The company says it "tried everything possible to get this resolved amicably" — but is going through the courts after a 79-year-old reneged on two binding agreements.
A crypto giant is defending itself after taking legal action to get its hands on a website domain.
The Wormhole.com address is owned by a 79-year-old computer engineer called Dick Merryman.
He was recently approached by the company that owns Jump Trading, which in turn has played a crucial role in the development of Wormhole — a protocol enabling cryptocurrencies to be transferred across blockchains.
Although Jump initially offered $2,500 for the prized domain name, Merryman replied that his asking price was a "firm $50,000."
But when the pensioner was told that Jump was prepared to pay up, he subsequently replied:
"Sorry, I changed my mind. This was too easy, I'm either leaving a lot of money on the table or it is a scam. Either way, no sale. If you want to make a reasonable offer, then you are encouraged to do so."
Merryman then upped the price to $100,000 — and although Jump accused him of violating an agreement, the company eventually said it was prepared to pay this six-figure sum.
But unfortunately for Jump, the fiasco didn't end here — with Merryman then coming back with a demand for $200,000.
A Messy Situation
Speaking to Insider, Merryman said he had no serious intention of selling the domain, adding:
"I didn't really want to sell it. I've had the same email address for 28 years — it's like family."
He also suggested that he simply wanted to give Jump a ridiculous asking price in the hope the company would stop asking for Wormhole.com.
But now, Jump has embarked on legal action after accusing Merryman of a breach of contract — and it wants a judge to compel the retiree to transfer the domain.
Jump has come in for some fierce criticism on social media, with the Twitter account @ledgerstatus making their feelings known to the company's president, Kanav Kariya. They wrote:
"I expect better than this from Jump, @KanavKariya. $2,500 initial offer, then litigation following… when it’s obvious it was worth much more. Dude wasn’t even a squatter, just an old guy and his email. Y’all make enough, this was not the right way to handle it."
Kariya shot back — and it's clear he views this entire situation rather differently. He replied:
"Dude, he asked for $50k, team said yes and signed a binding offer. Then he said nah, too easy, $100k. Still said yes to avoid drama. Then he said nah, $200k. Very seriously, what would you have liked the team to do?"
The executive added that Jump had "tried everything possible to get this resolved amicably" to no avail.
A man who bought a crypto domain for $16 eventually managed to sell it for $435,000 after holding his nerve during talks with a "multibillion-dollar crypto exchange."
For now, the Wormhole protocol — which was hacked for $325 million back in February — must settle with using WormholeNetwork.com.
It's unclear whether their legal fracas will ultimately result in Jump winning control over the domain.