ENS to end eth.link domain suit after DAO greenlights $300K settlement

ENS to end eth.link domain suit after DAO greenlights 0K settlement


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Ethereum Name Service (ENS) developer is set to end its stoush with Manifold Finance over ownership of the eth.link domain after its decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) approved a $300,000 settlement to Manifold. 

An ENS DAO vote ended on Feb. 26 saw about 88% approve the settlement — which will see ENS Labs drop its lawsuit and pay $300,000 to Manifold but be able to retain the domain name. Meanwhile, 84% approved a $750,000 reimbursement of ENS Labs’ legal costs.

The approved settlement ends an 18-month-long saga that saw ENS Labs sue Manifold and domain registrars GoDaddy and Dynadot in an Arizona District Court and win an order to stop the domain from being transferred from its ownership.

ENS founder Nick Johnson said in a Feb. 13 ENS DAO forum post that Manifold’s settlement terms demanded $300,000 from ENS Labs “along with confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses.”

“In return, they are offering an all-parties settlement, which would result in the dismissal of the case and ENS Labs retaining the eth.link domain name,” Johnson said.

ENS is a blockchain equivalent to a Domain Name System (DNS) that translates domain names, such as cointelegraph.com, into IP addresses so they can be found by browsers.

The two systems aren’t compatible, so ENS uses the eth.link domain to get .eth ENS-based domains to work.

Its hold over the domain expired in July 2022 as early contributor Virgil Griffith owned it and couldn’t renew it as he was three months into a five-year jail sentence for trying to help North Korea evade sanctions.

GoDaddy, where eth.link was registered, let the domain expire, allowing Manifold to buy the domain at auction on Dynadot in September 2022.

That same month, ENS filed suit against the three and won a court order to stop the domain’s transfer after the trio of companies were a no-show to a court hearing on the matter.

Related: Ethereum Name Service open to building own layer 2 — ENS director

Months of legal arguments followed, but in July 2023, Arizona District Judge John Tuchi ordered Dynadot to unlock eth.link so ENS could transfer its ownership.

ENS and GoDaddy have seemingly since made up over the saga and partnered earlier this month to offer .eth ENS domain holders to link it with a traditional domain for free.

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