Ethereum Name Service initiates a lawsuit against a domain auction

The business behind the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) has launched a lawsuit against domain registrar GoDaddy over the sale of a previously owned website name.

True Names Ltd. claims that GoDaddy incorrectly declared the domain expired and sold it to a third party. Plaintiffs True Names and Virgil Griffith regarded this as a breach of contract. Griffith is now serving a jail sentence after being convicted earlier this year.

The case was filed with the U.S. District Court for Arizona’s District. In addition to GoDaddy, two other firms were cited in the complaint: Dynadot and Manifold Finance. Crowell & Moring LLP is the legal firm that represents the plaintiffs.

ENS provides decentralized names that may be substituted for standard alphanumeric Ethereum wallet addresses. The widely used service inside Ethereum applications depended on the web domain to enable the usage of crypto addresses in web browsers. 

While True Name used the name for its operations, the domain was registered in 2018 by Griffith, a former employee, according to the company’s lawsuit.

After delivering a keynote at a crypto conference in North Korea in 2019, Griffith was subsequently accused of aiding the government in violating sanctions. This accusation made the news. In the end, he was sentenced to 63 months in jail.

True Names said that it first neglected to renew the domain name in July 2022 because of Griffith’s incarceration, however, claimed that during the grace period after the domain’s expiration, easyDNS re-registered the domain on their behalf, as published on the ENS community forum.

According to the lawsuit, GoDaddy continued to declare the name expired despite the re-registration on August 25. GoDaddy reportedly sold the domain to Dynadot on September 3 without alerting the plaintiffs. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs made several attempts to contact GoDaddy, but their efforts were disregarded.

Nick Johnson, a creator of ENS, said in a statement to The Block, “We are dissatisfied by GoDaddy’s actions and feel deceived since we were assured the name would be returned to the registrar, only to find out it was reportedly transferred to another domain provider before we could recover it.”

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