Crypto Startup Clashes With Deloitte Over Domain — And Wins

Deloitte argued crypto startup Don’t Know Your Customer was fraudulently leveraging one of its trademarks for its website domain

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key takeaways

  • The World Intellectual Property Organization said the disputed name is simply an abbreviation of the crypto firm’s service
  • Still, privacy-focused crypto startup DKYC is now rebranding its website to “ShadowFi”

Crypto startup Don’t Know Your Customer has managed to avoid a cybersquatting complaint put forth by accounting giant Deloitte over its domain name.

Deloitte offers a service for Know-Your-Customer operations called DKYC, which involves due diligence via document collection.

But the mega-firm took issue with web design firm Penultimate Media Systems registering a version of that name as dontkyc.com for its crypto client — a startup offering prepaid cards pitched as a way to spend certain Binance Chain tokens in the real-world without having to disclose personal information.

A recent decision by the World Intellectual Property Organization, shared by Domain Name Wire, showed Deloitte failed to establish that the disputed name was used by the crypto firm illicitly, highlighting that the domain name is not dkyc.com, but dontkyc.com.

The issue for Deloitte was that the domain name is “highly similar” to its trademark and that the crypto firm offered financial services under its identical “DKYC” sign, according to the document. It also noted the crypto firm does not identify as an active company or provide a valid postal address on its website.

Deloitte argued that the crypto startup had made multiple references with fraudulent intentions to “DKYC,” but not using “dontkyc” — which is reflected in the disputed domain name. 

The domain owner was accommodating in turn, saying it’s ready to modify branding and change references to “DKYC” if that would help the case. It claimed to have searched the US Patent and Trademark Office for the disputed domain name prior to registration with no results. It later learned DKYC was registered in other territories.

The website, as of Wednesday, showed DKYC is rebranding to “ShadowFi.” The startup describes itself as a small community-based non-profit token operating on the Binance Smart Chain, promising an absence of KYC measures in order to ensure privacy. “Our vendor doesn’t know who we are, and we don’t know who you are. No ID required. Ever,” states its website.

WIPO’s sole panelist Adam Taylor said Deloitte still has the option to take the crypto firm to court for infringement of intellectual property rights, if it believes there is sufficient ground to do so.

Representatives for Deloitte, DKYC and Penultimate Media didn’t return Blockworks’ request for comment by press time.


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