With the ominous title, The dark side of .io: How the U.K. is making web domain profits from a shady Cold War land deal.
Things came to the surface about who runs the .io extension, how they got it and who got the shaft?
The Chagossians got the shaft.
The British bought and shut down the plantations in the hope of getting the Chagossians to leave of their own accord, but many stayed, so the U.K. forced them all off the islands anyway, lying to the United Nations that they were just migrant workers. Some resettled in Mauritius and the Seychelles; some dispersed around the world. In total, more than 1,500 Chagossians were expelled and barred from returning.
The company running the .io registry is Internet Computer Bureau. Affilias purchased them for $70 million in 2017.
In 2019, the ICJ ordered the U.K. to hand back the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius “s rapidly as possible,” ruling that its continued occupation of the islands is illegal.
Earlier this week a complaint was filed to THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN & PEOPLES’ RIGHTS.
The Chagossians are dealing with a lot of concerns but as you would imagine .IO is high on the list.
Reading this complaint one thing that stood out was the focus on crypto. The Chagossians seem to believe there is a lot of illegal activity going on in the .io extension when it comes to crypto.
From the complaint:
20. The value of ccTLD is thought to be in the neighborhood of $50 million. ccTLD .IO generates direct fees of $10 million year to ICB. The domain end users of ccTLD .IO include thousands of crypto asset platforms (crypto asset exchanges, investment schemes, Initial Coin Offerings, Crypto Miners and Bitmixers) who take advantage of the nonexistent commercial regulation in BIOT to generate vast sums of unregulated and untaxed revenue and trade with volume of billions of dollars per day. The BIOT Courts and Administration have been aware since 2017 that cc TLD .IO has become the world’s largest crypto asset offshore centre.
They go on to discuss many crypto ventures that used a .io domain name. They say they have done many investigations.
Here is another part from the complaint, focused on when they get the extension back.
40. The Complainants are mindful that someday the digital patrimony and property of the Chagos Islands will be restored to them by the Occupying Power. As ccTLD.IO is perhaps the most valuable asset and going business in the BIOT, the Complaints are concerned with the despoilment and criminal use of ccTLD which is tacitly condoned by Afilias/ICB and the BIOT Administrationand which will diminish its future value and a producer of revenue.
If you are invested in .io or thinking about it I would advise you to at least bookmark the complaint so you can read it when you have time.
I would not register a crypto name personally. I think when they get the extension back they might look to restrict crypto names. THIS IS MY OPINION not a fact.