GoDaddy Sued Over Sale of Ethereum Domain Name Service's Vital Address

Company behind Web3 domain service Ethereum Name Service and Virgil Griffith allege that GoDaddy falsely announced the domain had expired, and then prematurely allowed it to be sold to a third party.

AccessTimeIconSep 8, 2022 at 6:11 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:32 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The developer of the Ethereum Name Service, which is responsible for all the web addresses ending in .eth used by the Ethereum community, sued GoDaddy over the sale of the domain name that was vital to running ENS.

In a complaint filed on Monday, True Names Ltd., the company behind the Web3 domain name service, alleged that GoDaddy not only falsely announced to users the domain registration had expired, but it also sold the domain off before it was supposed to return to the registry and be available for re-purchase. helped ensure users trying to get to .eth addresses actually could. MetaMask and other Web3-enabled browsers can get to .eth sites without trouble, but traditional browsers cannot. provided a bridge. (While old-school browsers can't directly get to, as a hypothetical example, CoinDesk.eth, they could via

Domain registration renewals are typically straightforward, but in this case the person with the authority to renew the registration for, Virgil Griffith, is currently serving a 63-month prison sentence for instructing North Koreans on how to use crypto as a way to evade sanctions.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, alleges the registration was set to expire on July 26, 2023, but in August GoDaddy falsely announced it had expired on July 26, 2022. According to the filing, GoDaddy had said the domain name would be available for purchase again on Sept. 5, 2022, but it had sold to a third party, crypto start-up Manifold Finance, on Sept. 3.

"In so doing, GoDaddy has deprived Plaintiff True Names Ltd. of its livelihood. The sale will disable a valuable cryptocurrency network and recklessly risk making it available to scores of malicious actors," the complaint said.

Plaintiffs True Names and Griffith are seeking damages worth at least $75,000 excluding legal costs, and are calling for a temporary restraining order against defendants GoDaddy, Inc., LLC and any employees or entities that directly or indirectly allowed to expire and be available for purchase by third parties.

ENS had two million domain name registrations as of Aug. 17.

The landing page currently displays a message from new owner Manifold Finance that says services will be restored in the upcoming week. Domain Name Wire reported that Manifold paid $851,919.30 for

GoDaddy declined to comment on ongoing litigation.

UPDATE (Sept. 9, 17:19 UTC): Adds response from GoDaddy to last paragraph.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.