Ethereum Name Service Regains Control of EthLink Domain in Lawsuit Against GoDaddy



The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) has regained control of the domain name after winning an injunction in its lawsuit against domain provider GoDaddy, the ENS announced late Sunday.

ENS parent company True Names Ltd., along with previous owner Virgil Griffith, filed a lawsuit against GoDaddy, Dynadot, and Manifold Finance earlier this month. GoDaddy allegedly transferred the ENS’s name to domain name registrar Dynadot before its expiration date and put the name up for auction in what the ENS called a “breach of contract” that violated an agreement to “respect, acknowledge, and protect” the name. 

ENS uses the domain to connect “.eth” names to the Domain Name System, or DNS, which is what web browsers use to connect to websites. This EthLink service enables “.eth” domain users to create viewable websites for themselves with their ENS names and make them accessible from a standard browser. Losing access to the domain disrupted the service for ENS and its users.

But the crisis has been averted. The U.S. district judge in charge of the case granted ENS’s request for an injunction and ordered that the name be returned, restoring EthLink services.

“Our injunction was successful and the name has been returned to us,” the ENS wrote on Twitter Sunday night. 

Manifold Finance had previously purchased the domain name from Dynadot for $851,919, according to Domain Name Wire. In a locked thread on the ENS forums, Manifold co-founder Sam Bacha explained why his company “sniped” the name. 

“We wanted the domain name because we had intentions of establishing a special purpose trust to provide the legal entity for which key pieces of some of our own infrastructure could have been held,” Bacha wrote, suggesting that the ENS could buy the domain name back from Manifold if desired. (Bacha did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment following the injunction.)

In response, True Names Ltd. Executive Director Khori Whittaker shut down Bacha’s offer.

“By Court order the domain does not belong to Manifold Finance and it has no current right to sell the domain,” he said.

ENS lead developer nick.eth previously told Decrypt that he was “disappointed” and felt “misled” by GoDaddy’s actions, but has not yet responded to Decrypt’s request for a follow-up comment.

A representative for GoDaddy told Decrypt that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

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