‘ENS deposit whale’ has $76M worth of Ethereum waiting for them

ens, ethereum

Decentralized domain guru Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is searching for the owner of darkmarket.eth — there’s $76 million in Ethereum with their… name on it.

In 2017, darkmarket.eth sold at auction for 20,103 ETH, worth about $5 million back then but today over $38 million.

Whoever bought it also owns 30 other Ethereum Names acquired during ENS’ first two years, including the second most expensive domain name of all time, openmarket.eth.

Protos also linked the ‘ENS deposit whale‘ to a raft of related domain names like silkroad.eth, openexchange.eth, and payment.eth.

  • Altogether, darkmarket.eth’s owner spent 39,712 ETH on ENS auctions.
  • Protos calculated that was worth roughly $14.8 million at the time.
  • Ethereum’s price is up 400% since then — inflating those deposits to $75.7 million.

ENS offers domain names for Web 3.0

ENS domain names replace Ethereum addresses, which can be lengthy and complicated for newer users.

The service used to allow anyone to effectively rent an .eth address by depositing cryptocurrency into a smart contract, but now it offers domain names for an annual fee.

Leases on ENS domain names sold in the first few years of the service — like darkmarket.eth — have now expired. 

[Read more: Dark web giant Joker’s Stash just ‘retired’ with $1B in Bitcoin]

Their original owners can reclaim deposits by signing a transaction with the Ethereum address that sent them.

Lead developer Nick Johnson told Protos that darkmarket.eth was the highest priced auction when ENS first launched, “so this is definitely the largest amount” waiting to be reclaimed. 

But who owns this mega-stash of ENS deposits? 

ens, ethereum
ENS offers a reclaim service via its website.

Nobody knows, but their blockchain history shows they’re sitting on 63,734 ETH ($122.2 million).

They’re also active (kinda). Darkmarket.eth’s owner sent 1,600 ETH ($3 million) to an Ethereum mixing service around three months ago, and made five ERC-20 transactions in the past year.

Whoever it is, they could be $76 million richer — if only they’d sign for it.

Edit 16:59 UTC, Feb 18: Clarification about annual ENS leases in the seventh paragraph.

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