The company is raising funds that could be used to fight legal battles and bid on the next round of new top-level domains at ICANN.
Unstoppable Domains has raised $65 million in Series A funding at a $1 billion valuation, the company announced today.
The company provides blockchain-based domain names ending in extensions such as .crypto, .nft, .bitcoin, and .wallet.
These domain names do not work like traditional domain names in major browsers. Users need to download special software or make changes to their browser to access it.
Unstoppable originally marketed domains as a way to create an uncensored website, hence the name Unstoppable. But he changed this messaging over time to capitalize on the NFT craze and better use of domains: wallet addresses and digital identity.
Building a blockchain-based website is complex, and few people really have to worry about censorship. But easy-to-remember crypto wallet addresses make sense the same way traditional domains do. Traditional domains are much easier to remember than IP addresses that point to websites, and blockchain domains like example.crypto are easier to remember than long wallet addresses.
Unstoppable says it has registered 2.5 million domains. It is unclear how many of them are paid because the company has made several promotions. However, in a recent lawsuit, he said he made $5 million selling domains under the .wallet extension.
This lawsuit, however, poses a significant challenge to its business model. He is suing a company that provides the technology for users to register .wallet domains in the competing Handshake blockchain domain system.
Unlike traditional top-level domains at ICANN, there is no single arbiter of who can manage blockchain-based alt-root domains. So multiple people can start the exact same extension.
Unstoppable says this is causing “chaos” and could lead to cryptocurrency payments being misrouted.
The company is turning to trademark law to try to prevent others from running extensions that match the ones it launched. It could be an uphill battle; unstoppable has failed in most of its attempts to register top-level domains as trademarks.
And when ICANN releases its next round of top-level domains, companies will likely apply for most of the names Unstoppable currently operates. Even though these are mostly used for websites rather than wallet addresses, it could create conflicts. For example, competitor Ethereum Name Service allows anyone to connect a traditional domain name to it to serve as a wallet address or digital identity.
Unstoppable now has something working in its favor: a $65 million war chest to fight competitors, grow its userbase, and, perhaps, bid on domains in the next round of “real” top-level domains at ICANN.