vrsn-20211231
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
————————
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                  to                 
Commission File Number: 000-23593 
————————
VERISIGN, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 94-3221585
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
12061 Bluemont Way, 
Reston,Virginia20190
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (703948-3200
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.001 par value per shareVRSNNasdaq Global Select Market
 Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.     Yes       No   
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes      No   
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes    No   
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).     Yes        No   
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.):     Yes      No   
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of June 30, 2021, was $16.5 billion based upon the last sale price reported for such date on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. For purposes of this disclosure, shares of Common Stock held by persons known to the Registrant (based on information provided by such persons and/or the most recent Schedule 13Gs filed by such persons) to beneficially own more than 5% of the Registrant’s Common Stock and shares held by officers and directors of the Registrant have been excluded because such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.  
Number of shares of Common Stock, $0.001 par value, outstanding as of the close of business on February 11, 2022: 110,167,438 shares.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be delivered to stockholders in connection with the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K where indicated.


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For purposes of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”), the terms “Verisign”, “the Company”, “we”, “us”, and “our” refer to VeriSign, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries.
PART I
 
ITEM 1.    BUSINESS
Overview
 
We are a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure, enabling internet navigation for many of the world’s most recognized domain names. We enable the security, stability, and resiliency of key internet infrastructure and services, including providing root zone maintainer services, operating two of the 13 global internet root servers, and providing registration services and authoritative resolution for the .com and .net top-level domains (“TLDs”), which support the majority of global e-commerce.
  
We were incorporated in Delaware on April 12, 1995. Our principal executive offices are located at 12061 Bluemont Way, Reston, Virginia 20190. Our telephone number at that address is (703) 948-3200. Our common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol VRSN. VERISIGN, the VERISIGN logo, and certain other product or service names are registered or unregistered trademarks in the U.S. and other countries. Other names used in this Form 10-K may be trademarks of their respective owners. Our primary website is https://www.verisign.com. The information available on, or accessible through, this website is not incorporated in this Form 10-K by reference.
 
Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), are available, free of charge, on the Investor Relations section of our website as soon as is reasonably practicable after filing such reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The SEC maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at https://www.sec.gov.

Pursuant to our agreements with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”), we make available files containing all active domain names registered in the .com and .net registries. Further, we also make available a summary of the active zone count registered in the .com and .net registries and the number of .com and .net domain name registrations in the domain name base. The zone counts and information on how to obtain access to the zone files can be found at https://www.verisign.com/zone. The domain name base is the active zone plus the number of domain names that are registered but not configured for use in the respective top-level domain zone file plus the number of domain names that are in a client or server hold status. The domain name base may also reflect compensated or uncompensated judicial or administrative actions to add or remove from the active zone an immaterial number of domain names. These files and the related summary data are updated at least once per day. The update times may vary each day. The number of domain names provided in this Form 10-K are as of midnight of the date reported.

We announce material financial information to our investors using our investor relations website https://investor.verisign.com, SEC filings, investor events, news and earnings releases, public conference calls and webcasts. We use these channels as well as social media to communicate with our investors and the public about our company, our products and services, and other issues. It is possible that the information we post on social media could be deemed to be material information. Therefore, we encourage investors, the media, and others interested in our company to review the information we post on the social media channels and websites listed below. This list may be updated from time to time on our investor relations website.
https://facebook.com/Verisign
https://twitter.com/Verisign
https://linkedIn.com/company/Verisign
https://youTube.com/user/Verisign
https://verisign.com
https://blog.Verisign.com

The contents of these websites are not intended to be incorporated by reference into this Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file.

Services
We operate the authoritative directory of and/or the back-end systems for all .com, .net, .cc, .gov, .edu and .name domain names, among others. Our services allow individuals and organizations to establish their online identities, while providing the secure, always-on access they need to communicate and transact reliably with large-scale online audiences.
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We are the exclusive registry of domain names within the .com, .net, and .name generic top-level domains (“gTLDs”), among others, under agreements with ICANN and also, with respect to the .com agreement, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“DOC”). We are also the exclusive registry of domain names within certain transliterations of .com and .net in a number of different native languages and scripts (“IDN gTLDs”). As a registry, we maintain the authoritative directory of all second-level domain names (e.g., example.com and example.net) in these gTLDs and IDN gTLDs. Our global constellation of DNS servers provides internet protocol (“IP”) address information in response to queries, enabling the use of browsers, email systems, and other systems on the internet. In addition, we own and maintain our shared registration system that allows ICANN-accredited registrars to enter new second-level domain names into Verisign operated central directories and to submit modifications, transfers, re-registrations, and deletions for existing second-level domain names (“Shared Registration System”).
 
In addition to our registry agreements with ICANN, we have agreements to operate the registries for the .tv and .cc country code top-level domains (“ccTLDs”) for Tuvalu and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, respectively, and to operate the technical systems for the .gov and .edu sponsored TLDs. These TLDs are also supported by our global constellation of DNS servers and Shared Registration System. We did not participate in the Tuvalu government’s rebid of the contract to operate .tv, and we anticipate transitioning the operation of the .tv registry during 2022. We will continue to operate .tv until the transition.
 
We also provide internationalized domain name (“IDN”) services that enable internet users to access domain names in characters representing their local language. Our gTLDs and ccTLDs can support standards-compliant domain name registrations in over 100 different native languages and scripts.
We also perform the root zone maintainer function under an agreement with ICANN for the core of the internet’s DNS and operate two of the 13 root zone servers that contain authoritative data for the top of the DNS hierarchy.
Domain names can be registered for between one and 10 years. The fees charged for .com, .net and .name may only be increased according to adjustments prescribed in our agreements with ICANN over the applicable term. Revenues for .cc and .tv domain names and our IDN gTLDs are based on a similar fee system and registration system, although the fees charged are not subject to the same pricing restrictions as those for .com, as established in the Cooperative Agreement and the .com Registry Agreement, and for .net and .name, as established in those respective Registry Agreements. The fees received from operating the .gov TLD are based on the terms of Verisign’s agreement with the U.S. government. The fees from our performance of the technical operations for other TLDs, are based on the terms of Verisign’s agreements with those respective registry operators.
 
Operations Infrastructure

Our operations infrastructure consists of secure data centers in Dulles, Virginia; Ashburn, Virginia; New Castle, Delaware; and Fribourg, Switzerland as well as more than 100 other sites around the world. Our domain name servers refer requestors to the associated authoritative name servers for second level domains under our TLDs, thus enabling DNS resolution for every .com and .net domain name on the internet and for domain names under a large number of other TLDs. Our servers process hundreds of billions of queries daily. Our operations infrastructure operates 24 hours a day, supporting the security, integrity and availability of our services. The performance and availability of our infrastructure are critical for our business. Key features of our operations infrastructure include:
 
Distributed Servers:  We operate a large number of high-speed servers globally to support localized transaction volume and performance demands. In conjunction with our proprietary software, processes and procedures, this global constellation of servers offers rapid failover, global and local load balancing, and threshold monitoring on critical servers.
 
Networking:  We deploy and maintain a redundant and diverse global network, maintain high-speed, redundant connections to numerous internet service providers, and maintain peering relationships globally to ensure that our critical services are readily accessible to end users at all times.
 
Security:  We incorporate architectural concepts such as protected domains, restricted nodes, and distributed access control in our system architecture. In addition, we employ firewalls and intrusion detection software, as well as proprietary security mechanisms at many points across our infrastructure. We perform continuous internal vulnerability testing and periodic controls audits, and also contract with third-party security organizations to perform periodic penetration tests and security risk assessments on our systems. We have engineered resiliency and diversity into how we host classes of products throughout our set of interconnected sites to reduce the risk of unknown vendor defects and zero-day security vulnerabilities. This includes different physical security silos, which themselves are separated into bulkheads, and in which servers are located. Corporate networks are in their own physical silo. Thus, the corporate networks to which personnel directly connect are separated from the silos that house production services; administration of production gear from corporate systems must go through internal, fortified intermediaries; and account credentials used within the corporate networks are not used within the production silos.

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Data Integrity: We employ both phased and systemic integrity validation operations via a number of proprietary mechanisms on all internal DNS publication operations.
 
We continuously expand our infrastructure to meet demands to support normal and peak system load and attack volumes based on what we have experienced historically, as well as to address projected internet attack trends.
 
Call Centers and Service Desk:  We provide customer support services over the phone, by email and through web-based self-help systems. Our support teams are staffed with trained technical customer support agents. Support is available for customers 24 hours a day. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our support teams have continued servicing our customers while working remotely.
 
Operations Support and Monitoring:  Through our network operations center, we have an extensive monitoring capability that enables us to track the status and performance of our critical systems, network and services. Our network operations center monitors our systems 24 hours a day and has continued to be staffed by employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Disaster Recovery Plans:  We have disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities that are designed to deal with the loss of entire data centers and other facilities. We maintain data centers with mirrored services that allow failover with no data loss and no loss of function or capacity, as well as a tertiary facility in Switzerland. Our critical data services (including domain name registration and global resolution) use advanced storage systems that provide data protection through techniques such as synchronous mirroring and remote replication. We periodically operate services at an alternate data center during maintenance windows to ensure the availability of our data centers for disaster recovery.
Marketing, Sales and Distribution
We seek to expand our business through focused marketing campaigns and programs that target growth in the .com and .net domain name base, both domestically and in foreign markets. We provide tools to be used by both registrars and end users to enable them to find relevant domain names. We have marketing and sales offices in several countries around the world.
Research and Development
We believe that timely development of new and enhanced services, including monitoring and visualization, registry provisioning platforms, navigation and resolution services, data services, value added services, and new and enhanced ways to ensure the security, stability, and resiliency of our services, is necessary to remain competitive in the marketplace.
Our future success will depend, in large part, on our ability to continue to maintain and enhance our current technologies and services and to develop new ones. We actively investigate and incubate new concepts and evaluate new business ideas through our innovation pipeline. We expect that most of the future enhancements to our existing services and our new services will be the result of internal development efforts in collaboration with suppliers, other vendors, customers, and the technology community. Under certain circumstances, we may also acquire or license technology from third parties.
The markets for our services are dynamic, characterized by ongoing technological developments, shifting channel dynamics, frequent new product introductions, and evolving industry standards. The constantly changing nature of these markets and the continued evolution of security threats will require us to continually improve the performance, features, and reliability of our services, and to introduce both new and enhanced products and services.
Competition  
We face competition in the domain name registry space from other gTLD and ccTLD registries that are competing for the business of entities and individuals that are seeking to obtain a domain name registration. In addition to the gTLD and ccTLD registries we operate or for which we provide back-end registry services, there are over 1,100 other operational gTLD registries, over 250 ASCII ccTLD registries, more than 50 IDN ccTLD registries, and over 90 IDN gTLD registries. Under our agreements with ICANN, we are subject to certain restrictions in the operation of .com, .net and .name on pricing, bundling, marketing, methods of distribution, introduction of new registry services, and use of registrars, that do not apply to ccTLDs and other gTLDs and therefore may create a competitive disadvantage. Among our competitors operating gTLD and ccTLD registries are China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), DENIC, Nominet, Public Interest Registry (PIR), Donuts, GoDaddy, and Radix.
To the extent end-users navigate using search engines or social media, as opposed to direct navigation via domain names, or transact on e-commerce platforms, we face competition from search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Baidu, social media networks such as Facebook and WeChat, e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Taobao, and microblogging tools such as Twitter. In addition, we face competition from these social media and e-commerce platforms if they are used by businesses and individuals to establish an online presence rather than through the use of a domain name.
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Furthermore, to the extent end-users increase the use of mobile applications to locate and access content, we face competition from providers of such web and mobile applications.
New technologies and the expansion of existing technologies may increase competitive pressure. Our industry is characterized by collaborative relationships involving our competitors. In the past, certain of our competitors have consolidated. Our ability to participate and benefit from such collaborative arrangements or consolidations may be limited and such collaborative arrangements and consolidations could harm our competitive position and adversely impact our business.
Industry Regulation
The internet is governed under a multi-stakeholder model comprising civil society, the private sector, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as ICANN, governments, including the U.S. government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations. ICANN plays a central coordination role in this bottom-up multi-stakeholder system. ICANN is mandated through its bylaws to uphold a private sector-led multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance for the public benefit. ICANN’s multi-stakeholder policy development processes have created, and will continue to create, policies, programs, and standards that directly or indirectly impact our business. Certain policies can be adopted as Consensus or Temporary Policies, which we are obligated to follow under our agreements with ICANN. For example, in response to the General Data Protection Regulation, ICANN issued a Temporary Policy modifying public access to information from the Whois services delivered by registrars and registries.
We are also subject to country-level laws and regulations in the United States and in international locations. In China, we are required to maintain licenses for .com, .net, .tv and .cc under regulations issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The licenses for .com and .net must be renewed in 2022. Additionally, in many jurisdictions in which we operate, including California, the European Union, the United Kingdom, China and elsewhere, strict new data security and data privacy regulations have been, or are being, adopted. Because we do not possess extensive personal information, we have not yet experienced significant impacts from these regulations. However, compliance costs and other business impacts could become significant if we begin to receive personal registrant information in our .com and .net TLDs and as regulatory enforcement increases, as courts interpret these regulations, and as new laws and regulations continue to be adopted. Other regulations, or changes to regulations, may also impact our business operations, including changes to the Digital Services Act or Network and Information Security Directive, in the European Union, or the Communications Decency Act, in the United States.
.com Top-Level Domain
Our operation of the .com TLD is subject to the terms of a registry agreement with ICANN (as amended, the “.com Registry Agreement”). The current term of the .com Registry Agreement is six years and must be renewed or extended by November 30, 2024. Although the .com Registry Agreement contains a “presumptive” right of renewal, ICANN could terminate or refuse to renew the Registry Agreement. See “Risk Factors - Any loss or modification of our right to operate the .com and .net gTLDs could have a material adverse impact on our business and result in loss of revenues.” in Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K for further information.
Other significant terms within the .com Registry Agreement include performance specifications and service level agreements for the availability of our DNS resolution services, our shared registration system, and our Whois services. The .com Registry Agreement contains marketing limitations, including limitations on our ability to bundle products and the manner in which we provide marketing support to ICANN-accredited registrars. We are also required under the .com Registry Agreement to provide ICANN-accredited registrars with access to our systems to register or take other actions related to domain names. In order to introduce new Registry Services or make material changes to existing Registry Services, we must follow prescribed procedures which permit ICANN to review and approve such services.
The .com Registry Agreement requires that on a quarterly basis we pay $0.25 to ICANN for each annual term of a domain name registered or renewed during such quarter. Amendment 3 to the .com Registry Agreement permits an increase to the Maximum Price (as defined in the .com Registry Agreement) of .com domain name registrations by up to 7% over the previous year in each of the final four years of each six-year period. The first such six-year period began on October 26, 2018. Amendment 3 also clarified that the restrictions in the .com Registry Agreement relating to vertical integration apply solely to the .com TLD and also clarified that our ability to increase prices by 7% over the previous year due to new ICANN Consensus Policies or documented extraordinary expense may occur only in years where we do not otherwise take the price increases described above.
Our operation of the .com TLD is also subject to the terms of a Cooperative Agreement with the DOC. The Cooperative Agreement has undergone various amendments with the most recent, Amendment 35, on October 26, 2018. Amendment 35 extended the term of the Cooperative Agreement until November 30, 2024, which will automatically renew on the same terms for successive six-year terms unless the DOC provides written notice of non-renewal 120 days prior to the end of the then-current term.
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Amendment 35 includes the DOC’s consent to the modification of the pricing terms in the .com Registry Agreement (as described above). The Cooperative Agreement further provides that we shall be entitled at any time during the term of the .com Registry Agreement to seek to remove the pricing restrictions contained in the .com Registry Agreement if we demonstrate to the DOC that market conditions no longer warrant pricing restrictions in the .com Registry Agreement, as determined by the DOC.
DOC approval of changes to or the renewal of the .com Registry Agreement was limited by Amendment 35 to only the following circumstances: (1) changes to the pricing provisions (other than as approved in Amendment 35), (2) changes to the vertical integration provisions (other than the clarification approved in Amendment 35), (3) changes to the security, stability and resiliency posture as reflected in the functional or performance specifications (including the service level agreements), (4) changes to the conditions for renewal or termination of the .com Registry Agreement, or (5) changes to the Whois service (except as mandated by ICANN through Temporary or Consensus Policies). As was the case with prior amendments, Amendment 35 is not intended to confer federal antitrust immunity on the Company with respect to the .com Registry Agreement.
Finally, Amendment 35 clarified that the restrictions in the .com Registry Agreement relating to vertical integration apply solely to the .com TLD. As to the .com TLD, we are not permitted to acquire, directly or indirectly, control of, or a greater than 15% ownership interest in, any ICANN-accredited registrar that sells .com domain names. In addition, under Amendment 35, we have agreed to continue to operate the .com TLD in a content-neutral manner and to work within ICANN processes to promote the development of content-neutral policies for the operation of the DNS.
.net Top-Level Domain
Our operation of the .net TLD is subject to the terms of a registry agreement with ICANN (as amended, the “.net Registry Agreement”). The current term of this agreement is six years and must be renewed or extended by July 1, 2023. The terms of the .net Registry Agreement are substantially similar to the terms of the .com Registry Agreement, except that we are entitled to raise the annual price for new and renewal .net domain name registrations by 10% each year.
Root Operations
We operate two of the world’s thirteen root servers. Along with the ICANN community, we are involved in discussions to establish criteria for operations of the root server system including the root servers that we operate. We also publish the root zone file, as the Root Zone Maintainer, under the Root Zone Maintainer Service Agreement (“RZMA”) with ICANN. The RZMA will expire on October 19, 2024, with an automatic renewal, unless earlier terminated.
The descriptions of the .com Registry Agreement, the Cooperative Agreement, and the .net Registry Agreement are qualified in their entirety by reference to the text of the complete agreements that are incorporated by reference as exhibits in this Form 10-K.
Human Capital Management
We recognize the importance of talent and culture in driving an environment that fosters high performance. Our employee value proposition and collaborative working environment allows us to attract a strong talent base to meet the current and future demands of our business.
We are committed to attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent, and we routinely monitor and present our progress in these areas to executive management and the Compensation Committee of our Board of Directors through a variety of workforce metrics (e.g. workforce demographics, hiring, turnover, and promotion rates, including diversity characteristics for each of these metrics). As of December 31, 2021, we had 904 employees, of which 902 were full-time. 838 employees (representing approximately 93% of our total workforce) were based in the U.S., and 66 employees (representing approximately 7% of our total workforce) were based outside the U.S. As of December 31, 2021, approximately 29% of our global workforce was female, and approximately 43% of our U.S. employees were ethnically and racially diverse. No U.S.-based employees are represented under collective bargaining agreements. Based on periodic monitoring, we believe that our employee turnover rate is relatively low compared to competitive benchmarks and historical trends. We attribute our strong retention rates to our passion and focus on the Company’s mission and values, continual development of talent, and the delivery of competitive and equitable reward programs. We regularly review our workforce policies, procedures, and training programs, as well as our overall workforce demographics, in an effort to create a work environment that is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and free from discrimination.
Key human capital areas that we focus on in managing our business include Employee Engagement and Retention, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Compensation and Employee Benefits, Talent Development, and Talent Acquisition.
Employee Engagement and Retention: We use employee feedback to monitor morale and engagement. During 2021, we conducted several surveys to better understand our employees’ well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic and to more effectively guide our response. These surveys included two directed to all employees, one directed only to our
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onsite employees and one directed only to our leaders. At least 85% of the applicable employee populations participated in each of these surveys. The results indicated high satisfaction rates with our on-going response to, and communications during, the pandemic. In addition, the survey results indicated that our employees remain highly engaged and connected with our mission and values. Moreover, when we hire talent, they tend to stay. The average tenure of our employees is approximately 9 years.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): We are a diverse organization, and we believe that drives stronger performance, better decision making, and a culture where differences are valued. We continue to focus on the hiring, retention, and advancement of women and underrepresented populations, and we are committed to making progress towards increasing workforce diversity. In 2021, we conducted a diversity, equity and inclusion review of our recruiting, retention and workplace processes with the help of an outside advisor. This resulted in the development of a comprehensive strategy and roadmap designed to assist us in building upon our strong foundation while outlining areas for improvement.
Compensation and Employee Benefits: To align with our philosophy of providing compelling total rewards, we have practices in place to deliver fair and equitable compensation for employees based on their contribution and performance. We benchmark for market practices and regularly review our compensation and benefits against the market to confirm they remain competitive. We also offer a broad and comprehensive set of benefits to meet the needs of our diverse workforce. We regularly perform adverse impact analyses on base pay, annual incentives and long-term incentives to help calibrate compensation.
Talent Development: We are committed to the continued development of our people. Strategic talent reviews and succession planning occur on a regular basis. Our management training is designed to increase capability in the areas of communication, engagement, coaching, conflict management and business skills, while fostering an ethical, supportive work environment free from bias and harassment. We sponsor continuous skill development for all employees through our online learning and development platform. In addition, we host a series of instructor-led and on-demand learning sessions designed to build our team’s skills and knowledge required for the future.
Talent Acquisition: We are focused on the increasingly competitive labor market, and we are working diligently to attract the best talent from a diverse range of sources. To assist in this effort, we have broadened our sourcing strategies, refreshed our employment branding and developed targeted recruitment strategies for specialized skill sets. In 2021, we hired 82 new employees.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and well-being of our employees has remained a key focus and priority. Throughout 2021, approximately 94% of our employees continued in a work-from-home status. To protect the health of our employees who work on site, we have rigorous cleaning and safety protocols for our facilities. We also track the vaccination status of our employees in order to respond, as applicable, to any requirements or mandates by government regulation. We adjusted employee leave and other policies with the intention of providing our workforce with flexibility it needs to manage personal challenges arising from the pandemic. We enhanced mental health resources available to our employees, and unique individual requirements are supported to the greatest degree possible. We also continue to provide our employees with the equipment and resources that they require to work remotely. Finally, we monitor the physical and mental well-being of our employees through frequent leadership updates and regular management outreach.
The following table shows a comparison of our consolidated employee headcount, by function:
As of December 31,
202120202019
Employee headcount by function:
Cost of revenues235 235 259 
Sales and marketing74 68 71 
Research and development250 260 214 
General and administrative345 346 328 
Total904 909 872 
Intellectual Property
We rely on a combination of copyrighted software, trademarks, service marks, patents, trade secrets, know-how, restrictions on disclosure, and other methods to protect our proprietary assets. We also enter into confidentiality and/or intellectual property assignment agreements with our employees, consultants and current and potential affiliates, customers and business partners. We also control access to and distribution of proprietary documentation and other confidential information.
We have been issued numerous patents in the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of our technologies. Additionally, we continue to file patent applications with respect to certain of our technologies in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and
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internationally. Patents may not be awarded with respect to these applications and even if such patents are awarded, such patents may not provide sufficient protection of our technologies. We continue to consider opportunities for strategic growth and use of our patent portfolio.
We have obtained trademark registrations for the VERISIGN mark and VERISIGN logo in the U.S. and certain countries, and have pending trademark applications for the VERISIGN logo in a number of other countries. We have common law rights in other proprietary names. We take steps to enforce and police Verisign’s trademarks. We rely on the strength of our Verisign brand to help differentiate ourselves in the marketing of our products and services.
Our principal intellectual property consists of, and our success is dependent upon, proprietary software used in our business and certain methodologies (many of which are patented or for which patent applications are pending) and technical expertise and proprietary know-how we use in both the design and implementation of our current and future registry services. We own our proprietary Shared Registration System through which registrars submit second-level domain name registrations for each of the registries we operate, as well as the ATLAS distributed lookup system which processes hundreds of billions of queries per day. Some of the software and protocols used in our business are in the public domain or are otherwise available to our competitors, and some are based on open standards set by organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force. To the extent any of our patents are considered “standard essential patents,” we may be required to license such patents to our competitors on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms or otherwise be limited in our ability to assert such patents.
 
Information About Our Executive Officers

The following table sets forth information regarding our executive officers as of February 18, 2022:
NameAgePosition
D. James Bidzos66 Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Todd B. Strubbe58 President and Chief Operating Officer
George E. Kilguss, III61 Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Thomas C. Indelicarto58 Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
D. James Bidzos has served as Executive Chairman since August 2009 and Chief Executive Officer since August 2011. He served as President from August 2011 to February 2020. He served as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on an interim basis from June 2008 to August 2009 and served as President from June 2008 to January 2009. He served as Chairman of the Board since August 2007 and from April 1995 to December 2001. He served as Vice Chairman of the Board from December 2001 to August 2007. Mr. Bidzos served as a director of VeriSign Japan from March 2008 to August 2010 and served as Representative Director of VeriSign Japan from March 2008 to September 2008. Mr. Bidzos served as Vice Chairman of RSA Security Inc., an internet identity and access management solution provider, from March 1999 to May 2002, and Executive Vice President from July 1996 to February 1999. Prior thereto, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of RSA Data Security, Inc. from 1986 to February 1999.
Todd B. Strubbe has served as Chief Operating Officer since April 2015 and President since February 2020. From September 2009 to April 2015, he served as the President of the Unified Communications Business Segment for West Corporation, a provider of technology-driven communications services. Prior to this, he was a co-founder and Managing Partner of Arbor Capital, LLC. He has also served in executive leadership positions at First Data Corporation and CompuBank, N.A. and as an associate and then as an engagement manager with McKinsey & Company, Inc. He also served for five years as an infantry officer with the United States Army. Mr. Strubbe holds an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School and a B.S. degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
George E. Kilguss, III has served as Chief Financial Officer since May 2012. From April 2008 to May 2012, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Internap Network Services Corporation, an IT infrastructure solutions company. From December 2003 to December 2007, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Towerstream Corporation, a company that delivers high speed wireless internet access to businesses. From 1997 to 2000, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Stratos Global Corporation, a mobile satellite services company. Mr. Kilguss holds an M.B.A. degree from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business and a B.S. degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Hartford.
Thomas C. Indelicarto has served as General Counsel and Secretary since November 2014. From September 2008 to November 2014, he served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel. From January 2006 to September 2008, he served as Litigation Counsel. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Indelicarto was in private practice as an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP and Buchanan Ingersoll (now, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC). Mr. Indelicarto also served as a U.S. Army officer for nine years. Mr. Indelicarto holds a J.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a B.S. degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
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ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS
Please carefully consider the following discussion of significant factors, events and uncertainties that make an investment in our securities risky. In addition to other information in this Form 10-K, the following risk factors should be carefully considered in evaluating us and our business. When the factors, events and contingencies described below or elsewhere in this Form 10-K materialize, our business, operating results, financial condition, reputation, cash flows or prospects can be materially adversely affected. In such case, the trading price of our common stock could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also materially adversely affect our business, operating results, financial condition, reputation, cash flows and prospects. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements contained in this Form 10-K as a result of the risk factors discussed below and elsewhere in this Form 10-K and in other filings we make with the SEC. Additional or unforeseen effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic climate may give rise to or amplify many of the risks discussed below.
Cybersecurity and Technology Risk Factors
Attempted security breaches, including from the exploitation of vulnerabilities, cyber-attacks and Distributed Denial of Service (“DDoS”) attacks against our systems and services increase our costs, expose us to potentially material liability, and could materially harm our business and reputation.
As an operator of critical internet infrastructure, we experience a high rate of cyber-attacks and attempted security breaches targeting our systems and services, including the most sophisticated forms of attacks, such as advanced persistent threat attacks, exploitation of zero-day vulnerabilities, ransomware attacks, and social engineering attacks. The forms of these attacks are constantly evolving and may involve methods, tools and strategies that may not have been previously identified and may not have been observed until the moment of launch, or until sometime after, making these attacks virtually impossible to anticipate and difficult to defend against. In addition to external threats, our systems and services are subject to insider threat risks, including physical or electronic break-ins, sabotage, and risks from suppliers, such as consultants and advisors, SaaS providers, hardware, software, and network systems manufacturers, regional internet registries, and other vendors, or from current or former contractors or employees. These threats and any resulting security breaches can arise from intentional or unintentional actions. Our continued exposure to these threats and the potential that they could lead to material liability claims against us requires us to expend significant financial and other resources. We have developed policies, procedures and standards to identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover from threats posed by cybersecurity risks, and failure to comply with these policies, procedures and standards by our employees or suppliers could limit our ability to effectively manage threats from these cybersecurity risks. In addition, we must ensure that our employees stay focused on cybersecurity threats especially in remote or hybrid work environment, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, or our ability to effectively manage cybersecurity risks could be impacted. Our failure to effectively manage these security risks, including insider threats, could result in material harm to our business, including loss of or delay in revenues, failure to meet contracted service level obligations, material liability claims, failure to maintain market acceptance, injury to our reputation, and increased costs, and could call into question our ability to preserve the security and stability of the internet.
Security vulnerabilities in our systems and our vendors’ systems, including vulnerabilities in third party software and hardware, pose a material risk to our operations. We use externally-developed technology, systems and services, including both hardware and software, for a variety of purposes, including compute, storage, encryption and authentication, back-office support, and other functions. We have developed policies, procedures, and standards to reduce the impact of security vulnerabilities in system components, as well as at any vendors where our data is stored or processed. However, such measures cannot provide absolute security. While we strive to remediate known vulnerabilities on a timely basis, such vulnerabilities could be exploited before our remediation is effective and if so, could cause systems and service interruptions, data loss and other damages. Our failure to identify, remediate and mitigate security vulnerabilities, including any potential failure to timely replace and upgrade hardware, software, or other technology assets, could result in material harm to our business, including loss of or delay in revenues, failure to meet contracted service level obligations, material liability claims, failure to maintain market acceptance, injury to our reputation, increased costs, and call into question our ability to preserve the security and stability of the internet.
In addition, our networks have been, and likely will continue to be, subject to DDoS attacks. Recent industry experience has demonstrated that DDoS attacks continue to grow in size and sophistication and have the ability to widely disrupt internet services. In recent years, the size of DDoS attacks has grown rapidly. We have successfully mitigated DDoS attacks during this time frame that are significantly larger than those we have historically experienced. While we have adopted mitigation techniques, procedures and strategies to defend against DDoS attacks, there can be no assurance that we will be able to defend against every attack, especially as the attacks increase in size and sophistication. Any attack, even if only partially successful, could disrupt our networks, increase response time, negatively impact our ability to meet our service level obligations, and generally impede our ability to provide reliable service to our customers and the broader internet community. We have historically incurred, and will continue to incur, significant costs to enable our infrastructure to process levels of attack traffic that are significant multiples of our normal transaction volume. We are employing new technologies and new and different
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services and capabilities to help mitigate DDoS attacks. If these new technologies, services and capabilities are not effective, our networks could be disrupted, our response times could increase, our ability to meet our contracted service level obligations could be negatively impacted, and our ability to provide reliable service to our customers and the broader internet community could be impeded.
We do not maintain specific reserves for security breaches, cyber-attacks and DDoS attacks against our systems and the amount of insurance coverage we maintain may be inadequate to cover claims or liabilities relating to such attacks.
We may introduce undetected or unknown defects into our systems or services, which could materially harm our business and harm our vendors or our customers.
Despite testing, services as complex as those we offer or develop could contain undetected defects or errors, which could result in service outages or disruptions, compromised customer data, including DNS data, diversion of development resources, injury to our reputation, tort or contract claims, increased insurance costs or increased service costs. Performance of our services, whether or not defective, could have unforeseen or unknown adverse effects on the networks over which they are delivered, on internet users and consumers, and on third-party applications and services that use our services, any of which could result in legal claims against us. While we strive to prevent, detect and remediate defects or errors, they can and do occur and they could result in our inability to meet customer expectations in a timely manner, failure to meet our contracted service level obligations, injury to our reputation, and increased costs.
Our infrastructure and services are subject to vulnerabilities in the global routing system for the internet, as well as risks arising from internet services providers’ increasing adoption of the Resource Public Key Infrastructure system.
Routing on the internet depends on the Border Gateway Protocol (“BGP”), which is a protocol that relies on networks within the internet infrastructure acting in a trustworthy manner when sharing information about destinations for connectivity and the routing of internet traffic. As a trust-based protocol, BGP has a number of vulnerabilities that may lead to outages or disrupt our services, including as a result of “route hijacks” that involve accidental or malicious rerouting of internet traffic, or “route leaks” that involve the malicious or unintentional propagation of routing information beyond the intended scope of the originator, receiver, and/or one of the networks along the route’s path. Both route hijacks and route leaks can result in partial or full rerouting of internet traffic for the impacted destinations. These types of events, which are generally beyond our control, could enable an array of attack conditions or service disruptions, and could result in adverse publicity and adversely affect the public’s perception of the security of e-commerce and communications over the internet, as well as of the security or reliability of our services.
To address internet routing system vulnerabilities, many internet service providers are beginning to adopt and apply internet reachability policies based on a system known as the Resource Public Key Infrastructure (“RPKI”) operated by the regional internet registries (“RIRs”). The RIRs allocate internet number resources, such as internet protocol addresses, to enterprises and network operators. We have limited visibility into the maturity of and investment in the RIRs’ operational and security controls, which are outside of our control. When the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of any of the information in the RPKI system, or systems used to maintain and administer RPKI data and systems, are impacted or otherwise compromised in any of the RIRs, or any network operator that is a relying party of the RPKI system, or the operations or ingestion of data from the RPKI system are otherwise impacted by a known or unknown vulnerability, our services may be negatively impacted. Such impacts may include degraded or full loss of reachability of service addresses in the global internet routing system, resulting in degradation or complete loss of availability of our services. A compromise of the RPKI system and related services, or unintentional or unauthorized manipulation of data therein, may also result in other denial of service attack conditions for our infrastructure and services. The systemic dependencies introduced by RPKI and the relying parties of the RPKI system, including network service providers, are outside of our control, and systems that depend upon the RPKI may be only as secure as the weakest elements of the RPKI system. We may contract with one or more RIRs to employ RPKI, which carries material operational risks, as described above, as well as material contractual risks, which may expose us to service disruptions and material liability.
We could encounter system interruptions or systems failures resulting from activities beyond our direct control that could materially harm our business.
We depend on the uninterrupted operation of our various systems, secure data centers and other computer and communication networks. Our systems and operations are vulnerable to damage or interruption from power loss, transmission cable cuts and other telecommunications failures, damage or interruption caused by fire, earthquake, and other natural disasters, intentional acts of vandalism, terrorist attacks, unintentional mistakes or errors. Our systems and operations also face risks inherent in, or arising from, the terms and conditions of our agreements with service providers to operate our networks and data centers. We are also subject to state suppression of internet operations. Any of these problems or outages could create potential liability and exposure, including from a failure to meet our contracted service level obligations, and could decrease customer satisfaction, harming our business, or resulting in adverse publicity and damage to our reputation or call into question our ability to preserve the security and stability of the internet.
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Our data centers, our data center systems, including the Shared Registration Systems located at our data centers, and our resolution systems are vulnerable to damage or interruption, which could impede our ability to provide our services, expose us to material liability, and materially harm our reputation.
Most of the computing infrastructure for our Shared Registration System is located at, and most of our customer information is stored in, our owned data centers. In 2019, we began expanding some of our data center services to a leased data center facility. These data centers are vulnerable to damage or interruption, including from natural disasters, such as fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, power loss, hardware or system failures, physical or electronic break-ins, human error or interference. We are also updating our network architecture in several of our new and existing data centers. If our data center facilities or the updated network architecture do not operate as expected, including the ability to quickly switch over between sites, we could experience service interruptions or outages. A failure in the operation of our Shared Registration System could result in the inability of one or more registrars to register or manage domain names for a period of time. If such a registrar has not implemented robust services in a manner that preserves transactions until processed by the registry, then the failure in the operation of our Shared Registration System could result in permanent loss of transactions at the registrar during that period. A failure in the operation of our Shared Registration System could also impact our ability to provide up-to-date information in our resolution systems, which could result in breaches of our service level obligations pertaining to our resolution services and impact the resolution of domain names on the internet. Although we carry insurance, we do not carry insurance or designated financial reserves for such interruptions.
In addition, our services depend on the secure and efficient operation of the internet connections to and from customers to our Shared Registration System residing in our secure data centers. These connections depend upon the secure and efficient operation of internet service providers, internet exchange point operators, and internet backbone service providers. Such providers have encountered periodic operational problems or experienced outages in the past beyond our scope of control and may continue to encounter problems and outages or may choose to discontinue their service. If the providers that our connections depend upon do not protect, maintain, improve, and reinvest in their networks or present inconsistent data regarding the DNS through their networks, our business could be harmed.
A failure in the operation or update of the root zone servers, the root zone file, the Root Zone Management System, the TLD name servers, or the TLD zone files that we operate, including, for example, the .gov registry, or other network functions, could result in, among other problems, (1) a DNS resolution or other service outage or degradation, (2) the deletion of one or more TLDs from the internet, (3) the deletion of one or more second-level domain names from the internet, or (4) a misdirection of one or more domain names to different servers. A failure in the operation or update of the supporting cryptographic and other operational infrastructure that we maintain could result in similar consequences. Any of these problems or outages could create potential material liability and exposure from litigation and investigations, could result in a failure to meet our service level agreements, and could decrease customer satisfaction, harming our business. These problems could also result in adverse publicity, decrease the public’s trust in the security of e-commerce, or call into question our ability to preserve the security and stability of the internet.
We retain certain customer and employee information in our data centers and various domain name registration systems. Any physical or electronic break-in or other security breach or compromise of the information stored at our data centers or domain name registration systems may jeopardize the security of information we retain or that is retained in the computer systems and networks of our customers. In such an event, we could face material liability and exposure from litigation and investigations, fail to meet contracted service level obligations, or be at risk for loss of various security and standards-based compliance certifications needed for operation of our businesses, and customers could be reluctant to use our services, any of which could also adversely affect our reputation and harm our business or cause financial losses that are either not insured against or not fully covered through any insurance.
We face risks from the operation of the root server system and our performance of the Root Zone Maintainer functions under the RZMA.
Although the overall root server system is redundant and dispersed, a failure or interruption in the operation of the root server system could impact the effectiveness of our .com and .net authoritative servers and therefore negatively impact directory services necessary for the operation of the internet. We also have an important operational role in support of a key Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (“IANA”) function as the Root Zone Maintainer. In this role, we provision and publish the authoritative root zone data and make it available to all root server operators under the RZMA with ICANN. If we make errors in the publication of the root zone, we may be subject to material claims challenging the RZMA or our performance under it, including tort claims, and we may not have immunity from, or sufficient indemnification or insurance for, such claims.
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Contractual, Regulatory, Legal and Compliance Risk Factors
Any loss or modification of our right to operate the .com and .net gTLDs could have a material adverse impact on our business and result in loss of revenues.
Substantially all of our revenues are derived from our operation of the .com gTLD under our Cooperative Agreement with the DOC and our .com Registry Agreement as well as our operation of the .net gTLD under our .net Registry Agreement. Any loss or modification of our right to operate the .com and .net gTLDs could materially and adversely impact our ability to conduct our business and result in loss of revenues. Our .com and .net Registry Agreements contain “presumptive” rights of renewal upon the expiration of their current terms on November 30, 2024 and June 30, 2023, respectively. ICANN could refuse to renew upon expiration or terminate our .com Registry Agreement or our .net Registry Agreement if, upon proper notice, (1) we fail to cure a fundamental and material breach of certain specified obligations, and (2) we fail to timely comply with a final decision of an arbitrator or court. Additionally, each of the .com and .net Registry Agreements provide that if certain terms of these agreements are not similar to such terms generally in effect in the registry agreements of the five largest gTLDs, then a renewal of these agreements would be upon terms reasonably necessary to render such terms to be similar to the registry agreements for those other gTLDs. Any such terms, if they apply, could be unfavorable to us and have a material adverse impact on our business.
Standard renewals of the .com Registry Agreement do not require further DOC approval, although the prior written approval of the DOC is required for the removal of, or any changes to the pricing section (other than as approved in Amendment 35 to the Cooperative Agreement) and for changes to certain other specified terms whether such removal or changes is made at a renewal or otherwise. We can provide no assurances that DOC approval would be provided upon our request for any of these changes.
In addition, under Amendment 35 to the Cooperative Agreement, we have agreed to continue to operate the .com gTLD in a content-neutral manner and to work within ICANN processes to promote the development of content-neutral policies for the operation of the DNS, and under our binding letter of intent with ICANN, we have agreed to work with the ICANN community to develop certain best practices and other commitments for the security, stability and resiliency of the DNS and the internet. Such policies and processes could expose us to compliance costs and substantial liability and result in costly and time-consuming investigations or litigation.
Changes or challenges to the pricing provisions in the .com Registry Agreement could have a material adverse impact on our business.
Under the terms of the .com Registry Agreement, we may increase the annual fee of each .com domain name registration or renewal by up to 7% over the previous year in each of the final four years of each six-year period. We can provide no assurance that we will exercise such right to increase the annual fee. In addition to this contractual right, we are entitled to increase the annual fee of each .com domain name registration or renewal by up to 7% due to the imposition of any new specifications or policies adopted by ICANN pursuant to the procedures set forth in its bylaws and due process (“Consensus Policies”) or documented extraordinary expense resulting from an attack or threat of attack on the security and stability of the DNS (an “Extraordinary Expense”). In addition, our ability to increase the price for .com domain name registrations and renewals due to a Consensus Policy or Extraordinary Expense may occur only in years in which we do not increase the price for .com domain name registrations and renewals as described above. It is uncertain whether circumstances would arise that would permit us to take a price increase due to a Consensus Policy or Extraordinary Expense, or if they do, whether we would seek to increase the price for .com domain name registrations for this reason. A failure to seek and obtain a price increase due to a Consensus Policy or Extraordinary Expense, when available, could negatively affect our operating results. We also have the right under the Cooperative Agreement to seek the removal of these pricing restrictions on the .com TLD if we demonstrate to the DOC that market conditions no longer warrant these restrictions. However, it is uncertain whether we will seek the removal of these restrictions, or whether the DOC would approve the removal of these restrictions.
Our .com Registry Agreement, including its pricing provisions, has faced, and could face in the future, challenges, including possible legal challenges, or challenges under ICANN’s accountability mechanisms, from ICANN, registrars, registrants, and others, and any adverse outcome from these challenges could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Government regulation and the application of new and existing laws in the U.S. and internationally may slow business growth, increase our costs of doing business, create potential material liability and have a material adverse effect on our business.
Application of new and existing laws and regulations in the U.S. or internationally to the internet or the domain name industry have imposed and may in the future impose new costs and new restrictions on our business. Laws and regulations, including those designed to restrict who can register and who can distribute domain names or to require registrants to provide additional documentation to register domain names, have, and may in the future, impose significant additional costs on our business and subject us to additional liabilities or could prevent us from operating in certain jurisdictions. For example, the
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government of China has indicated that it will issue, and has issued, new regulations, and has begun to enforce existing regulations, that impose additional costs on, and risks to, our provision of registry services in China and could impact the demand for domain name registrations in China. Registries, including us, and China-based registrars are also required by some of these regulations to obtain a government-issued license for each TLD operating in China. Any failure to obtain or renew the required licenses, or to comply with any license requirements or any updates thereto, by us or our China-based registrars could impact our current and future business in China.
In addition, laws have been and may in the future be adopted, that are designed to restrict counterfeit or illegal goods or intellectual property violations such as cybersquatting, prevent on-line abuse, increase access to registrant personal information or that restrict the transfer of data. The costs of complying or failing to comply with these laws and regulations could limit our ability to operate in our current locations, expose us to compliance costs and substantial liability, and result in costly and time-consuming litigation.
Similarly, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which greatly increases the jurisdictional reach of European Union law and adds broad new requirements for handling personal data, including the public disclosure of significant data breaches, and significant penalties, became effective in May 2018. Other countries, such as China, and other states, such as California with the California Consumer Privacy Act, have enacted or are enacting data protection laws regulating or limiting the collection, storage, and processing of personal data as well as granting new rights to data subjects. To conduct our operations, we regularly move data across national borders and receive data originating from different jurisdictions, and consequently we are subject to these continuously evolving and developing laws and regulations both in the United States and internationally regarding privacy, data protection and data security. The scope of the laws and regulations that are applicable to us is often uncertain and may be conflicting, particularly with respect to international laws and regulations. These evolving legal, regulatory and compliance frameworks could impose significant costs for us that are likely to increase over time.
Our international operations expose us and our business to additional economic, legal, regulatory and political risks that could have a material adverse impact on our revenues and business.
A significant portion of our revenues is derived from customers outside the U.S. Our business operations in international locations have required, and will continue to require, significant management attention and resources. We may also need to tailor some of our services for a particular location and to enter into international distribution and operating relationships. We may fail to maintain our ability to conduct business, including potentially material business operations in some international locations, or we may not succeed in expanding our services into new international locations or expand our presence in existing locations. Failure to do so could materially harm our business. Moreover, local laws and customs in many countries differ significantly from those in the U.S. In many foreign countries, particularly in those with developing economies, it is common for others to engage in business practices that are prohibited by our internal policies and procedures or U.S. law or regulations applicable to us. There can be no assurance that our employees, contractors and agents will not take actions in violation of such policies, procedures, laws and/or regulations. Violations of laws, regulations or internal policies and procedures by our employees, contractors or agents could result in financial reporting problems, investigations, fines, penalties, or prohibition on the importation or exportation of our products and services and could have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, we face risks inherent in doing business internationally, including:
competition with companies in international locations or other domestic companies entering international locations in which we operate, as well as local governments actively promoting ccTLDs that we do not operate;
political and economic tensions between governments and changes in international trade policies and/or the economic and trade sanctions programs administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury;
tariffs and other trade barriers and restrictions;
difficulties in staffing and managing international operations;
currency exchange rate fluctuations;
potential problems associated with adapting our services to technical conditions existing in different countries;
difficulties in verifying end-user information, including for the purposes of complying with the verification requirements of certain countries and with the economic and trade sanctions programs administered by OFAC;
more stringent privacy and data localization policies in some international jurisdictions;
additional vulnerability from terrorist groups targeting U.S. interests abroad;
potentially conflicting or adverse tax consequences;
reliance on third parties in international locations in which we only recently started doing business; and
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potential concerns of international governments or customers and prospects regarding doing business with U.S. technology companies due to alleged U.S. government data collection policies.
Escalating political tensions between the United States and China in particular may pose additional risks to our business in China. Since 2018, the United States and China have imposed tariffs on certain of each other’s exports. In 2020 and 2021, the U.S. government announced restrictions on trading with certain Chinese companies. The Chinese government subsequently announced actions that, if implemented, could impose additional restrictions on the Chinese operations of non-Chinese companies. These and future government actions impacting our ability to operate in China may cause our management’s attention to be diverted, our reputation to be damaged, or our business in China to be adversely affected.
Changes in, or interpretations of, tax rules and regulations or our tax positions may materially and adversely affect our income taxes.
We are subject to income taxes in both the U.S. and numerous international jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining our worldwide provision for income taxes. In the ordinary course of our business, there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Our effective tax rates may fluctuate significantly on a quarterly basis because of a variety of factors, including changes in the mix of earnings and losses in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in our business or structure, changes in tax laws that could adversely impact our income or non-income taxes or the expiration of or disputes about certain tax agreements in a particular country. We are subject to audit by various tax authorities. In accordance with U.S. GAAP, we recognize income tax benefits, net of required valuation allowances and accrual for uncertain tax positions. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final determination of tax audits and any related litigation could be materially different than that which is reflected in historical income tax provisions and accruals. Should additional taxes be assessed as a result of an audit or litigation, an adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows in the period or periods for which that determination is made could result.
In the U.S., a number of legislative proposals, including the “Build Back Better” bill, are being considered which could impact how multinational corporations are taxed. In addition, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) plans to issue guidance and a final report that will provide a long-term, multilateral proposal on the taxation of the digital economy. Similarly, some international tax jurisdictions, independent of the OECD, have enacted or may enact new tax regimes aimed at income resulting from digital services. Although we cannot predict the nature or outcome of such changes or the likelihood of such legislative proposals being adopted in the U.S. or throughout the world, any or all of these changes in tax laws could increase our taxes and adversely impact our financial condition and cash flow.
Our business faces risks arising from ICANN’s consensus and temporary policies, technical standards and other processes.
Our Registry Agreements with ICANN require us to implement Consensus Policies and changes mandated by ICANN through temporary specifications or policies (“Temporary Policies”). ICANN could adopt Consensus Policies or Temporary Policies that (1) are unfavorable to us as the registry operator of .com, .net and other gTLDs that we operate, (2) are inconsistent with our current or future plans, (3) impose substantial costs on our business, (4) subject the Company to additional legal risks, or (5) affect our competitive position. These Consensus Policies or Temporary Policies could have a material adverse effect on our business. For example, ICANN has adopted a Consensus Policy that would require us to receive and display registrants’ personal and contact information and designated administrative and technical contact information (“Thick Whois data”) for .com and .net, although that Policy is undergoing modification by a subsequent Consensus Policy that may make such transfer of Thick Whois data to us optional. We can provide no assurances that such a modification will occur or that we would not choose to or ultimately be required to receive and display Thick Whois data for our .com and .net registries. The costs of complying or failing to comply with Consensus and Temporary Policies, particularly the cost of compliance if the .com and .net registries receive Thick Whois data could expose us to substantial compliance costs, liability and exposure, and result in costly and time-consuming investigations or litigation.
Our Registry Agreements with ICANN require us to implement and comply with various technical standards and specifications published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (“IETF”). ICANN could impose requirements on us through changes to these IETF standards, or new standards, that are inconsistent with our current or future plans, that impose substantial costs on our business, that subject the Company to additional legal risks, or that affect our competitive position. Any such changes to the IETF standards, or new standards, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
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Weakening of, or changes to, the multi-stakeholder form of internet governance could materially and adversely impact our business.
The internet is governed under a multi-stakeholder model comprising civil society, the private sector, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as ICANN, governments, including the U.S. government, academia, non-governmental organizations and international organizations. If ICANN fails to uphold, or if the multi-stakeholder model is significantly redefined, it could harm our business. For example, certain governments, governmental organizations, and private actors continue to express dissatisfaction with the multi-stakeholder form of internet governance and have proposed alternatives including oversight by the United Nations or by international treaties. Furthermore, national legislation has been proposed on topics such as information security and access to personal information that effectively supplants the multi-stakeholder process for policy development in the DNS. Substantially weakening or replacing the multi-stakeholder form of internet governance could materially harm our business.
In addition, in 2016 the U.S. government transferred key internet functions to ICANN, who adopted new and enhanced accountability mechanisms in its bylaws such as the creation of the Empowered Community. There can be no assurance that the removal of the U.S. government oversight of these key functions, or the changes to ICANN’s bylaws, will not negatively impact our business.
Claims, lawsuits, audits or investigations in which we are or could become involved may result in material adverse outcomes to our business.
We are, and may in the future become, involved in claims, lawsuits, audits and investigations, including intellectual property litigation and infringement claims. Litigation is inherently unpredictable, and unexpected judgments or excessive verdicts do occur. In addition, proceedings that we initially view as immaterial could prove to be material. Adverse outcomes in lawsuits, audits and investigations, could result in significant monetary damages, including indemnification payments, or injunctive relief that could adversely affect our ability to conduct our business, and may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. For example, we are engaged in activities to help mitigate security threats and other forms of DNS abuse in our TLDs and we are involved in community efforts that could increase and expand such activities including potential new contractual obligations. Such activities include, for example, receiving reports of suspected threats and abuse from appropriate “trusted notifiers” (typically involving national and international law enforcement) and notifying registrars or others of domain names associated with suspected malicious or illegal activity. Our activities may also include disabling one or more domain names in the TLDs we operate including in response to governmental directives and orders in those jurisdictions in which we operate. Activities such as these have resulted in, and could in the future result in, significant litigation and could harm our reputation. Given the inherent uncertainties in litigation, even when we are able to reasonably estimate the amount of possible loss or range of loss and therefore record an aggregate litigation accrual for probable and reasonably estimable loss contingencies, the accrual may change in the future due to new developments or changes in approach. In addition, such claims, lawsuits, audits and investigations could involve significant expense and diversion of management’s attention and resources from other matters.
Strategic, Business and Operating Risk Factors
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted how we operate our business, and the extent to which the effects of the pandemic will materially impact our business, operations, financial condition and results of operations remains uncertain.
The United States and the global community we serve are facing unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic, and the preventative measures taken in response to the pandemic (including “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at-home” and similar orders issued by international, federal, state or local authorities and the subsequent relaxation and re-imposition of such orders), have resulted in, and are expected to continue to result in, significant volatility, business and economic disruptions and uncertainty. In response to the pandemic, we have taken steps to protect our employees, including arranging for most of our employees to work remotely, while we continue to operate all of our services, including our registry services for .com and .net and our root operations. However, the extent to which the effects of the pandemic will continue to impact our business, operations, financial condition and results of operations remains uncertain and depends on numerous evolving factors that we may not be able to control or predict, including:
the duration and scope of the pandemic;
the extent and effectiveness of responsive actions, including the relaxation and re-imposition of orders by authorities and the delivery and administration of vaccines, including vaccination requirements and mandates by government regulation, and the impact of these and other factors on our employees, customers and vendors;
the impact of the pandemic on our key personnel and other employees (including the impact of work-from-home arrangements on employee productivity and morale);
the extent to which we are able to maintain and replace critical internet infrastructure components when necessary;
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our continued ability to execute on business continuity plans for the maintenance of our critical internet infrastructure while most of our employees continue to work remotely; and
any negative impact on the demand for new and renewal domain name registrations resulting from the economic disruption caused by the pandemic and responses thereto.
Further, the impact of COVID-19 and the volatile regional and global economic conditions stemming from the pandemic may also precipitate or exacerbate other risks discussed in these Risk Factors, any of which could have a material effect on us. As of the date of this Form 10-K, our financial condition and results of operations have not been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, this situation is uncertain and additional effects may arise that we are not presently aware of or that we currently do not consider present material risks to our operations. If we are unable to successfully respond to and manage the impact of the pandemic, and the resulting responses to it, our business, operations, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely impacted, and the impact could be material.
The business environment is highly competitive and, if we do not compete effectively, we may suffer material adverse impact to our business, including lower demand for our products, reduced gross margins, and loss of market share.
We face competition from services that provide an online identity or presence, including other gTLD and ccTLD registries. In order to remain competitive and retain our market position, we must continually demonstrate the safety, security, and resiliency of our services and must adopt and support new technologies to adapt our services to changing technologies, market conditions, and our customers’ and internet users’ preferences and practices. If we do not successfully evolve and demonstrate the value of our services, we may not be able to compete effectively with current or future competitors, and such competitive pressures could materially harm our business. In addition, competing technologies developed by others or the emergence of new industry standards may adversely affect our competitive position or render our services or technologies noncompetitive or obsolete. Finally, consolidation within our industry has occurred and is likely to continue to occur. Our ability to participate and benefit from such consolidations may be limited and consolidation within our industry among our competitors could harm our competitive position and adversely impact our business.
We have been designated as the registry operator for certain new gTLDs, including certain IDN gTLDs. Our new gTLDs may not be as or more successful than the new gTLDs obtained by our competitors. In addition, our new gTLDs may face additional universal acceptance and usability challenges and it is possible that resolution of domain names within some of these new gTLDs may be blocked within certain state or organizational environments, challenging universal resolvability of these strings and their general acceptance and usability.
See the “Competition” section in Part I, Item 1 of this Form 10-K for further information.
The evolution of technologies or internet practices and behaviors, the adoption of substitute technologies, or wholesale price increases of domain names in our TLDs may materially and negatively impact the demand for the domain names for which we are the registry operator.
Technologies relating to online presence, including social media, mobile devices, apps, and search engines, have evolved and continue to evolve, changing the internet practices and behaviors of consumers and businesses. These ongoing changes can negatively impact the demand for our domain names. In addition, registrants purchase domain names for a variety of reasons, including personal, commercial, and investment reasons. Changes in the motivation of domain name registrants can negatively impact our business.
Technology changes to web browser or internet search technologies could reduce demand for domain names. Similarly, if internet users’ preferences or practices shift away from recognizing and relying on web addresses or if internet users were to significantly decrease the use of web browsers in favor of applications to locate and access content, demand for domain names in our TLDs could be negatively impacted. Demand for domain names in our TLDs could be negatively impacted by new technologies that significantly decrease the use of traditional domain names to present and protect an online identity. New technologies that encourage internet users to expand the use of third-level domains or alternate identifiers, such as identifiers from social networking, e-commerce platforms and microblogging sites, could also negatively impact the demand for domain names in our TLDs. In addition, the demand for domain names in our TLDs could be impacted by alternative namespaces with domain-name-like identifiers that are operated outside the single authoritative DNS root zone, including, for example, blockchain namespaces. To the extent that web browsers, applications, DNS registrars and DNS resolvers recognize and support such namespaces, and that internet users are able to perform online operations with identifiers from such namespaces, demand for domain names in TLDs in the single authoritative DNS root zone, including our TLDs, could be negatively impacted.
Some registrars and registrants purchase and resell domain names at an increased price. Adverse changes in the resale value of domain names, changes in the business models for such domain name registrars and registrants, or other factors,
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including regulations limiting the resale of domain names, could result in a decrease in the demand and/or renewal rates for domain names in our TLDs.
Some registrars and registrants seek to generate revenues by registering domain names specifically for website advertising. Changes in the way these registrars and registrants are compensated (including changes in methodologies and metrics) by advertisers and advertisement placement networks, such as Google, Baidu and Bing, have adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect the market for domain names used for this purpose, which has resulted in, and may continue to result in, a decrease in demand and/or the renewal rate for such domain names. In addition, if spending on online advertising and marketing is reduced, this may result in a further decline in the demand for domain names used for this purpose.
Under the terms of the .com and .net Registry Agreements, as amended, we are permitted to increase the annual fee of each .com and .net domain name registration or renewal according to the provisions in these agreements. To the extent we increase our prices, there could be a decrease in the demand and/or renewal rates for .com or .net domain names.
If we fail to expand our services into developing and emerging economies in international locations, our business may not grow.
We seek to serve many new, developing and emerging economies in international locations to grow our business. These economies are rapidly evolving and may not grow or even if they do grow, our services may not be widely used or accepted there. Accordingly, the demand for our services in these locations is uncertain. Factors that may affect acceptance or adoption of our services in these locations include:
regional internet infrastructure development, expansion, penetration and adoption, and the development, maturity and depth of our sales channels;
acceptance and adoption of substitute products and services that enable online presence without a domain name, including social media, e-commerce platforms, website builders and mobile applications;
increased acceptance and adoption of other substitute products and services, including ccTLDs or other gTLDs;
public perception of the security of our technologies and of IP and other networks;
the introduction and consumer acceptance of new generations of mobile devices, and in particular, the use of mobile applications as the primary engagement mechanism for navigating the internet; and
government regulations affecting the internet, internet access and availability, domain name registrations or the provision of registry services, data security, privacy, or data localization, e-commerce or telecommunications.
If our services are not widely accepted or adopted in these locations, our business may not grow.
Our business depends on registrars and their resellers maintaining their focus on marketing our products and services.
All of the domain name registrations and renewals for the registries we operate occur through registrars. Registrars and their resellers engage in substantial marketing efforts to increase the demand and/or renewal rates for domain names as well as their own associated offerings. Consolidation in the registrar or reseller industry or changes in ownership, management, or strategy among individual registrars or resellers, including vertical integration by registrar or reseller industry participants, could result in significant changes to their businesses, operating models, and cost structures. These changes could include reduced marketing efforts for our TLDs or other operational changes that could adversely impact the demand and/or the renewal rates for the domain names for which we are the registry operator.
With the introduction of new gTLDs, many of our registrars and resellers have chosen to, and may continue to choose to, focus their short- or long-term marketing efforts on these new offerings and/or reduce the prominence or visibility of our products and services on their e-commerce platforms. Our registrars and resellers sell domain name registrations of other competing registries, including new gTLDs, and some also sell and support their own services for websites such as email, website hosting, and other services. Our registrars and resellers may be more motivated to sell to registrants to whom they can also market their own services. To the extent that registrars and resellers focus more on selling and supporting their services and less on the registration and renewal of domain names in our TLDs, our revenues could be adversely impacted. Our ability to successfully market our services to, and build and maintain strong relationships with, new and existing registrars or resellers is a factor upon which successful operation of our business is dependent. If we are unable to keep a significant portion of their marketing efforts focused on selling registrations of domain names in our TLDs, as opposed to other competing TLDs, including the new gTLDs, or their own services, our business could be harmed.
We depend on highly skilled employees to maintain and provide innovative solutions for our business, and our business could be materially harmed if we are not able to attract and retain such qualified talent.
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Our business is highly technical and requires individuals skilled and knowledgeable in unique technologies, configurations, operating systems, and software development tools. We depend on the knowledge, experience, and performance of these employees and leaders to effectively manage and provide innovative solutions for our business. For example, we require employees with expertise in DNS operations and with certain cybersecurity specialties. Because such employees are in high demand by our competitors and other companies, we must be able to attract, integrate, retain and motivate such highly skilled employees and leaders. In addition, we must effectively manage our transition to a post-pandemic work environment to attract and retain these employees to meet our business needs. Failure to attract and retain such employees and to effectively implement succession plans for these employees could harm our business.
Intellectual Property Risk Factors
We rely on our intellectual property rights to protect our proprietary assets, and any failure by us to protect or enforce, or any misappropriation of, our intellectual property could materially harm our business.
Our success depends in part on our internally developed technologies and related intellectual property. Despite our precautions, it may be possible for an external party to copy or otherwise obtain and use our intellectual property without authorization. Furthermore, the laws of other countries may not protect our proprietary rights in those countries to the same extent U.S. law protects these rights in the U.S. In addition, it is possible that others may independently develop substantially equivalent intellectual property. If we do not effectively protect our intellectual property, our business could suffer. Additionally, we have filed patent applications with respect to some of our technology in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and patent offices outside the U.S. Patents may not be awarded with respect to these applications and even if such patents are awarded, third parties may seek to oppose or otherwise challenge our patents, and such patents’ scope may differ significantly from what was requested in the patent applications and may not provide us with sufficient protection of our intellectual property. In the future, we may have to resort to litigation to enforce and protect our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others. This type of litigation is inherently unpredictable and, regardless of its outcome, could result in substantial costs and diversion of management attention and technical resources. Some of the software and protocols used in our business are based on standards set by standards setting organizations such as the IETF. To the extent any of our patents are considered “standards essential patents,” in some cases we may be required to license such patents to our competitors on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms or otherwise be limited in our ability to assert such patents.
We also license externally developed technology that is used in some of our products and services to perform key functions. These externally developed technology licenses may not continue to be available to us on commercially reasonable terms or at all. The loss of, or our inability to obtain or maintain, any of these technology licenses could hinder or increase the cost of our services, launching new products and services, entering into new markets and/or otherwise harm our business. Some of the software and protocols used in our business are in the public domain or may otherwise become publicly available, which means that such software and protocols are or may become equally available to our competitors.
We rely on the strength of our Verisign brand to help differentiate Verisign in the marketing of our products. Dilution of the strength of our brand could harm our business. We are at risk that we will be unable to fully register, build equity in, or enforce the Verisign logo in all markets where Verisign products and services are sold.
ITEM 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.
ITEM 2.    PROPERTIES
As of December 31, 2021, we owned each of our significant properties, which include our corporate headquarters facility in Reston, Virginia, and data center facilities in New Castle, Delaware and Dulles, Virginia. We also lease a number of smaller office and data center locations around the world. We believe that our existing facilities, both owned and leased, are in good condition and suitable for the conduct of our business.

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ITEM 3.    LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
As previously disclosed, Afilias Domains No. 3 Limited (now called Altanovo Domains Limited ) (“Afilias”), a competitor and losing bidder in the .web auction, filed a form of arbitration proceeding against ICANN, an Independent Review Process (“IRP”) under ICANN’s bylaws, on November 14, 2018. Afilias alleges that the agreement between Verisign and Nu Dotco, LLC (“NDC”) pertaining to .web violated ICANN’s new gTLD Applicant Guidebook. As a result, Afilias claims that ICANN had a duty to disqualify NDC’s bid and award the .web gTLD to Afilias. Afilias also claims that ICANN would violate its bylaws pertaining to competition by awarding the .web gTLD to Verisign. Afilias amended its IRP request on March 21, 2019 in part to oppose Verisign’s and NDC’s participation in the IRP. A hearing was held on Verisign’s and NDC’s applications for participation and, on February 12, 2020, the IRP panel permitted Verisign and NDC to participate in aspects of the IRP. In early August 2020, the IRP panel held a hearing on Afilias’ claims.
The IRP panel issued its final decision on May 20, 2021. Consistent with Verisign’s position, the IRP panel dismissed Afilias’ claims for relief seeking to invalidate the .web auction and to award the .web TLD to Afilias, concluding that such issues were beyond the IRP panel’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, as expected, the IRP panel’s ruling recommended that ICANN’s Board of Directors consider the objections made regarding the .web auction and then make a decision on the delegation of .web. With respect to ICANN, the final decision said that certain actions and/or inaction by ICANN in response to Afilias’ objections did violate aspects of ICANN's bylaws related to transparency and fairness.
On June 19, 2021, Afilias filed an application to the IRP panel requesting that it interpret certain terms of, and make certain amendments to, the final decision. The IRP panel denied that application in its entirety on December 21, 2021 finding that it was “frivolous” and sanctioning Afilias by directing it to pay ICANN’s attorney fees. On January 16, 2022, ICANN’s Board directed its Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee to review the IRP panel’s final decision and to provide the Board with its findings to consider and act upon regarding the award and delegation of .web.
We are also involved in various investigations, claims and lawsuits arising in the normal conduct of our business, none of which, in our opinion, will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. We cannot assure you that we will prevail in any litigation. Regardless of the outcome, any litigation may require us to incur significant litigation expense and may result in significant diversion of management attention.

ITEM 4.    MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

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PART II 
 
ITEM 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
 
Market Information
Our common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol VRSN. On February 11, 2022, there were 331 holders of record of our common stock. We cannot estimate the number of beneficial owners since many brokers and other institutions hold our stock on behalf of stockholders.
Share Repurchases
The following table presents the share repurchase activity during the three months ended December 31, 2021:
Total Number
of Shares
Purchased
Average
Price Paid
per Share
Total Number
of Shares
Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced
Plans or
Programs (1)
Approximate
Dollar Value of
Shares That May
Yet Be Purchased
Under the Plans or
Programs (1)(2)
 (Shares in thousands)
October 1 – 31, 2021268 $210.97 268 $508.4  million
November 1 – 30, 2021242 $233.58 242 $451.8  million
December 1 – 31, 2021285 $243.26 285 $382.6  million
795 795 
 
(1)Effective February 11, 2021, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of our common stock in the amount of $747.0 million, in addition to the $253.0 million that remained available for repurchases under the share repurchase program, for a total repurchase authorization of up to $1.0 billion under the program.

(2)Effective February 10, 2022, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of our common stock in the amount of $705.4 million, in addition to the $294.6 million that remained available for repurchases under the share repurchase program, for a total repurchase authorization of up to $1.0 billion under the program. The share repurchase program has no expiration date. Purchases made under the program could be effected through open market transactions, block purchases, accelerated share repurchase agreements or other negotiated transactions.
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Performance Graph
 
The information contained in the Performance Graph shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material” or “filed” with the SEC or subject to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into a document filed under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or the Exchange Act.
 
The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock, the Standard and Poor’s (“S&P”) 500 Index, and the S&P 500 Information Technology Index. The graph assumes that $100 (and the reinvestment of any dividends thereafter) was invested in our common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Information Technology Index on December 31, 2016, and calculates the return annually through December 31, 2021. The stock price performance on the following graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

https://cdn.kscope.io/197f468e4e9f15216d9e2afb53494b5f-vrsn-20211231_g1.jpg

12/31/1612/31/1712/31/1812/31/1912/31/2012/31/21
VeriSign, Inc.$100 $150 $195 $253 $284 $334 
S&P 500 Index$100 $122 $116 $153 $181 $233 
S&P 500 Information Technology Index$100 $139 $138 $208 $299 $403 



ITEM 6. [Reserved]
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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
 
This Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, statements regarding our expectations about (i) the impact from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, (ii) revenue growth in 2022, (iii) continued growth in registrations in the domain name base in 2022, (iv) cost of revenues, sales and marketing expenses, research and development expenses, general and administrative expenses, interest expense, and non-operating income, net, in 2022, (v) our effective tax rate for 2022, (vi) the sufficiency of our existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, and funds generated from operations, together with our ability to arrange for additional financing, (vii) cash paid for income taxes in 2022, and (viii) our planned property and equipment expenditures for 2022. Forward-looking statements include, among others, those statements including the words “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “believes” and similar language. Our actual results may differ significantly from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the section titled “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K. You should also carefully review the risks described in other documents we file from time to time with the SEC, including the Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K that we file in 2022. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to update publicly or revise such statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.

This section of this Form 10-K generally discusses 2021 and 2020 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2021 and 2020. Discussions of 2019 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019 that are not included in this Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.
Overview
We are a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure, enabling internet navigation for many of the world’s most recognized domain names. We enable the security, stability, and resiliency of key internet infrastructure and services, including providing root zone maintainer services, operating two of the 13 global internet root servers, and providing registration services and authoritative resolution for the .com and .net top-level domains, which support the majority of global e-commerce.
As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately 173.4 million .com and .net registrations in the domain name base. The number of domain names registered is largely driven by continued growth in online advertising, e-commerce, and the number of internet users, which is partially driven by greater availability of internet access, as well as marketing activities carried out by us and our registrars. Growth in the number of domain name registrations under our management may be hindered by certain factors, including overall economic conditions, competition from ccTLDs, other gTLDs, services that offer alternatives for an online presence, such as social media, and ongoing changes in the internet practices and behaviors of consumers and businesses. Factors such as the evolving practices and preferences of internet users, and how they navigate the internet, as well as the motivation of domain name registrants and how they will manage their investment in domain names, can negatively impact our business and the demand for new domain name registrations and renewals.
2021 Business Highlights and Trends
We recorded revenues of $1,327.6 million in 2021, which represents an increase of 5% compared to 2020.
We recorded operating income of $866.8 million during 2021, which represents an increase of 5% as compared to 2020.
We finished 2021 with 173.4 million .com and .net registrations in the domain name base, which represents a 5% increase from December 31, 2020.
During 2021, we processed 44.6 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net compared to 42.4 million in 2020.
The final .com and .net renewal rate for the third quarter of 2021 was 75.0% compared to 73.7% for the same quarter of 2020. Renewal rates are not fully measurable until 45 days after the end of the quarter.
We repurchased 3.3 million shares of our common stock for an aggregate cost of $700.0 million in 2021. As of December 31, 2021, there was $382.6 million remaining for future share repurchases under the share repurchase program.
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Effective February 10, 2022, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of our common stock in the amount of $705.4 million, in addition to the $294.6 million that remained available for repurchases under the share repurchase program, for a total repurchase authorization of up to $1.0 billion under the program.
We generated cash flows from operating activities of $807.2 million in 2021, which represents an increase of 11% as compared to 2020.
During the fourth quarter of 2021, we recognized a deferred income tax benefit of $165.5 million related to the transfer of certain non-US intellectual property between subsidiaries.
On June 8, 2021, we issued $750.0 million of 2.700% Senior Notes due June 15, 2031 (“2031 Notes”). On June 23, 2021, we used the net proceeds from the 2031 Notes, along with cash on hand, to redeem all of our $750.0 million aggregate principal amount of outstanding 4.625% Senior Notes due 2023 (“2023 Notes”).
On February 10, 2022, we announced that we will increase the annual registry-level wholesale fee for each new and renewal .com domain name registration from $8.39 to $8.97, effective September 1, 2022.
COVID-19 Update
The United States and the global community we serve are facing unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic, we have established a task force to monitor the pandemic and have taken a number of actions to protect our employees, including restricting travel, modifying our sick leave policy to encourage quarantine and isolation when warranted, and directing most of our employees to work from home. We have implemented our readiness plans, which include the ability to maintain critical internet infrastructure with most employees working remotely. We believe that the effects of the pandemic to date have led to an increase in the demand for domain names, particularly as businesses and entrepreneurs have been seeking to establish or expand their presence online in response to the pandemic. Our revenues continued to grow during 2020 and 2021 primarily driven by an increase in the domain name base for the .com TLD; however, the situation remains uncertain and hard to predict. The broader implications of the pandemic on our business and operations and our financial results, including the extent to which the effects of the pandemic will impact future growth in the domain name base, remain uncertain. The duration and severity of the economic disruptions from the pandemic may ultimately result in negative impacts on our business and operations, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows, liquidity and capital and financial resources. For further discussion, see “Risk Factors – The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted how we operate our business, and the extent to which the effects of the pandemic will impact our business, operations, financial condition and results of operations remains uncertain” in Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K.
Critical Accounting Estimates
The discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon our Consolidated Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. On an ongoing basis, management evaluates those estimates. Management bases its estimates on historical experience and on various assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily available from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
 
Critical accounting estimates are those estimates made in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles that involve a significant level of estimation uncertainty and have had or are reasonably likely to have a material impact on the financial condition or results of operations of the registrant. We believe the following critical accounting estimates and policies have the most significant impact on our consolidated financial statements:
 Income taxes
We operate in multiple tax jurisdictions in the United States and internationally. Tax laws and regulations in these jurisdictions are complex, interrelated, and periodically changing. Significant judgment or interpretation of these laws and regulations is often required in determining our worldwide provision for income taxes, including, for example, the calculations of taxable income in each jurisdiction, deferred taxes, and the availability and amount of deductions and tax credits.
The final taxes payable are also dependent upon many factors, including negotiations with taxing authorities in various jurisdictions and resolution of disputes arising from various tax examinations. We only recognize or continue to recognize tax positions and tax benefit amounts that are more likely than not to be sustained upon examination. We adjust these amounts in light of changing facts and circumstances; however, due to the complexity of some of these uncertainties, the ultimate resolution may result in an outcome that is materially different from our current estimate of unrecognized tax benefits. See Note 10, “Income Taxes” of our Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further discussion of the $165.5 million
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deferred tax asset and corresponding income tax benefit recognized in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the $204.2 million income tax benefit recognized in 2020 as a result of the remeasurement of certain previously unrecognized income tax benefits.

Results of Operations
The following table presents information regarding our results of operations as a percentage of revenues:
Year Ended December 31,
 202120202019
Revenues100.0 %100.0 %100.0 %
Costs and expenses:
Cost of revenues14.5 14.2 14.6 
Sales and marketing3.0 2.9 3.8 
Research and development6.1 5.9 4.9 
General and administrative11.1 11.8 11.2 
Total costs and expenses34.7 34.8 34.5 
Operating income65.3 65.2 65.5 
Interest expense(6.3)(7.1)(7.4)
Non-operating (loss) income, net(0.1)1.2 3.5 
Income before income taxes58.9 59.3 61.6 
Income tax benefit (expense)0.2 5.1 (11.9)
Net income59.1 %64.4 %49.7 %
Revenues
Our revenues are primarily derived from registrations for domain names in the .com and .net domain name registries. We also derive revenues from operating domain name registries for several other TLDs and from providing back-end registry services to a number of TLD registry operators, all of which are not significant in relation to our consolidated revenues. For domain names registered in the .com and .net registries we receive a fee from registrars per annual registration that is determined pursuant to our agreements with ICANN. Individual customers, called registrants, contract directly with registrars or their resellers, and the registrars in turn register the domain names with Verisign. Changes in revenues are driven largely by changes in the number of new domain name registrations and the renewal rate for existing registrations as well as the impact of new and prior price increases, to the extent permitted by ICANN and the DOC. New registrations and the renewal rate for existing registrations are impacted by continued growth in online advertising, e-commerce, and the number of internet users, as well as marketing activities carried out by us and our registrars. We also offer promotional incentive-based discount programs to registrars based upon market conditions and the business environment in which the registrars operate.
On October 26, 2018, Verisign and the DOC amended the Cooperative Agreement. The amendment, among other items, extends the term of the Cooperative Agreement until November 30, 2024 and permits the price of a .com domain name to be increased, subject to appropriate changes to the .com Registry Agreement, without further DOC approval, by up to 7% in each of the final four years of each six-year period beginning on October 26, 2018. On March 27, 2020, Verisign and ICANN agreed to an amendment to the .com Registry Agreement that, among other items, incorporates these changes agreed to with the DOC to the pricing terms. Effective September 1, 2021, we increased the annual registry-level wholesale fee for each new and renewal .com domain name registration from $7.85 to $8.39. On February 10, 2022, we announced that we will increase the annual registry-level wholesale fee for each new and renewal .com domain name registration from $8.39 to $8.97, effective September 1, 2022. We have the contractual right to increase the fees for .net domain name registrations by up to 10% each year during the term of our agreement with ICANN, through June 30, 2023. All fees paid to us for .com and .net registrations are in U.S. dollars.
A comparison of revenues is presented below:
Year Ended December 31,
2021%
Change
2020%
Change
2019
 (Dollars in thousands)
Revenues$1,327,576 %$1,265,052 %$1,231,661 
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The following table compares the .com and .net domain name registrations in the domain name base: 
As of December 31,
2021%
Change
2020%
Change
2019
.com and .net domain name registrations in the domain name base
173.4 million%165.2 million%158.8 million
Growth in the domain name base has been primarily driven by continued internet growth and marketing activities carried out by us and our registrars. However, competitive pressure from ccTLDs, other gTLDs, services that offer alternatives for an online presence, such as social media, ongoing changes in internet practices and behaviors of consumers and business, as well as the motivation of existing domain name registrants managing their investment in domain names, and historical global economic uncertainty, has limited the rate of growth of the domain name base in the past and may continue to do so in the future.
Revenues increased by $62.5 million in 2021 compared to 2020, primarily due to an increase in revenues from the operation of the registry for the .com TLD driven by a 5% increase in the domain name base for .com and the price increase which became effective September 1, 2021.
Geographic revenues
We generate revenues in the U.S.; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (“EMEA”); China; and certain other countries, including Canada, Australia and Japan. The following table presents a comparison of the Company’s geographic revenues:
Year Ended December 31,
2021%
Change
2020%
Change
2019
(Dollars in thousands)
U.S$851,299 %$804,647 %$772,586 
EMEA231,686 %214,204 %206,975 
China99,727 (12)%113,048 (5)%119,291 
Other144,864 %133,153 — %132,809 
Total revenues$1,327,576 %$1,265,052 %$1,231,661 

Revenues in the table above are attributed to the country of domicile and the respective regions in which our registrars are located; however, this may differ from the regions where the registrars operate or where registrants are located. Revenue growth for each region may be impacted by registrars reincorporating, relocating, or from acquisitions or changes in affiliations of resellers. Revenue growth for each region may also be impacted by registrars domiciled in one region, registering domain names in another region. Revenues increased during 2021 in all regions except China. Revenues from registrars based in China declined during 2021 as a result of lower new registrations and renewal rates in the country.
We expect revenues to continue to grow in 2022, as a result of continued growth in the aggregate number of .com domain names and the impact of the price increase for .com domain names which became effective September 1, 2021.
Cost of revenues
Cost of revenues consist primarily of salaries and employee benefits expenses for our personnel who manage the operational systems, depreciation expenses, operational costs associated with the delivery of our services, fees paid to ICANN, customer support and training, costs of facilities and computer equipment used in these activities, telecommunications expense and allocations of indirect costs such as corporate overhead.
A comparison of cost of revenues is presented below:
Year Ended December 31,
2021%
Change
2020%
Change
2019
 (Dollars in thousands)
Cost of revenues$191,933 %$180,177 — %$180,467 
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Cost of revenues increased by $11.8 million in 2021 compared to 2020 primarily due to increases in direct cost of revenues, allocated overhead expenses and depreciation expenses. Direct cost of revenues increased by $5.7 million primarily due to an increase in registry fees payable to ICANN in connection with the operation of the registry for the .com TLD. Allocated overhead expenses increased by $2.4 million due to an increase in total allocable expenses. Depreciation expenses increased by $1.9 million as a result of increased investments in our data centers and network infrastructure.
We expect cost of revenues as a percentage of revenues to remain consistent in 2022 as compared to 2021.
Sales and marketing
Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of salaries and other personnel-related expenses, travel and related expenses, trade shows, costs of computer and communications equipment and support services, facilities costs, consulting fees, costs of marketing programs, such as online, television, radio, print and direct mail advertising costs, and allocations of indirect costs such as corporate overhead.
A comparison of sales and marketing expenses is presented below:
Year Ended December 31,
2021%
Change
2020%
Change
2019
 (Dollars in thousands)
Sales and marketing$39,877 %$36,790 (21)%$46,637 

Sales and marketing expenses increased by $3.1 million in 2021 compared to 2020 primarily due to a $2.6 million increase in salary and employee benefits expenses as a result of an increase in average headcount and higher expenses for salaries and certain employee related benefits.
We expect sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of revenues to remain consistent in 2022 as compared to 2021.
Research and development
Research and development expenses consist primarily of costs related to research and development personnel, including salaries and other personnel-related expenses, consulting fees, facilities costs, computer and communications equipment, support services used in our service and technology development, and allocations of indirect costs such as corporate overhead.
A comparison of research and development expenses is presented below:
Year Ended December 31,
2021%
Change
2020%
Change
2019
 (Dollars in thousands)
Research and development$80,529 %$74,671 23 %$60,805 

Research and development expenses increased by $5.9 million in 2021 compared to 2020 due to an increase in salary and employee benefits expenses, including stock-based compensation, and a combination of individually insignificant factors. Salary and employee benefits expenses, including stock-based compensation, increased by $3.0 million due to a slight increase in average headcount and higher expenses for salaries and certain employee related benefits.
We expect research and development expenses as a percentage of revenues to remain consistent in 2022 as compared to 2021.
General and administrative
General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and other personnel-related expenses for our executive, administrative, legal, finance, information technology and human resources personnel, costs of facilities, computer and communications equipment, management information systems, support services, professional services fees, and certain tax and license fees, offset by allocations of indirect costs such as facilities and shared services expenses to other cost types.
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A comparison of general and administrative expenses is presented below:
Year Ended December 31,
2021%
Change
2020%
Change
2019
 (Dollars in thousands)
General and administrative$148,434 (1)%$149,213 %$137,625 

General and administrative expenses decreased by $0.8 million in 2021 compared to 2020 primarily due to decreases in professional services expenses and charitable contributions and an increase in overhead expenses allocated to other cost types, partially offset by increases in salary and employee benefits expenses, equipment and software expenses, and stock-based compensation expenses. Professional services expenses decreased by $6.0 million due to a decrease in external consulting costs on various projects. Overhead expenses allocated to other cost types increased by $5.0 million due to an increase in the total allocable expenses. Charitable contributions decreased by $1.6 million due to greater contributions made during 2020 to help with immediate COVID-related hardship and to support social justice efforts, compared to contributions made during 2021. Salary and employee benefits expenses increased by $4.7 million due to an increase in average headcount and higher expenses for certain employee health insurance related benefits. Equipment and software expenses increased by $5.5 million due to expenses related to network security and other software services. Stock-based compensation expenses increased by $3.0 million due to higher achievement levels on certain performance-based RSU grants and increases in the total value of RSUs granted in 2021.
We expect general and administrative expenses as a percentage of revenues to remain consistent in 2022 as compared to 2021.
Interest expense
Interest expense decreased by $6.9 million in 2021 compared to 2020 due to the lower interest rate on our 2031 Notes compared to the 2023 Notes which were redeemed in June 2021. We expect interest expense to decrease in 2022 due to the lower interest rate on our 2031 Notes compared to the 2023 Notes.
Non-operating loss, net
See Note 9, “Non-operating (Loss) Income, Net” of our Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Form 10-K. We expect Non-operating loss, net to decrease in 2022 as compared to 2021 due to the loss on extinguishment of debt recognized in 2021.
Income tax (benefit) expense

Year Ended December 31,
202120202019
 (Dollars in thousands)
Income tax (benefit) expense(2,611)$(64,644)$146,477 
Effective tax rate— %(9)%19 %
The effective tax rate for each of the periods in the table above differed from the statutory federal rate of 21% due to a lower foreign effective tax rate, offset by state income taxes and U.S. taxes on foreign earnings, net of foreign tax credits. Additionally, during 2021, we completed a transfer of intellectual property between certain non-U.S. subsidiaries. This intellectual property did not have any book value, however the transfer created an amortizable tax basis that resulted in the recognition of a $165.5 million deferred tax asset and a corresponding income tax benefit.
During 2020, we recognized an income tax benefit of $204.2 million as a result of the remeasurement of certain previously unrecognized income tax benefits. The majority of this tax benefit related to the worthless stock deduction taken in 2013. These remeasurements were based on written confirmations from Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), received in 2020, indicating no examination adjustments would be proposed related to the worthless stock deduction or certain other matters reviewed as part of the audit of our federal income tax returns for 2010 through 2014, and the lapse of statutes of limitations related to other unrecognized income tax benefits. Notwithstanding these written confirmations, our U.S. federal income tax returns for 2010 through 2014 remain under examination by the IRS.
As of December 31, 2021, we had deferred tax assets arising from deductible temporary differences, tax losses, and tax credits of $238.5 million, net of valuation allowances, but before the offset of certain deferred tax liabilities. With the exception of
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deferred tax assets related to certain state and foreign net operating loss and foreign tax credit carryforwards, we believe it is more likely than not that the tax effects of the deferred tax liabilities, together with future taxable income, will be sufficient to fully recover the remaining deferred tax assets.
We expect the effective tax rate for 2022 to be between 21% and 24%.

Liquidity and Capital Resources
The following table presents our principal sources of liquidity:
As of December 31,
20212020
 (In thousands)
Cash and cash equivalents$223,487 $401,194 
Marketable securities982,318 765,713 
Total$1,205,805 $1,166,907 
The marketable securities consist primarily of debt securities issued by the U.S. Treasury meeting the criteria of our investment policy, which is focused on the preservation of our capital through investment in investment grade securities. The cash equivalents consist of amounts invested in money market funds, time deposits and U.S. Treasury bills purchased with original maturities of three months or less. As of December 31, 2021, all of our debt securities have contractual maturities of less than one year. Our cash and cash equivalents are readily accessible. For additional information on our investment portfolio, see Note 2, “Financial Instruments,” of our Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
In 2021, we repurchased 3.3 million shares of our common stock at an average stock price of $215.16 for an aggregate cost of $700.0 million under our share repurchase program. In 2020, we repurchased 3.7 million shares of our common stock at an average stock price of $200.06 for an aggregate cost of $734.9 million. Effective February 10, 2022, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of our common stock in the amount of $705.4 million, in addition to the $294.6 million that remained available for repurchases under the share repurchase program, for a total repurchase authorization of up to $1.0 billion under the program.
On June 8, 2021, we issued $750.0 million of 2.700% senior unsecured notes due June 15, 2031. On June 23, 2021, we used the net proceeds from the 2031 Notes, along with cash on hand, to redeem all of our $750.0 million aggregate principal amount of outstanding 4.625% senior notes due 2023. As of December 31, 2021, we also had $550.0 million principal amount outstanding of 4.75% senior unsecured notes due 2027 and $500.0 million principal amount outstanding of 5.25% senior unsecured notes due 2025. As of December 31, 2021, there were no borrowings outstanding under our $200.0 million credit facility that will expire in 2024.
We believe existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, and funds generated from operations, together with our ability to arrange for additional financing should be sufficient to meet our working capital, capital expenditure requirements, and to service our debt for the next 12 months and beyond. We regularly assess our cash management approach and activities in view of our current and potential future needs. Our most significant future cash requirements include interest and principal payments on the senior notes issuances described above, income tax payments, purchase obligations and registry fees related to the operation of certain top-level domains. These items are detailed in Note 11, “Commitments and Contingencies” of our Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
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In summary, our cash flows for 2021, 2020, and 2019 were as follows:
Year Ended December 31,
 202120202019
 (In thousands)
Net cash provided by operating activities$807,152 $730,183 $753,892 
Net cash (used in) provided by investing activities(269,246)(72,258)167,195 
Net cash used in financing activities(719,130)(764,877)(770,303)
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash(561)(48)64 
Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash$(181,785)$(107,000)$150,848 
Cash flows from operating activities
 
Our largest source of operating cash flows is cash collections from our customers. Our primary uses of cash from operating activities are for personnel related expenditures, and other general operating expenses, as well as payments related to taxes, interest and facilities.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities increased in 2021 compared to 2020 primarily due to an increase in cash received from customers, partially offset by increases in cash paid for income taxes, cash paid to employees and vendors, and decreases in cash received from interest on investments and from transition services. Cash received from customers increased primarily due to higher domain name registrations and renewals and the impact of the .com price increase which became effective September 1, 2021. The increased volume of renewal transactions was due in part to early renewal transactions before the .com price increase became effective. Cash paid for income taxes increased primarily due to comparatively higher federal, state, and foreign taxes. Cash paid to employees and vendors increased primarily due to the timing of payments and an increase in operating expenses. Cash received from interest on investments decreased due to a decline in interest rates. Cash received from transition services decreased due to the expiration of the transition services agreement related to our divested security services business in February 2020.
Cash flows from investing activities
 
The changes in cash flows from investing activities primarily relate to purchases, maturities and sales of marketable securities, purchases of property and equipment and the sale of businesses.
 
Net cash used in investing activities increased in 2021 compared to 2020 primarily due to an increase in purchases of marketable securities and investments, net of proceeds from maturities and sales of marketable securities and investments, an increase in purchases of property and equipment, and payments received during 2020 related to our divested security services business.
Cash flows from financing activities
 
The changes in cash flows from financing activities primarily relate to share repurchases, proceeds from borrowings, repayment of borrowings, and our employee stock purchase plan.
 
Net cash used in financing activities decreased in 2021 compared to 2020 primarily due to proceeds received from the issuance of the 2031 Notes and a decrease in share repurchases, partially offset by the redemption of our 2023 Notes.
Income taxes
 
We expect cash paid for income taxes as a percentage of pre-tax income to be between 21% and 24% in 2022.
Property and Equipment Expenditures
 Our planned property and equipment expenditures for 2022 are anticipated to be between $40.0 million and $50.0 million and will primarily be focused on infrastructure upgrades software enhancements.
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Dilution from RSUs
Grants of stock-based awards are key components of the compensation packages we provide to attract and retain certain of our employees and align their interests with the interests of existing stockholders. We recognize that these stock-based awards dilute existing stockholders and have sought to control the number granted while providing competitive compensation packages. As of December 31, 2021, there were a total of 0.6 million unvested RSUs which represent potential dilution of less than 1.0%. This maximum potential dilution will only result if all outstanding RSUs vest and are settled. In recent years, our stock repurchase program has more than offset the dilutive effect of RSU grants to employees; however, we may reduce the level of our stock repurchases in the future as we may use our available cash for other purposes.
ITEM 7A.    QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
 
We are exposed to financial market risks, including changes in interest rates and foreign exchange rates. We have not entered into any market risk sensitive instruments for trading purposes.
 
Interest Rate Sensitivity
The fixed income securities in our investment portfolio are subject to interest rate risk. As of December 31, 2021, we had $1.02 billion of fixed income securities, which consisted of U.S. Treasury bills with maturities of less than one year. A hypothetical change in interest rates by 100 basis points would not have a significant impact on the fair value of our investments.

Foreign Exchange Risk Management
 
We conduct business in several countries and transact in multiple foreign currencies. The functional currency for all of our international subsidiaries is the U.S. dollar. Our foreign currency risk management program is designed to mitigate foreign exchange risks associated with monetary assets and liabilities of our operations that are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. The primary objective of this program is to minimize the gains and losses to income resulting from fluctuations in exchange rates. We may choose not to hedge certain foreign exchange exposures due to immateriality, prohibitive economic cost of hedging particular exposures, and limited availability of appropriate hedging instruments. We do not enter into foreign currency transactions for trading or speculative purposes, nor do we hedge foreign currency exposures in a manner that entirely offsets the effects of changes in exchange rates. The program may entail the use of forward or option contracts, which are usually placed and adjusted monthly. These foreign currency forward contracts are derivatives and are recorded at fair market value. We attempt to limit our exposure to credit risk by executing foreign exchange contracts with financial institutions that have investment grade ratings.
 
As of December 31, 2021, we held foreign currency forward contracts in notional amounts totaling $30.3 million to mitigate the impact of exchange rate fluctuations associated with certain foreign currencies. Gains or losses on the foreign currency forward contracts would be largely offset by the remeasurement of our foreign currency denominated assets and liabilities, resulting in an insignificant net impact to income.
 
A hypothetical uniform 10% strengthening or weakening in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to the foreign currencies in which our revenues and expenses are denominated would not result in a significant impact to our financial statements.
 Market Risk Management
The fair market values of our senior notes are subject to interest rate risk. Generally, the fair market value of fixed interest rate debt will increase as interest rates fall and decrease as interest rates rise. As of December 31, 2021, the fair values of the senior notes issued in 2015, 2017 and 2021 were $552.3 million, $573.9 million, and $755.5 million, respectively, based on available market information from public data sources.
 
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ITEM 8.    FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
 
Financial Statement DescriptionPage

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Stockholders and Board of Directors

VeriSign, Inc.:

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of VeriSign, Inc. and subsidiaries (the Company) as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the related consolidated statements of comprehensive income, stockholders’ deficit, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes (collectively, the consolidated financial statements). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2021, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission, and our report dated February 18, 2022 expressed an unqualified opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.
Basis for Opinion
These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of a critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.
Evaluation of accounting for income taxes
As discussed in Notes 1 and 10 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company recognized $230.7 million of deferred tax assets, net as of December 31, 2021. The Company’s income tax benefit was $2.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The Company conducts business globally and consequently is subject to U.S. federal, state, as well as foreign income taxes in the jurisdictions it operates. The Company exercises judgment in the application of complex tax regulations in multiple jurisdictions.
We identified the evaluation of the accounting for income taxes as a critical audit matter. Evaluating the Company’s application of complex tax regulations in the domestic and foreign jurisdictions it operates and the impact of those regulations on U.S. federal, state, and foreign income tax provisions required complex auditor judgment, and the use of tax professionals with specialized skills and knowledge.
The following are the primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter. We evaluated the design and tested the operating effectiveness of certain internal controls related to the Company’s income tax process, including controls related to the application of complex tax regulations in the Company’s various tax jurisdictions and the impact on
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the Company’s U.S. federal, state, and foreign income tax provision. We involved domestic and international tax professionals with specialized skills and knowledge in various tax jurisdictions who assisted in evaluating the Company’s analyses over the application of complex tax regulations in those jurisdictions.

/s/ KPMG LLP

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 1995.

McLean, Virginia
February 18, 2022
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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Stockholders and Board of Directors

VeriSign, Inc.:

Opinion on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
We have audited VeriSign, Inc. and subsidiaries' (the Company) internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. In our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the consolidated balance sheets of the Company as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the related consolidated statements of comprehensive income, stockholders’ deficit, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes (collectively, the consolidated financial statements), and our report dated February 18, 2022 expressed an unqualified opinion on those consolidated financial statements.
Basis for Opinion
The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audit also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ KPMG LLP

McLean, Virginia
February 18, 2022
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VERISIGN, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except par value)
December 31,
2021
December 31,
2020
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents$223,487 $401,194 
Marketable securities982,318 765,713 
Other current assets62,930 51,033 
Total current assets1,268,735 1,217,940 
Property and equipment, net251,223 245,571 
Goodwill52,527 52,527 
Deferred tax assets230,719 67,914 
Deposits to acquire intangible assets145,000 145,000 
Other long-term assets35,560 37,958 
Total long-term assets715,029 548,970 
Total assets$1,983,764 $1,766,910 
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ DEFICIT
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities$226,580 $208,642 
Deferred revenues847,411 780,051 
Total current liabilities1,073,991 988,693 
Long-term deferred revenues305,950 282,838 
Senior notes1,785,709 1,790,083 
Long-term tax and other liabilities78,633 95,494 
Total long-term liabilities2,170,292 2,168,415 
Total liabilities3,244,283 3,157,108 
Commitments and contingencies
Stockholders’ deficit:
Preferred stock—par value $0.001 per share; Authorized shares: 5,000; Issued and outstanding shares: none
  
Common stock and additional paid-in capital—par value $0.001 per share; Authorized shares: 1,000,000; Issued shares: 354,199 at December 31, 2021 and 353,789 at December 31, 2020; Outstanding shares: 110,519 at December 31, 2021 and 113,470 at December 31, 2020
13,620,038 14,275,160 
Accumulated deficit(14,877,772)(15,662,602)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss(2,785)(2,756)
Total stockholders’ deficit(1,260,519)(1,390,198)
Total liabilities and stockholders’ deficit$1,983,764 $1,766,910 
See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
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VERISIGN, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(In thousands, except per share data)
  
Year Ended December 31,
 202120202019
Revenues$1,327,576 $1,265,052 $1,231,661 
Costs and expenses:
Cost of revenues191,933 180,177 180,467 
Sales and marketing39,877 36,790 46,637 
Research and development80,529 74,671 60,805 
General and administrative148,434 149,213 137,625 
Total costs and expenses460,773 440,851 425,534 
Operating income866,803 824,201 806,127 
Interest expense(83,255)(90,144)(90,611)
Non-operating (loss) income, net(1,329)16,187 43,260 
Income before income taxes782,219 750,244 758,776 
Income tax benefit (expense)2,611 64,644 (146,477)
Net income784,830 814,888 612,299 
Other comprehensive (loss) income(29)(135)190 
Comprehensive income $784,801 $814,753 $612,489 
Earnings per share:
Basic$7.01 $7.08 $5.17 
Diluted$7.00 $7.07 $5.15 
Shares used to compute earnings per share
Basic112,015 115,058 118,513 
Diluted112,166 115,298 118,968 
See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
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VERISIGN, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS’ DEFICIT
(In thousands)



Year Ended December 31,
202120202019
Total stockholders’ deficit, beginning of period$(1,390,198)$(1,490,100)$(1,385,474)
Common stock and additional paid-in capital
Beginning balance14,275,160 14,990,011 15,707,126 
Repurchase of common stock(722,587)(777,454)(782,583)
Stock-based compensation55,061 50,026 52,316 
Issuance of common stock under stock plans12,404 12,577 13,152 
Balance, end of period13,620,038 14,275,160 14,990,011 
Accumulated deficit
Beginning balance(15,662,602)(16,477,490)(17,089,789)
Net income784,830 814,888 612,299 
Balance, end of period(14,877,772)(15,662,602)(16,477,490)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss
Beginning balance(2,756)(2,621)(2,811)
Other comprehensive (loss) income(29)(135)190 
Balance, end of period(2,785)(2,756)(2,621)
Total stockholders’ deficit, end of period$(1,260,519)$(1,390,198)$(1,490,100)

See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
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VERISIGN, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(In thousands)
Year Ended December 31,
 202120202019
Cash flows from operating activities:
Net income$784,830 $814,888 $612,299 
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:
Depreciation of property and equipment47,940 46,352 46,330 
Stock-based compensation expense53,439 48,243 50,626 
Other, net6,027 (9,108)(11,926)
Changes in operating assets and liabilities
Other assets(14,058)(9,214)(3,279)
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities15,495 2,227 (24)
Deferred revenues90,471 29,009 16,191 
Net deferred income taxes and other long-term tax liabilities(176,992)(192,214)43,675 
Net cash provided by operating activities807,152 730,183 753,892 
Cash flows from investing activities:
Proceeds from maturities and sales of marketable securities2,654,457 2,305,732 2,247,904 
Purchases of marketable securities(2,870,670)(2,355,405)(2,030,521)
Purchases of property and equipment(53,033)(43,395)(40,316)
Proceeds (payments) from sale of business 20,810 (9,872)
Net cash (used in) provided by investing activities(269,246)(72,258)167,195 
Cash flows from financing activities:
Repayment of borrowings(750,000)  
Proceeds from borrowings, net of issuance costs741,053   
Repurchases of common stock(722,587)(777,454)(782,583)
Proceeds from employee stock purchase plan12,404 12,577 13,152 
Other financing activities  (872)
Net cash used in financing activities(719,130)(764,877)(770,303)
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash(561)(48)64 
Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash(181,785)(107,000)150,848 
Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash at beginning of period410,601 517,601 366,753 
Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash at end of period$228,816 $410,601 $517,601 
Supplemental cash flow disclosures:
Cash paid for interest$85,578 $87,354 $87,683 
Cash paid for income taxes, net of refunds received$178,351 $132,683 $89,974 
See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
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VERISIGN, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
DECEMBER 31, 2021, 2020 AND 2019

Note 1. Description of Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Description of Business
VeriSign, Inc. (“Verisign” or “the Company”) was incorporated in Delaware on April 12, 1995. The Company has one reportable segment. The Company enables the security, stability, and resiliency of key internet infrastructure and services, including providing root zone maintainer services, operating two of the 13 global internet root servers, and providing registration services and authoritative resolution for the .com and .net top-level domains, which support the majority of global e-commerce.
Basis of Presentation
The accompanying consolidated financial statements of Verisign and its subsidiaries have been prepared in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) in the United States (“U.S.”). All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated.
The preparation of these consolidated financial statements requires management to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
Reclassifications
Certain reclassifications have been made to prior period amounts to conform to current period presentation. Such reclassifications have no effect on net income as previously reported.
Significant Accounting Policies
 Cash and Cash Equivalents
Verisign considers all highly-liquid investments purchased with original maturities of three months or less to be cash equivalents. Cash and cash equivalents include certain money market funds, debt securities and various deposit accounts. Verisign maintains its cash and cash equivalents with financial institutions that have investment grade ratings and, as part of its cash management process, performs periodic evaluations of the relative credit standing of these financial institutions.
 Marketable Securities
Marketable securities primarily consist of debt securities issued by the U.S. Treasury. All marketable securities are classified as available-for-sale and are carried at fair value. Unrealized gains and losses, net of taxes, are reported as a component of Accumulated other comprehensive loss. The specific identification method is used to determine the cost basis of the marketable securities sold. The Company classifies its marketable securities as current based on their nature and availability for use in current operations.
Property and Equipment
Property and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is calculated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets of 35 to 47 years for buildings, 10 years for building improvements and three years to five years for computer equipment, software, office equipment, and furniture and fixtures. Leasehold improvements are amortized using the straight-line method over the lesser of the estimated useful lives of the assets or associated lease terms.
Capitalized Software
Software included in property and equipment includes amounts paid for purchased software and development costs for internally developed software. The Company capitalized $12.1 million and $12.8 million of costs related to internally developed software during 2021 and 2020, respectively.
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VERISIGN, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - (Continued)
DECEMBER 31, 2021, 2020 AND 2019
Goodwill and Other Long-lived Assets
 Goodwill represents the excess of purchase consideration over fair value of net assets of businesses acquired. The Company has only one reporting unit, which has a negative carrying value. Therefore, the goodwill is not subject to impairment.
 Long-lived assets, such as property, plant, and equipment are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset, or asset group, may not be recoverable. Such events or circumstances include, but are not limited to, a significant decrease in the fair value of the underlying business. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset, or asset group, to estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated by the asset, or asset group. An impairment charge is recognized in the amount by which the carrying amount of the asset exceeds its fair value.
As of December 31, 2021, the Company’s assets include a deposit related to the purchase of the contractual rights to the .web gTLD. The amount paid to date has been recorded as a deposit until such time that the contractual rights are transferred to the Company. This asset would be tested for recoverability if the Company were to determine that it is no longer probable that the rights will be transferred. At the time of the transfer of the contractual rights, the Company will record the amount as an indefinite-lived intangible asset subject to review for impairment on an annual basis or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that an impairment is more likely than not.
Foreign Currency Remeasurement
 
Verisign conducts business in several different countries and transacts in multiple currencies. The functional currency for all of Verisign’s international subsidiaries is the U.S. dollar. The Company’s subsidiaries’ financial statements are remeasured into U.S. dollars using a combination of current and historical exchange rates and any remeasurement gains and losses are included in Non-operating (loss) income, net. Remeasurement gains and losses were not significant in each of the last three years.
Verisign maintains a foreign currency risk management program designed to mitigate foreign exchange risks associated with the monetary assets and liabilities that are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. The primary objective of this program is to minimize the gains and losses resulting from fluctuations in exchange rates. The Company does not enter into foreign currency transactions for trading or speculative purposes, nor does it hedge foreign currency exposures in a manner that entirely offsets the effects of changes in exchange rates. The program may entail the use of forward or option contracts, which are usually placed and adjusted monthly. These foreign currency forward contracts are derivatives and are recorded at fair market value. The Company records gains and losses on foreign currency forward contracts in Non-operating (loss) income, net. Gains and losses related to foreign currency forward contracts were not significant in each of the last three years.
 As of December 31, 2021, Verisign held foreign currency forward contracts in notional amounts totaling $30.3 million to mitigate the impact of exchange rate fluctuations associated with certain assets and liabilities held in foreign currencies.
 Revenue Recognition
Revenues are recognized when control of the promised services is transferred to customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration the Company expects to be entitled to in exchange for those services. Revenues primarily arise from fixed fees charged to registrars for the initial registration or renewal of .com.net, and other domain names. Fees for domain name registrations and renewals are generally due at the time of registration or renewal. Domain name registration terms range from one year up to ten years.
Most customers either maintain a deposit with Verisign or provide an irrevocable letter of credit in excess of the amounts owed. Verisign also offers promotional incentive-based discount programs to its registrars based upon market conditions and the business environment in which the registrars operate. Amounts payable for these programs are recorded as a reduction of revenue.
Performance Obligations
A performance obligation is a promise in a contract to transfer a distinct good or service to the customer. A contract’s transaction price is allocated to each distinct performance obligation and recognized as revenue when, or as, the performance obligation is satisfied. Each domain name registration or renewal is considered a separate optional purchase and represents a single performance obligation, which is to allow its registration and maintain that registration (by allowing updates, Domain Name System (“DNS”) resolution and Whois services, which allow users to find information about registered domain names) through the registration term. These services are provided continuously throughout each registration term, and as such, revenues from the initial registration or renewal of domain names are deferred and recognized ratably over the registration term. Fees for
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VERISIGN, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - (Continued)
DECEMBER 31, 2021, 2020 AND 2019
renewals and advance extensions to the existing term are deferred until the new incremental period commences. These fees are then recognized ratably over the renewal term.
Costs Incurred to Obtain a Contract
The Company recognizes the fees payable to ICANN for each annual term of domain name registrations and renewals, as an asset which is amortized on a straight-line basis over the related registration term. These assets are included in Other current assets and Other long-term assets.
Advertising Expenses
Advertising costs are expensed as incurred and are included in Sales and marketing expenses. Advertising expenses were $6.0 million, $7.5 million, and $12.8 million in 2021, 2020, and 2019, respectively.
 
Income Taxes
Verisign uses the asset and liability method to account for income taxes. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and net operating loss carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The Company records a valuation allowance to reduce deferred tax assets to an amount whose realization is more likely than not. For every tax-paying component and within each tax jurisdiction, all deferred tax liabilities and assets are offset and presented as a single net noncurrent asset or liability.
The Company recognizes the U.S. income tax effect of future global intangible low-taxed income inclusions in the period in which they arise.
The Company’s income taxes payable is reduced by the tax benefits from restricted stock unit (“RSU”) vestings equal to the fair market value of the stock at the vesting date. If the income tax benefit at the vesting date differs from the income tax benefit recorded based on the grant date fair value of the RSUs, the excess or shortfall of the tax benefit is recognized within income tax expense.
Verisign operates in multiple tax jurisdictions in the United States and internationally. Tax laws and regulations in these jurisdictions are complex, interrelated, and periodically changing. Significant judgment or interpretation of these laws and regulations is often required in determining the Company’s worldwide provision for income taxes, including, for example, the calculations of taxable income in each jurisdiction, deferred taxes, and the availability and amount of deductions and tax credits. The final taxes payable are dependent upon many factors, including negotiations with taxing authorities in various jurisdictions and resolution of disputes arising from various tax examinations. The Company only recognizes tax positions taken or expected to be taken on its tax returns that are more likely than not to be sustained upon examination, and records a tax benefit amount that is more likely than not to be realized upon ultimate settlement with the taxing authority. The Company adjusts its estimate of unrecognized tax benefits in light of changing facts and circumstances; however, due to the complexity of some of these uncertainties, the ultimate resolution may result in an outcome that is materially different from the estimate. See Note 10, “Income Taxes,” for details of the changes to the Company’s unrecognized tax benefits for the periods presented.
 
Stock-based Compensation
The Company’s stock-based compensation consists of RSUs granted to employees and the employee stock purchase plan (“ESPP”). Stock-based compensation expense is typically recognized ratably over the requisite service period. Forfeitures of stock-based awards are recognized as they occur. As substantially all of the RSUs granted by the Company are routine annual grants, none of the awards are designed to be spring-loaded, and as such, the Company does not adjust the market price of its common stock when estimating the grant-date fair value of these awards. The Company also grants RSUs which include performance conditions, and in some cases market conditions, to certain executives. The expense for these performance-based RSUs is recognized based on the probable outcome of the performance conditions. The expense recognized for awards with market conditions is based on the grant date fair value of the awards including the impact of the market conditions, using a Monte Carlo simulation model. The Company uses the Black-Scholes option pricing model to determine the fair value of its ESPP offerings. The determination of the fair value of stock-based payment awards using the Monte Carlo simulation model or the Black-Scholes option-pricing model is affected by the Company’s stock price as well as assumptions regarding a number of complex and subjective variables.
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VERISIGN, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - (Continued)
DECEMBER 31, 2021, 2020 AND 2019

Earnings per Share
The Company computes basic earnings per share by dividing net income by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted earnings per share gives effect to dilutive potential common shares, including unvested RSUs and ESPP offerings, using the treasury stock method.
 
Fair Value of Financial Instruments  
The Company applies the following fair value hierarchy, which prioritizes the inputs used to measure fair value into three levels and bases the categorization within the hierarchy upon the lowest level of input that is available and significant to the fair value measurement:
 
Level 1: Observable inputs that reflect quoted prices (unadjusted) for identical assets or liabilities in active markets.
Level 2: Inputs reflect quoted prices for identical assets or liabilities in markets that are not active; quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets; inputs other than quoted prices that are observable for the assets or liabilities; or inputs that are derived principally from or corroborated by observable market data by correlation or other means.
Level 3: Unobservable inputs reflecting the Company’s own assumptions incorporated in valuation techniques used to determine fair value. These assumptions are required to be consistent with market participant assumptions that are reasonably available.
 
Legal Proceedings
Verisign is involved in various investigations, claims and lawsuits arising in the normal conduct of its business, none of which, in its opinion, will have a material adverse effect on its financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. The Company cannot assure you that it will prevail in any litigation. Regardless of the outcome, any litigation may require the Company to incur significant litigation expense and may result in significant diversion of management attention.
While certain legal proceedings and related indemnification obligations to which the Company is a party specify the amounts claimed, such claims may not represent reasonably possible losses. Given the inherent uncertainties of the litigation, the ultimate outcome of these matters cannot be predicted at this time, nor can the amount of possible loss or range of loss, if any, be reasonably estimated, except in circumstances where an aggregate litigation accrual has been recorded for probable and reasonably estimable loss contingencies. A determination of the amount of accrual required, if any, for these contingencies is made after careful analysis of each matter. The required accrual may change in the future due to new developments in each matter or changes in approach such as a change in settlement strategy in dealing with these matters. The Company does not believe that any such matter currently being reviewed will have a material adverse effect on its financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.

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VERISIGN, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - (Continued)
DECEMBER 31, 2021, 2020 AND 2019
Note 2. Financial Instruments
Cash, Cash Equivalents, and Marketable Securities
The following table summarizes the Company’s cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities and the fair value categorization of the financial instruments measured at fair value on a recurring basis:
As of December 31,
20212020
 (In thousands)
Cash $25,840 $28,832 
Time deposits3,693 4,176 
Money market funds (Level 1)165,586 129,627 
Debt securities issued by the U.S. Treasury (Level 1)1,016,015 1,013,679 
Total$1,211,134 $1,176,314 
Cash and cash equivalents $223,487 $401,194 
Restricted cash (included in Other long-term assets)5,329 9,407 
Total Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash228,816 410,601 
Marketable securities 982,318 765,713 
Total$1,211,134 $1,176,314 
The gross and net unrealized gains and losses included in the fair value of the debt securities were not significant for the periods presented. All of the debt securities held as of December 31, 2021 have contractual maturities of less than one year.
Fair Value Measurements
The fair value of the Company’s investments in money market funds approximates their face value. Such instruments are classified as Level 1 and are included in Cash and cash equivalents. The fair value of the debt securities consisting of U.S. Treasury bills is based on their quoted market prices and are classified as Level 1.
As of December 31, 2021, the Company’s other financial instruments include cash, accounts receivable, restricted cash, and accounts payable whose carrying values approximated their fair values. The fair values of the Company’s senior notes due 2025 (the “2025 Senior Notes”), the senior notes due 2027 (the “2027 Senior Notes”), and the senior notes due 2031 (the “2031 Senior Notes”) were $552.3 million, $573.9 million, and $755.5 million, respectively, as of December 31, 2021. The fair values of these debt instruments are based on available market information from public data sources and are classified as Level 2.
Note 3. Selected Balance Sheet Items
Other Current Assets
Other current assets consist of the following: 
As of December 31,
20212020
 (In thousands)
Prepaid expenses$24,756 $17,920 
Prepaid registry fees24,240 22,654 
Taxes receivable7,669 3,572 
Accounts receivable, net5,284 4,642 
Other981 2,245 
Total other current assets$62,930 $51,033 
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VERISIGN, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - (Continued)
DECEMBER 31, 2021, 2020 AND 2019
Property and Equipment, Net
The following table presents the detail of property and equipment, net:
As of December 31,
20212020
 (In thousands)
Computer equipment and software$400,628 $415,086 
Buildings and building improvements254,549 250,431 
Land31,141 31,141 
Office equipment and furniture10,104 9,179 
Capital work in progress3,088 4,330 
Leasehold improvements1,476 1,458 
Total cost700,986 711,625 
Less: accumulated depreciation(449,763)(466,054)
Total property and equipment, net$251,223 $245,571 
Substantially all of the Company’s property and equipment were held in the U.S. for both periods presented.

Goodwill
The following table presents the detail of goodwill:
As of December 31,
20212020
 (In thousands)
Goodwill, gross$1,537,843 $1,537,843 
Accumulated goodwill impairment(1,485,316)(1,485,316)
Total goodwill$52,527 $52,527 
There was no impairment of goodwill or other long-lived assets recognized in any of the periods presented.

Deposits to Acquire Intangible Assets
The Company’s Deposit to acquire intangible assets represents the $145.0 million paid for the future assignment to the Company of contractual rights to the .web gTLD, pending resolution of objections by other applicants, and approval from ICANN. Upon assignment of the contractual rights, the Company will record the total investment as an indefinite-lived intangible asset.
 
Other Long-Term Assets
Other long-term assets consist of the following: 
As of December 31,
20212020
(In thousands)
Long-term prepaid expenses$10,976 $7,105 
Long-term prepaid registry fees8,693 7,997 
Operating lease right-of-use asset8,418 11,277 
Restricted cash5,329 9,407 
Other2,144 2,172 
Total other long-term assets$35,560 $37,958 
45

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VERISIGN, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - (Continued)
DECEMBER 31, 2021, 2020 AND 2019
The prepaid registry fees in the tables above relate to the fees the Company pays to ICANN for each annual term of .com domain name registrations and renewals which are deferred and amortized over the domain name registration term. The amount of prepaid registry fees as of December 31, 2021 reflects amortization of $38.3 million during 2021 which was recorded in Cost of Revenues.

Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities consist of the following: 
As of December 31,
20212020
 (In thousands)
Accounts payable and accrued expenses$8,997 $12,340 
Customer deposits77,329 53,631 
Accrued employee compensation58,499 54,596 
Taxes payable26,793