland’s DAO to regain control of LAND and ESTATES owned by an account to which the original owner has lost access to.


  • Abandoned LAND: LAND that has not been used in any way since the terraform auction. Use includes deployments, transfers, marketplace listings (including unfulfilled), and the owner of the account signing into the marketplace.

  • Lost Assets: LAND and/or ESTATES held by an account where the associated private key has been lost. Does not include LAND or ESTATES transferred to an account through accident or theft, or LAND that has been abandoned.

  • Claimant: a user with claim to Lost Assets.


A user who has lost access to a private key and therefore to all LAND and ESTATES held by their account must have a way to present her case to the DAO in order to regain control of her Lost Assets. The DAO can not use this procedure to reclaim abandoned LAND. The DAO can only use this procedure to recover Lost Assets owned by a user who has lost their account’s private key.

The claimant needs to present evidence beyond reasonable doubt about the incident to prove herself the rightful owner of the lost account. The case will be published on the forum and will be reviewed by a Judicial Committee to ensure it complies with the requirements (see below).

If the case is approved by the committee, the claimant will be granted permission to deploy new content on the Lost Assets owned by the lost account but won’t be able to transfer the LAND and ESTATES for a period of time (12 months).

During that period of time, the lost account and the DAO will retain the power to revoke deployment permissions of the claimant. After that year the claimant will be able to transfer their assets freely.


Private keys will be lost and some users will fail in their efforts to protect their assets. In case of loss, if enough proof is presented to the DAO the rightful owner should regain access to her LAND and ESTATES tokens. See Ethen’s case as the first example.

Today it is technically possible to make a secure setup to overcome the loss of a key. For example by granting co-ownership to a second account or a multisig shared with friends.

However, given the current undeveloped state of the user experience for Ethereum, Web 3.0, and cryptocurrency in general with regards to advanced key management schemes, this kind of setup requires high technical knowledge from users.

This proposal aims to help those who fall into misfortune by providing a last hope, a journey to recover a lost account.


The ERC721 standard defines the concept of approvedForAll; ​​an owner-wide role that can transfer any ERC721 of the owner, and also set UpdateManager roles. See roles recap.

This proposal requires updating the LAND and ESTATE smart contracts to add a mechanism that allows the DAO to set the co-owner of a lost account.

The update will be a new method on the registry that allows the DAO to set the approvedForAll role to an arbitrary address.

The new co-owner will be a smart contract that will function as an escrow of the assets first giving the claimant permission to update land and estates and after twelve months the claimant will be able to transfer the assets.

During a period of twelve months, the lost address and the DAO will keep the power to revoke the contract, an action that will return the LANDs and ESTATEs to the original owner.

The proposed changes to the LAND and ESTATE Registry are here. The intermediary contract is still pending and an external audit is still required.

Application Requirements

To kick off this process the user needs to present her case publicly on the forum including all evidence possible. The case will be reviewed by the Judicial Committee.
Following a proposed guideline of requirements:

  • The “lost” address must have a minimum of six months of inactivity.
    • Specifically, no executed transactions by this wallet, either signing or sending txs.
    • If the claimant has received anything inadvertently, this is not an indication that they have access to this wallet (air drops, scam coins, etc. )
  • The user provides a description of how the key was lost.
  • Objective proof of ownership, some examples are:
    • Private messages signed with the “lost” key.
    • LAND description linking to claimant’s personal info.
  • Two witnesses testify on behalf of the user (over video).
    • Character witness: Familiar with claimant’s cripto-goins (friend, work colleague).
    • Expert witness: Developer or Community Member with technical experience.

Ultimately it will be the Judicial Committee’s decision to approve or reject the application. In case of doubt (by any member) the application will be rejected.

Judicial Committee

The three recommended committee members proposed alongside this new implementation are:

  • Carl Fravel - Technology Executive, Member of many DCL districts.
  • Peter Derrick - DCL “Bartertown” estate owner and long-time contributor.
  • Yemel Jardi - Software Engineer and early contributor to DCL.

It is suggested and proposed that these committee members remain active for an initial period of 6 months before opening a poll to replace or renew them.

Main Concerns

Can the DAO reclaim abandoned LAND?

No, this proposal does not address the issue of abandoned land, this is for future consideration.

Is this too much power to the DAO?

The process needs to be started by the claimant and the decision is made by the Judicial Committee. The DAO should not use this method for other cases without a formal community vote.

How can the DAO prevent fraud?

The address must be inactive for a period of six months and in case of approval, the claimant won’t be able to sell the land for a period of a year, giving time to the presumed “lost key” to appear and stop this process.


  • Form the Committee but don’t upgrade the contracts. Give the DAO a budget to buy land and return it to the claimant.

  • Upgrade the contracts but don’t form the Committee, just let the DAO to judge case by case.

  • Do nothing to help users that lost keys and handle the land as if were abandoned.


For: Upgrade Decentraland’s smart contracts to empower the DAO to regain control of LAND and ESTATES from a lost account.

Against: Do not upgrade Decentraland’s smart contracts to empower the DAO to regain control of LAND and ESTATES from a lost account.

Other: Revise the structure and terms of the proposal and publish a revised version.

  • For: Upgrade Decentraland’s smart contracts to empower the DAO to regain control of lost assets
  • Against: Do not upgrade Decentraland’s smart contracts to empower the DAO to regain control of lost assets
  • Other: Revise the structure and terms of the proposal.

Vote on this proposal on the Decentraland DAO

View this proposal on Snapshot

Hi community, this is Yemel from the DAO Committee.

I have been working on this proposal for a long time, trying to include the feedback of many members of this community. I asked for a review on a one-by-one basis and we finally got to the point it is ready for your broader review.

Special thanks to Ethen, Eric, Trevor, Nicholas Frontera, Santiago Esponda, Carl Fravel, Peter Derrick and everyone who put their thought and comments on it.

I know this is a controversial topic and it will set a precedent in the DAO. It may not be bullet-proof but I believe it’s worth trying. I hope this will help Ethen and many others who fell in the misfortune of losing access to their keys.

Thought I’d leave this here:

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This is an absolute disgrace and an attack on the integrity and validity of the NFTs possessed by land owners of Decentraland. We cannot allow the alteration of the land registry. The smart contract is doing its job and has not failed us. I can never support opening pandoras box like this.

Land owners be ware, you will no longer be allowed to hodl your land without checking in. Big brother needs you to a sign message, potentially invalidating your security procedures for long term seed storage. Otherwise, your land may be someone else’s claim.

Do not take this lightly. This is a door that can only be opened.

While I feel for those who lost access to their account, welcome to crypto. Here the blockchain is the law. The responsibilities of private key storage is something all users should have learned at the beginning of their crypto journey, long before they purchased any Non-Fungible Tokens representing digital land in a metaverse. The blockchain is the system we use to determine the ownership of the land assets. There is no room for human judgement/override/reallocation in such a system.

I’m down for the ping but 12 months is too short…
I want like a 36 months period to get your land back…
You lose, you wait…

Sounds to me like you were campaigning and gathering VP rather than discussing if this is actually wise for Decentraland asset holders. Special thanks to the folks who will be nominated to the committee while providing VP in exchange…

Morris, it looks like you are very angry about this.

I disagree, it has failed Ethen and other people that lost their wallet.

I don’t believe it is a good solution to say “fuck off” to users that felt into this misfortune. Ethen is a great example, he had plans for his land and hiring people to develop on it, creating value for DCL ecosystem.

I’m afraid this “welcome to cryto” attitude will lead us to lose good members of this community and prevent this project to reach a broader audience.

The immutability of a smart contract is very valuable for cryptocurrency, but I don’t believe is the same for LAND. The smart contract upgradability gives power to the DAO, the opportunity for this community to write our own rules, test different solutions, and learn from our decisions.

I believe stating this community is not ready to solve this problem is a better answer than saying “fuck off, welcome to crypto”.

In order to secure long-term storage, we could provide a method to opt-out of this feature. It can not be opt-in because there is LAND already lost.

This door can be closed if the DAO votes to do so. If you are afraid of having fraud we could raise the level of evidence required to pass the Judicial Committee evaluation. We could extend the period of time the LAND is locked and not available for sale.

We could also create tools for users to write a Will or Testament, letting them specify who should be able to claim their LAND in case of a lost account or death.

This proposal is about testing what we can do as a community.

That is your personal opinion. Mine is that, if we change the rules mid game you likely will drive the ship into the ground, due to the fact that it isn’t what people signed up for.

No one said this but you…cheer up friend.

Assuming they lost their private key, then they were not responsible users. If they have such a great idea to build something great for Decentraland, but don’t have the means to do so because of prior irresponsibly, can’t they present this idea to the DAO for support and funding? Do we really need to add more gatekeepers hovering over such critical areas? Isn’t “Decentraland” supposed to be decentralized? How will this DAO Proposal add to decentralizing Decentraland?

I think that Ethen failed himself, the goal of the smart contract is to make ownership of lands immutable, having a person (or group of person) able to forcefully transfer lands is breaking this immutability.
At best, we would need an automatic system to send the lands to the DAO or to auction them after a certain time without activity (via a ping, no human decision).

This is one of the main reasons Decentraland was created: Immutability, not having any entity able to forcefully seize your assets.

I think we should be extremely careful when testing new solutions, when you learn from it it’s usually too late.
“Oopsie, we stole your 50 lands because you were inactive for two years and someone impersonated you, but at least we learnt from it, sry again sir”

Even if it will be stored on the DAO wallet for one year, from the moment the land of a legit user (who still has access to their keys, just not currently active) get transferred, the whole trust in Decentraland will be ruined for the entire community, and it WILL happens as humans do errors

If users can write a will or testament, then they can find a way to secure their crypto, for example via a multisig, or there are smartcontract which transfer your assets if you don’t ping in X time.

If the door needs to be closed, then it means it failed and therefore that the trust in the DAO and Committees is already gone.

He can still develop scenes and create value for the ecosystem without currently having access to lands.

My 2 SATS as a contributor to this proposal (who ultimately thought it was too soon for it)… I am definitely empathetic and think there should be flexibility for something like this down the line. But I think this is putting the cart before the horse. A judicial committee for the DAO is a huge deal. If we are going to have one, a very specific proposal needs to be made to set up the committee and then the committee could handle something like this. I think backing into a judicial committee in this context would be a HUGE mistake. Voting on a governance structure for the DAO should be step one. Once you have governance in place and tested, you can make decisions on things like this more easily.

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