Reasons behind Namebase's delayed SLD payments

We'd like to set the record straight, this is why your SLD payments were delayed

With great frustration, it has come to our attention that our community has received misinformation surrounding Namebase and its registry.

We’d like to set the record straight. Here’s the full set of facts:

On January 3rd, 2022, we (Namebase) received an email from Gateway where they declared our prior SaaS agreement with them had been terminated due to nonpayment for November, 2021. This is true, we did not pay Gateway on-time for November 2021’s SLD registrations. This nonetheless took us by surprise because in the past, we’ve regularly manually batched payments to Gateway every 2-3 months since we began working together nearly 2 years ago with no issues. Gateway also did not raise any issues or provide us any other notice or opportunity to make payment swiftly.

In an email, Gateway presented us with the following two options:

  • Namebase transfers Handshake TLDs that currently have active registrations to Gateway — only TLDs without active SLD registrations can be unstaked; nevertheless, Namebase would never would never jeopardize TLD stakers’ names by transferring their names to any party other than the TLD owner themselves.

  • Negotiate a new agreement — Gateway indicated their knowledge of Namebase’s acquisition by Namecheap, which was not public at the time, the timing of which could explain their sudden change in behavior.

On January 7th, 2022, we responded to Gateway and shared that we would be willing to pay 100% interest for November’s late payment and implement automation for future payments to ensure they are paid on the 1st of every month moving forward. They declined our offer.

On January 10th, 2022, we heard from a registrar operator that Gateway had been sharing that they've been unable to get a hold of Namebase for months. This was odd to us because we’ve had a shared Slack channel with the Gateway team where they have been regularly communicating with our team from June 10th, 2020 to the present day (our most recent exchange was on May 9th, 2022).

We also heard from a registrar operator that Gateway had been sharing that they were going to take over registry operations from us moving forward, which was equally odd to us because they’ve only been a service provider for the EPP server we used. Similar to how owners of new ICANN gTLDs often outsource their registry operations, we also outsourced our initial registry operations to Gateway. To clarify, only Namebase has registry agreements with registrars and TLD owners, not Gateway.

On January 4th, 2022, Gateway began to instruct registrars to deposit funds due to Namebase into Gateway’s bank account instead. This is especially troubling since, in addition to doing this without our knowledge, they have no contractual relationship with the registrars and they were taking funds due to TLD owners for their SLD sales. Therefore, funds intended for paying out SLD sellers no longer hit our system and impacted our ability to pay TLD owners. Despite Gateway’s knowledge of the impact to TLD owners, they would not release the funds belonging to us.

On April 12th, 2022, we sent out an email to SLD sellers informing we have finally paid them for their SLD sales. Because we have yet to recover our funds from Gateway, the delayed SLD payments were paid by us entirely out-of-pocket.

In this same email, we referenced our upcoming registry relaunch. The following day (April 13th, 2022), Gateway posted “Answers to Registry-related Questions”, in which they twice encouraged readers to stake in their Gateway Registry.

Given the aforementioned circumstances, we are uncomfortable continuing any business relationship with Gateway.

To clarify, Namebase intends to collaborate closely alongside the greater Handshake community, and this includes the Impervious team. While both Gateway and Impervious operate under humbly LLC, we recognize the distinction between Gateway and Impervious’s functions and wish to maintain a cooperative relationship with the Impervious entity, which has made tremendous strides for the Handshake project including creating Fingertip and Beacon, the most popular decentralized Handshake resolvers.

With all of that said, if you would like to sell Handshake SLDs on Namecheap.com alongside our growing community of registrar partners such as Porkbun, 101domain, and Encirca, be on the lookout for a button in your Domain manager to join the waitlist for Namebase’s upcoming revamped registry!

Until then, happy naming :)

johnnywu/'s profile picture
johnnywu/
Head of Product|
@namerjohnnywu

johnnywu/ manages the Namer Community at Namebase. If he's not chatting about Handshake, sustainability, or business ideas, then he's probably spending his free time playing basketball, piano, or video games!