ENS Labs, the developer behind the Ethereum Name Service, has received a settlement offer from Manifold Finance in the legal battle over the eth.link domain name. The dispute, which began in August 2022, has involved multiple parties including domain registrars, alongside Manifold Finance.
Manifold Finance proposed a settlement demanding $300,000 from ENS Labs, coupled with “confidentiality and non-disparagement agreements,” according to ENS founder Nick Johnson. The deal would resolve the dispute that started when the eth.link domain was transferred and sold away from ENS Labs’ control — its original owner — leading to legal complexities.
Eth.link served as a vital web gateway for the Ethereum community, facilitating access to ENS names via web browsers and supporting major DeFi projects. It was originally assigned to ENS Labs by its owner, Virgil Griffith. However, after a failure to renew the domain and a subsequent sale by GoDaddy, the domain ended up being auctioned by Dynadot to Manifold Finance.
Following a preliminary injunction from a federal district court in Phoenix, Arizona that ordered the domain’s return to ENS Labs, the case has seen many developments.
“We obtained a preliminary injunction last year, but that on its own doesn’t settle the case; it just allowed us to keep the name while it was being resolved,” Johnson told The Block. “Resolving the case requires either coming to an agreement with all parties, or taking it to court.”
ENS Labs is now deliberating on its forum on how to proceed, with its decentralized autonomous organization considering options including approving the settlement, negotiating a compromise, continuing litigation, or dismissing the case and potentially losing control over eth.link. The organization has also proposed a vote on reimbursing legal fees, which have amounted to $750,000, from the DAO’s funds.
Manifold did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Block.
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