Who is George Dikian? You’d be forgiven for not having heard that name before, but those in the know at VPN.com certainly know about him. The name is a pseudonym, taken up by Eitan Zviely. And Dikian was allegedly involved in a domain sale to someone called Qiang Du in China.
If you’re wondering how all this relates to the lawsuit mentioned in the title, here’s what allegedly happened. Du contacted VPN.com early in 2022 to see whether he could purchase a domain name. VPN.com is a domain brokerage service, connecting buyers and sellers and hopefully brokering a deal between them, acting as the middleman, if you will.
In this case, VPN.com identified George Dikian as the owner of the desired domain name. Contact was made and a price was set. VPN later alleged that Dikian wanted to use Intermediar to complete the deal, since the escrow service catered for Bitcoin, whereas many others do not.
However, the sticking point proved to be that the Chinese buyer could not use Bitcoin to make payment because it isn’t permitted in China. To cut down the story somewhat, it appears the entire thing was a scam that the real Dikian knew nothing about. A $2 million payment was set to be made via Intermediar and a further $250,000 should have been made in Bitcoin, directly from VPN. Unfortunately, VPN made that payment sooner than they should have, before realizing that the deal via Intermediar had not been completed, revealing the scam that Dikian apparently had no knowledge of.
Dikian defended himself from the lawsuit, made in California, stating that he thought someone had hacked into his email and attempted to purchase the domain name from there. The case has rumbled on, but on 20th November 2023, VPN stated, via its lawyers, that the case would be voluntarily dismissed. This occurred with prejudice, which means the case cannot be refiled in future. No further statement was made concerning the situation, other than to say no payment had been made by Dikian, nor by VPN.
It does leave some questions, but given the notice filed, it seems we shall not find out anything further. Du was originally part of the lawsuit, but VPN backed out of suing him soon after filing it.
While we cannot know for certain, it seems there is a chance it could potentially have been a scam, as Dikian stated. The commission that would have been owed to VPN for this domain name sale plus several others amounted to over $6 million. The $250,000 Bitcoin payment was also part of the lawsuit, but it seems VPN will not be receiving either.
It’s a cautionary tale, for sure, and an unusual one – it’s uncommon to see lawsuits surrounding domain name sales. The filing for the Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal is available to check out online if you’re interested. VPN markets its domain name brokerage services as 100% risk free. In this case, it seems, the risk was squarely with them – and with potentially giant figures involved too.