What is Handshake (HNS) – decentralized naming protocol

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TL;DR: @Handshake is a blockchain for immutable top-level domains (examples of TLDs are: .com .org .net). On Handshake, anyone can register and manage TLDs instead of a private company (ICANN) owning and leasing them to the rest of us.

What’s the problem with domains today?

Today, a “non-profit” organization called ICANN has a monopoly around the issuance of TLDs.

ICANN decides which TLDs are issued and to whom, and they charge 200k for each new TLD application. Market forces aren’t strong with this one.

How does Handshake solve this problem?

Handshake enables users to purchase TLDs directly from the blockchain. You no longer have to lease your domain!

Example use case: purchase “.nakamoto” TLD and sell a second-level domain (SLD) “satoshi.nakamoto” to another user for $.

What is the market size for TLDs?

Domains have value: namespace is finite and desirable namespace even more so.

The Handshake tokens (HNS) have a limited supply and are used to buy TLDs after which they’re burned → deflationary.

  • $BTC: digitally scarce SoV.
  • $HNS: digitally scarce domains.

Who are Handshake’s competitors?

Handshake aims to avoid competition by becoming the “mother” of all TLDs. Competitors like ENS, Blockstack, and Namecoin often have their own TLDs.

How can I buy TLDs on Handshake?

The easiest way to use Handshake is via Namebase. Namebase makes it easy to participate in TLD auctions.

During the first year, new TLDs will be released via (Vickrey) auctions every week to ensure a more fair distribution of desirable TLDs.

How does HNS work with legacy domains?

Handshake opened bidding on the first round of TLDs, excluding the top 100k Alexa domains and existing TLDs to avoid conflicts with e.g. Verisign-managed .coms.

Prior decentralized naming systems failed to address similar conflicts.

How can I use Handshake?

Today, you can resolve Handshake TLDs using resolvers like NextDNS. A resolver connects a domain name to the right IP address.

In the future, browsers like Brave could adopt Handshake domains natively.

Who is behind Handshake?

Handshake is a decentralized project with many different contributors. You can check out some key contributors on their GitHub page.

Who has invested in Handshake?

Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, DHVC, Scalar Capital, Draper Associates, Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, Polychain Capital, Pantera Capital, Elad Gil, Pamir Gelenbe, etc.

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