TLD Investors published statistics on the deals with domain names in the national .IO domain. The past year was fairly good for the domain zone: 1,198 .IO domain deals were registered; the average sale amounted to $1,149 and the total value of the deals reached $1.4 million. All these figures surpass the results for 2019. It may be added that the number of registered domain names in the domain zone exceeds 600,000.
At the same time, the publication warns investors against excessive optimism as regards the .IO domain because it still remains the subject of heated debate. The domain is assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory. At one time, these territories, which consist mainly of the Chagos Archipelago, were occupied by Britain, which wanted to station an American military base on the island of Diego Garcia. The indigenous population of the archipelago was forced to move to Mauritius and the Seychelles. Mauritius has been fighting for the transfer of the islands to its jurisdiction for many years. Its position was supported by the UN International Court that urged Britain to transfer the archipelago to Mauritian control as soon as possible. However, Britain refused to comply with this decision.
Importantly, if the court’s decision is still carried out, the islands will lose their status as the British Indian Ocean Territory, and the existence of the domain as such will be called into question. This domain is national only formally: the majority of its registrants have nothing to do with the Chagos Archipelago. The domain is very popular with IT companies and application developers (the IO abbreviation means input/output in IT slang). Recently, it has also attracted cryptocurrency exchanges and investors.
The same argument is quoted by Mauritius that is not going to give up in its struggle for the islands. At the end of last year, they complained again, this time to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. They devoted special attention to the .IO domain. They wrote that the British India Ocean Territory’s absence of relevant rules and regulations had turned this domain zone into one of the largest crypto currency offshore operations through which billions of dollars pass every day without any taxes or control.