HomeCryptoCrypto & Web3 Domains – Top Stories of 2022 – Domain Name Wire
Crypto & Web3 Domains – Top Stories of 2022 – Domain Name Wire
December 29, 2022
Web3 in 2022: bankruptcy, infighting and a key domain expired.
A big story this year has been the rise and fall of web3 and a surge of interest in so-called web3 domain names.
We all know the story on the cryptocurrency front: Values have soared this year and interest in NFTs has exploded. Then everything collapsed.
This has had an impact on the domain industry and domain investors. Many buyers have used “fun money” made in cryptocurrencies to finance domain purchases. And many domain investors have been sucked into NFT trading.
The other interesting aspect of web3 this year directly concerned domain names.
Companies launching blockchain-based domains have been around for years, but this year they started making waves. One reason has been the rush of NFTs and many NFT fans have decided to stockpile Ethereum Name Service names ending in .eth.
Another reason these domains caught our attention was the feuding between competing web3 domain initiatives.
This came to a head when Unstoppable Domains, a VC-backed web3 domain company, filed a lawsuit over .wallet. It’s frustrating that there’s a .wallet domain on Handshake, a competing system that allows anyone to create a top-level domain.
This resulted in an unexpected shutdown of Gateway, a sort of registry reader/registrar for Handshake. People who registered second-level domains through Gateway could no longer use them.
This annoyed Handshake fans. Namecheap, which sells Handshake domains and owns Handshake technology provider Namebase, has decided to fund a legal battle on behalf of the owner of .wallet in Handshake.
During NamesCon in September, Handshake supporters publicly fought on stage with one of the founders of Unstoppable Domains.
Unstoppable Domains believes that the first entity to publicly market an alternative top-level domain should obtain exclusive rights to it. He even went so far as to bomb one of his domains, .coin, to prove his point. This was a surprising decision on many fronts, especially as it proved that unstoppable second-level domain registrations are hardly unstoppable. .Coin owners are stuck with unusable domains after Unstoppable turns off resolution services for the domain.
While supporters of the web3 domain initiative argue among themselves, “real” domain owners should take notice. It’s clear that Unstoppable has its sights set on the next round of ICANN-approved TLDs, and probably doesn’t want to pay full fare for them. He formed the Web3 Domain Alliance to support trademark protection for top-level domains.
There was another interesting connection between web3 and domain names this year.
The eth.link domain has expired and was auctioned by Dynadot for $852,000. This domain was important to the Ethereum Name Service community because its registrant set it up as a resolution service for .eth domains. You can type a .eth domain at the third level and it will resolve to the website without using a browser plug-in.
But the guy who registered the domain was in jail for helping North Korea learn how to evade sanctions with cryptocurrencies, so he couldn’t renew the domain.
It later worked with Ethereum Name Service to sue GoDaddy (the parent company of Uniregistry, where the domain was registered), Dynadot, and the entity that bought the domain at auction. A judge issued a temporary order returning the domain to him and the lawsuit is pending.