From https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2019/11/isoc-pir-.... :
ICANN receives 3,300 comments uniformly opposed to the change and 6 in favor of removing price caps, and sides with the 0.2% minority.
PIR responded to the comments with an open letter that said,
“We are a mission-based non-profit, and would never betray the trust that you have put into .ORG and us.”
On 7 May, Chehadé registered the domain for EthosCapital.com.
On 13 May, ICANN decided to lift the price caps anyway.
On 14 May, Ethos Capital was incorporated as a new investment firm founded by Brooks. Ethos Capital has two staff: Brooks and Nora Abusitta-Ouri, a former ICANN SVP who later worked for Chehadé and was also a classmate of Chehadé."
Maybe people are protesting the wrong thing. The sale of .org is a symptom, the underlying cause is a bad regulatory framework for internet names.
There's no technical reason we can't have multiple systems for translating names into addresses. There's no longer any technical reason for having neatly organized dot separated addresses based on TLDs.
Allowing the translation of any text string into an address is entirely possible with present day computing power, and a truly distributed system similar to the global routing table would work to organize different providers announcing their own name domains.
Maintaining the old DNS TLD domains is stupid and subject to manipulation by corporations and corrupt politicians.
Like this sale.
The certificates are essentially a trusted authority saying cryptographically "we have verified this is really the person you think this name is" and that can be done for any identifier. Also, this system was set up before public key encryption became common, and there are plenty of other ways to accomplish the same function with PK crypto.