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Why the Company Behind ENS is Suing GoDaddy, Claiming Loss of Livelihood

The parent company behind the Ethereum Name Service (ENS), True Names Ltd., has filed a lawsuit against centralized domain registrar GoDaddy. In the complaint filed in the US district court of Arizona, True Names alleged that Godaddy wrongly declared the eth.link domain expired and subsequently sold it to another company.

ENS Parent Company Sues GoDaddy Over Domain Registration

The plaintiff, True Names Ltd. and Mr. Virgil Griffith, represented by the law firm Crowell & Moring LLP, regarded GoDaddy’s actions as a breach of contract. Also named in the suit were two other companies, Dynadot and Manifold Finance. In July, ENS saw renewed interest in its domain names following the sale of a 300 ETH domain. Consequently, it became the most traded collection on OpenSea at the time.

ENS is a web3 service that offers pseudonymous names which can serve as placeholders for the default alphanumeric Ethereum wallet addresses. The service is largely popular and used by crypto enthusiasts on Ethereum decentralized applications (DApps). It previously relied on the web domain eth.link registered with GoDaddy to allow the use of crypto addresses in web browsers. The link provides access to information about all the ENS domain names created.

According to the suit, True Names used the eth.link domain for its operations and said that Griffith, a former employee, had first registered it in 2018. Earlier in April, Griffith was sentenced to five years imprisonment and fined $100,000 after he confessed to speaking at a crypto conference in North Korea. His actions are believed to have enabled the country linked with the Ronin hack to use cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions.

With Griffith incarcerated, True Names admitted it initially neglected to renew the domain name in July 2022. However, they asserted that a re-registration was carried out on their behalf during the grace period following the domain’s expiration. This was done using a service provider called easyDNS, as noted on the ENS community forum.

Nonetheless, the complaint claims that GoDaddy declared the domain expired on August 25 despite the re-registration. The domain registrar subsequently sold the eth.link domain to Dynadot on September 3 without informing the plaintiffs, who made several unsuccessful attempts to contact them. This action, the plaintiff believes, has deprived it of its livelihood. It noted:

“Rather than wait until September 5, 2022, GoDaddy purportedly sold the domain name eth.link to Dynadot LLC on September 3, 2022, without notice to Plaintiffs. In so doing, GoDaddy has deprived Plaintiff True Names Ltd. of its livelihood. The sale will disable a valuable cryptocurrency network and recklessly risk making it available to scores of malicious actors. And the domain name is now purportedly and wrongfully held by Manifold Finance, Inc.”

Web3 Company Outplayed by Web2 Firm

With Web3 companies heralded as the decentralized future of the internet, it is ironic that a renowned firm in the space has been outplayed by a highly-centralized service. While ENS is a domain name service provider in the web3 industry, its entire operation has come under threat due to its reliance on a web2 domain registrar. This shows the inter dependability within the digital economy.

Following its loss of the eth.link, True Names has started using another domain called eth.limo as the new Web gateway for ENS. However, Dynadot allegedly auctioned the domain to the cryptocurrency project Manifold Finance for $852,000 on September 3. Manifold Finance took to Twitter to announce its purchase. The Tokenist will provide more details on the legal proceedings as events unfold.

This article originally appeared on The Tokenist

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