In brief

  • Jump has been trying to purchase from a 79-year-old sci-fi fan for more than a year.
  • The man finally capitulated after the trading giant sued him for breach of contract.

The realm of physics offers the exciting possibility of “wormholes” that could let us collapse space and time. But here on Earth, most of us are subject to more mundane realities—including that the rich and powerful usually get what they want.

Dick Merryman, a 79-year-old computer engineer, got a reminder of that last month when Jump Operations—the holding company for crypto giant Jump Trading—put the legal screws to him to obtain, a domain he has owned for years and that corresponds to an email he created for he and his wife.

For Merryman, the domain reflects his fondness for astrophysicist Carl Sagan, whose 1985 novel “Contact” deployed a “wormhole” to let characters skip across light years. Merryman purchased the domain in 1994, creating a simple placeholder website that displays a cosmic picture.

For Jump, however, “wormhole” has a very different significance. It is the name of a crypto platform that creates “bridges” between popular blockchains such as Solana and Ethereum, and in which Jump has a very significant investment.

While Jump is currently using the to host Wormhole-related content, it has coveted the shorter name owned by Merryman, and began trying to acquire it last year.

In June of 2021, someone at Jump used a third-party domain broker to approach Merryman and offer $2,500 for the name. The latter rebuffed the…

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