Want to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon but afraid it’s become too much of a bubble? Check out the internet site domain name market, where speculation may be just as rampant.
Ethereum.com is listed for sale on a marketplace called Uniregistry Market for about $10 million. In October, eth.com sold for $2 million -- possibly the highest price for a crypto-related monikers, according to Domain Name Journal. Many of the sites with names referencing bitcoin and ether, the two biggest digital currencies, could have been registered for as little as $10 not too long ago.
“The unfettered euphoria I see around bitcoin/cryptocurrency/blockchain reminds me a lot of the atmosphere I saw in the period preceding the dotcom bust around 2001,” said Ron Jackson, editor and publisher of Domain Name Journal. “However, dotcoms came back and had bigger years than ever in the mid 2000s, so even a bursting bubble isn’t necessarily a final death knell for a given asset.”
Long-time domain investor Niko Younts said he’s putting what he claims is the biggest portfolio of crypto-related domain names ever amassed up for sale for $2 million. The portfolio includes about 1,200 names, including bitcoinnetwork.com.
Buyers often use domain names in marketing and lead-generation for other sites. Coinbase Inc. pays Younts -- who sold the domain name bitcoinwallet.com for $250,000 in 2014 -- a commission for sending new users to its cryptocurrency wallet and exchange, he said. Others buy the domain names to run businesses, such as wallets and crypto newsletters.
Domain names containing bitcoin have more than four times as many registrations this year, compared with all of 2016, according to GoDaddy Inc. Names containing ethereum have more than five times as many registrations, the domain registrar and web-hosting company said.
The number of cryptocurrency-related domain-name sales in the $1,000 range and up has already reached into several hundred this year, up from only a few dozen last year, Jackson said. Cryptonews.com sold for $50,536 in August, while cryptobank.com netted $125,000 in April. Bitcoincash.org sold for $48,888 in July and bitcoin.casino sold for $28,000 in March, Jackson said.
In October, broker Sharjil Saleem closed the $2 million sale of eth.com to an unknown buyer, Domain Name Journal reported. The sale is tied with freedom.com for the second highest domain-name sales price of the year. Back in 2008, eth.com sold for $19,800, according to sales tracker namebio.com. Domain-name investor Ammar Kubba said he paid $800 for InsideCoins.com a few months ago, and it’s probably now worth more than triple that amount.
"Right now crypto is probably the biggest trend in domain," Kubba said. "Crypto and marijuana. Those two segments of domain names have been growing in value much much faster than other names."