Breaking: Ethereum Name Service sues to stop domain sale

Group sues after domain sells in Dynadot auction.

Logo for Ethereum Name Service has a stylized circle with ENS letters

True Names, Ltd. d/b/a Ethereum Name Service, and Virgil Griffith have sued (pdf) to stop the sale of

As I wrote about earlier today, sold in a Dynadot expired domain auction for $852,000.

Virgil Griffith registered the domain name for use as a resolving service for .eth domain names. .Eth domains are based on the blockchain and major web browsers don’t resolve them. Griffith’s solution was to make any third level domain under forward to the corresponding blockchain website. So if you wanted to visit example.eth, you could type into your browser.

It worked fine until Griffith landed in jail for helping North Korea avoid sanctions. At that point, the domain expired.

As with most domain registrations, the domain went into an expired domain auction. Due to some of the complexities between GoDaddy and Uni (the registry, not registrar), the registry that previously controlled .link, GoDaddy didn’t auction the domain on its own service. Instead, the domain was auctioned at Dynadot due to a pre-existing deal with the registrar.

That’s where it sold for a whopping $852,000 and change.

Now, Ethereum Name Service and Griffith want to halt the sale and transfer. They’ve sued GoDaddy, Dynadot, and Manifold Finance, which has publicly said it was the winning bidder.

They argue that GoDaddy shouldn’t have let the domain expire. They also argue that GoDaddy said the domain would expire and go back into the registration pool on September 5, but that it actually happened two days earlier, on September 3.

The plaintiffs mischaracterized what happened:

Rather than provide any response, on information and belief, on September 3, 2022, GoDaddy conducted a sale of the domain name. Dynadot, an online auction holder, purported to have purchased the domain from GoDaddy.

What makes little sense to me is how Griffith, who was apparently unavailable to assist with renewing the domain from prison, was able to assist with the lawsuit.

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