The valuable domain name Crypto.com, whose owner Matt Blaze has steadfastly refused to sell to cryptocurrency companies, is now owned by a cryptocurrency company. TechCrunch reported today that Monaco purchased the domain for an undisclosed amount. Monaco is known for its cryptocurrency token MCO and a Visa debit card backed by cryptocurrency; after the domain sale, the company is rebranding itself as “Crypto.com.”
Blaze, a prominent cryptology researcher and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, registered Crypto.com in 1993. As cryptocurrency has boomed, he’s been besieged by potential buyers, but he’s repeatedly and publicly told them that the domain wasn’t for sale. He’s also criticized the use of “crypto” as an abbreviation of “cryptocurrency” (instead of “cryptography”) as well, saying it would have “bad consequences for both cryptography and cryptocurrencies.”
So why did Blaze sell the domain to Monaco? Blaze didn’t return a request for comment from The Verge, and Monaco CEO Kris Marszalek simply told TechCrunch that “if it was only about money he’d have sold it a long time ago.” Granted, we don’t know how much money was involved here. Domain sellers told The Verge earlier this year that the domain might be worth between $5 and $10 million — one called it “unbelievable.” Other cryptocurrency-related domains have changed hands for lower, but still extremely large, amounts of money: Eth.com, for instance, sold for $2 million.
Monaco is a relatively well-established company by cryptocurrency standards, though it was criticized last year for advertising Visa-branded cards before actually being approved by Visa — something that officially happened in November of 2017. The company was founded in Switzerland in 2016, and in addition to its cards and tokens, it’s launched a mobile wallet app and an automated cryptocurrency investment system.
While Blaze might have finally sold Crypto.com, however, his personal site still warns visitors against investing in cryptocurrency. “Many cryptocurrencies are scams, and I strongly advise against their use as investment vehicles,” it reads.