GoDaddy Faces Lawsuit Over Illegal Domain Sales


Ethereum Name Service and Virgil Griffith, who run the Web3 domain service, say that GoDaddy falsely said the domain had expired and then sold it to a third party before it should have.
GoDaddy Faces Lawsuit Over Illegal Domain Sales
GoDaddy Faces Lawsuit Over Illegal Domain Sales

The developer of the Ethereum Name Service, which is in charge of all the.eth web addresses used by the Ethereum community, sued GoDaddy over the sale of the eth.link domain name, which was essential to running ENS.

In a complaint filed on Monday, True Names Ltd., which runs the Web3 domain name service, said that GoDaddy not only told eth.link users falsely that their domain registration had expired, but also sold the domain before it was supposed to go back to the registry and be available to buy again.

Eth.link helped make sure that people who wanted to go to.eth addresses could do so. MetaMask and other browsers that support Web3 can easily get to.eth sites, but traditional browsers can’t. Eth.link served as a link. (For example, old browsers can’t go straight to Coinscreed.eth, but they could use Coinscreed.eth.link to get there.)

Domain registration renewals are usually easy, but Virgil Griffith, who has the power to renew the registration for eth.link, is currently serving a 63-month prison sentence for teaching North Koreans how to use crypto to get around sanctions.

The complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, says that the registration was supposed to end on July 26, 2023, but GoDaddy said it ended on July 26, 2022, which was not true. According to the filing, GoDaddy said the domain name would be for sale again on Sept. 5, 2022, but on Sept. 3, it sold eth.link to a crypto start-up called Manifold Finance.

“By doing this, GoDaddy has taken away Plaintiff True Names Ltd.’s way of making a living. The sale will shut down a valuable cryptocurrency network and put it at risk of being used by many bad people “it said in the complaint.

Plaintiffs True Names and Griffith want damages worth at least $75,000, not including legal fees. They also want a temporary restraining order against defendants GoDaddy, Inc., GoDaddy.com LLC, and any employees or entities that directly or indirectly let eth.link expire and be sold to third parties.

As of August 17, two million domain names were registered with ENS.

On the landing page for eth.link, a message from the new owner, Manifold Finance, says that services will be back up and running next week. Domain Name Wire said that eth.link cost $851,919.30 and was bought by Manifold.

When asked for a comment, GoDaddy did not answer right away.