The company behind .eth domain name provider Ethereum Name Service (ENS) filed a lawsuit against GoDaddy, Dynadot, and Manifold Finance in the state of Arizona Monday.
True Names Ltd., along with the still-imprisoned Virgil Griffith, filed the suit because of how GoDaddy allegedly violated an agreement to “respect, acknowledge, and protect” the eth.link domain name.
True Names, the nonprofit that funds and organizes development of ENS, is seeking at least $75,000 in damages, according to the complaint.
On August 25, GoDaddy announced that the eth.link domain was expiring on September 5. The registrar had previously allowed a third party to renew the domain on Griffith’s behalf, but declined to do so this year. On September 3, it reportedly transferred eth.link to another registry, Dynadot LLC, which then put the name up for auction.
“The sale will disable a valuable cryptocurrency network and recklessly risk making it available to scores of malicious actors,” the filing argued. “And the domain name is now purportedly and wrongfully held by Manifold Finance, Inc.”
Indeed, the DeFi company Manifold Finance confirmed in a tweet that it had purchased the domain name eth.link on Sept 3. The purchase was for $851,919, according to Domain Name Wire.
“Eth.link was just sniped by us,” the firm wrote on Twitter. “Services to be restored once ownership transfer is complete.”
https://t.co/tpR0rT37zf was just sniped by us.
Services to be restored once ownership transfer complete. #Ethereum #ENS
— manifoldfinance.eth (@foldfinance) September 3, 2022
“It was us or Chinese owners,” Manifold Finance added in another tweet. “Always bid in USD.”
In response to a request for comment, Manifold Finance founder Sam Bacha told Decrypt via email that Manifold will be “posting on the ENS forums” Thursday clarifying its position on the issue.
Nick.eth, lead developer at ENS, was perplexed by the sale to Manifold, arguing that the name hadn’t expired yet. But Manifold told Nick that he was “looking at the wrong info” regarding the domain name’s expiry.
"Though we do not believe they had a right to take this action, GoDaddy stated that the eth.link domain would be returned to the public registry where we would have an opportunity to recover it," he told Decrypt. "We are disappointed to see the acts of GoDaddy, and feel misled due to being told that the domain would be returned to the registry, only to find out it was purportedly sold to another domain provider before we had the chance to claim it.”
"Eth.link is used by many ENS community members, so it’s our main priority to inform the public of the events that have transpired," he added.
Eth.link is important to ENS customers because it was being used to link the ENS domain names to the Web2 domain name system (DNS).
For now, upon visiting an eth.link name, such as vitalik.eth.link, a message appears that states that “Services will be restored shortly to eth.link in the upcoming week,” along with links to Manifold Finance’s website and Telegram group.
Manifold Finance appears to be planning on continuing to redirect domain inquiries as before, suggesting that the initial crisis has been averted for now. But it remains to be seen how GoDaddy will respond to the claims by ENS.
GoDaddy has not yet responded to Decrypt’s requests for comment.
Editor's note: this article was updated to include comments from Nick.eth.