Handshake registrar system appears to shut down in face of Unstoppable Domains’ lawsuit

A company that helps Handshake domain owners sell second level domains has suspended its services.

Screenshot of gateway.io page with search box for blockchain-based domains
Register domains on the new internet. Or maybe not.

If Unstoppable Domains was looking for an easy test case for protecting its choice of top level domain names, it might have found it.

Just days after Unstoppable sued Gateway.io, Gateway.io appears to have shut down because it is unable to pay the legal fees necessary to fight the lawsuit.

Unstoppable Domains sued Gateway.io and its owner, James Stevens, for offering second level .wallet domains under a Handshake top level domain name. Unstoppable offers a competing .wallet address on its own blockchain-based naming system. The company claims that the first company to begin offering second level domains on a blockchain top level domain should have exclusive rights to the name.

Gateway.io, operated by former .io registry CTO James Stevens, is no longer accepting registrations for second level domains under Handshake. A Twitter account associated with Stevens has been deleted and the support (at) gateway.io email address no longer works.

Separately, the registrant of .wallet on Handshake sent a plea to the Handshake community, as shown in this tweet from another person:

Shutting down Gateway.io’s services is a strange move. It doesn’t make the lawsuit go away and it makes it seem like an admission of guilt.

But if the company cannot mount a defense, it will help Unstoppable in its legal case, which could have ramifications for owners of any blockchain-based domain name. Unstoppable Domains might also try to use this as a precedent when ICANN releases its next round of top level domains.

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