When brainstorming ideas for your website’s domain name, you might stumble upon something called Handshake Domains. If this term is new to you, you might wonder what it means and how it functions.
Handshake domains are unique because they’re registered on a blockchain network. What sets them apart is that you can only acquire them through auctions. While this sounds mysterious, obtaining a Handshake domain isn’t as daunting as it may appear.
In blockchain technology, there’s a growing interest in projects that relate to the domain name system (DNS) and the domain ecosystem. Handshake, in particular, is gaining attention from enthusiasts of decentralized technology due to its potential to reshape the way we think about and use domains, especially in the exciting context of Web3.
What exactly is a Handshake (HNS) domain?
Handshake (HNS) is a decentralized, open naming protocol that facilitates direct peer communication. It offers an alternative to the traditional system of centrally managed domain names like .com, country-specific domains, and other common domain extensions.
In domain naming, Handshake operates as a decentralized peer-to-peer protocol. Its primary aim is to substitute for the current centralized root chain in the Domain Name System (DNS). Organizations like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) currently manage the creation of top-level domains (TLDs) such as .agency, .gov, .edu, and so on.
This process involves applicants applying for a new TLD, participating in auctions, and awaiting approval. This process is not only cumbersome and intricate but also centralized, making it susceptible to security breaches and resistant to change and censorship.
Handshake aspires to revolutionize this system by offering Handshake top-level domains that are more streamlined, cost-effective, and secure. The objective is to leverage blockchain technology to enable Handshake domains to operate independently of the current ICANN-controlled system, ultimately fostering a more decentralized online domain landscape.
A Quick Look at the Handshake Protocol
The Handshake protocol was designed to make the internet infrastructure more secure and resistant to censorship. It achieves this by utilizing a combination of proof-of-work and proof-of-stake mechanisms to safeguard the network and prevent fraudulent activities.
In blockchain technology, proof of work and proof of stake are methods used by cryptocurrencies to validate the accuracy of new transactions and add them to the blockchain.
To acquire a Handshake domain, you must participate in an auction using Handshake cryptocurrency (HNS). This creates a more equitable and decentralized way of assigning domain names.
Some popular Handshake top-level domains (TLDs) include:
- .C: Often used for websites and services related to programming languages.
- .P: Commonly used for websites and services that prioritize privacy.
- .X: Typically used for experimental and innovative websites and services.
You may also have the opportunity to bid on more descriptive TLDs, such as .api, .creator, and .startup.
How Handshake Domains Work
A Handshake domain operates within the network, a decentralized naming system based on blockchain technology. Here’s a straightforward breakdown of how Handshake domains function:
Registration: To secure a Handshake domain, users engage in an auction process. This auction determines who gains the right to own and manage a specific domain. Participants bid using Handshake tokens (HNS) for the domain they wish to register.
Ownership: After the auction, the highest bidder becomes the domain’s owner. Ownership of the domain is linked to the possession of Handshake tokens. Therefore, the winning bidder is established as the domain owner on the Handshake blockchain.
Blockchain Integration: Handshake domains are seamlessly integrated into the Handshake blockchain. All domain records, including ownership and related details, are securely stored on the blockchain, ensuring their immutability and resistance to tampering.
Name Resolution: Handshake domains can be resolved using traditional and dedicated DNS resolvers. This compatibility enables users to access Handshake domains through regular web browsers and applications without requiring specialized software.
Domain Services: Once a Handshake domain is registered, it can be associated with various online services, much like traditional domains. These services may encompass website hosting, email services, decentralized applications (dApps), or any other online service linked to a domain.
Control and Transfers: As the owner of a Handshake domain, you have complete control over the domain’s settings and can transfer ownership to another party if desired. Transfers are facilitated by the exchange of the Handshake tokens representing domain ownership.
Integration with Traditional DNS: Handshake domains are compatible with traditional DNS infrastructure. This means that Handshake domains can be seamlessly integrated into existing internet infrastructure and accessed by users who rely on traditional DNS resolvers.
Who Needs a Handshake Domain?
Handshake domains offer a great solution for individuals and organizations concerned about online censorship. Here’s who could benefit from having a Handshake domain:
Human Rights Groups: Organizations working on human rights issues often face online censorship. With a Handshake domain, they can have more control over their online presence and ensure their message is accessible.
Investigative Journalists: Journalists who investigate sensitive topics may be targeted for censorship. A Handshake domain can help protect their work from being removed or restricted.
Satirical Publications: Satirical websites sometimes push boundaries and can be subject to censorship. Having a Handshake domain can provide a layer of protection for their content.
Web Developers: Developers looking to create a unique top-level domain to make their website stand out have two choices. They can go through the often lengthy process of applying to ICANN for a domain extension, or they can use a Handshake domain to create a custom extension without needing external approval.
What Can You Do with a Handshake Domain?
A Handshake domain serves a variety of purposes, much like traditional domains. Here are some common ways people use Handshake domains:
Handshake domains are perfect for hosting websites, just like regular domains. Owners of Handshake domains can link them to web hosting services, allowing them to create websites accessible through their Handshake domain.
You can use Handshake domains to set up custom email addresses. Individuals or organizations can have personalized email accounts using their Handshake domain.
Decentralized Applications (dApps)
Handshake domains can be connected to decentralized applications (dApps) on blockchain platforms. Owners can use their Handshake domains to host and access decentralized websites, platforms, or services.
Crypto Wallet Addresses
Handshake domains can be associated with cryptocurrency wallet addresses, making it easier for users to share their wallet addresses in a more user-friendly format. For instance, a Handshake domain could represent an Ethereum wallet address, simplifying the process of sending funds.
Branding and Identity
Handshake domains are a fantastic way to establish a unique online presence, enhance brand recognition, and create memorable web addresses. Individuals, businesses, or projects can secure a Handshake domain that aligns with their brand or identity.
Experimental and Innovative Projects
Handshake’s decentralized nature and compatibility with traditional DNS offer opportunities for experimentation and innovation. Developers and enthusiasts can explore unique and creative applications for Handshake domains that leverage the advantages of blockchain technology and decentralized naming systems.
Other Practical Uses for Handshake:
Selling Subdomains: You can generate income by selling subdomains that extend from your top-level domain (TLD).
Secure Login: Use Handshake for secure and private logins, eliminating the need for passwords.
URL Shortening: Utilize Handshake as a URL shortening service, making links more concise.
dLinks: Create a decentralized hub for your online content using Handshake, making it easy to access and share.
E-mail: Establish a personalized email address based on your Handshake name.
dWord: Build websites deployed on your Handshake name, offering a unique online presence.
Nomad: Use Handshake names as usernames on social networking sites, enhancing your online identity.
How To Register a Handshake Domain
To register a Handshake domain, you’ll go through an auction process to secure ownership. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Obtain Handshake Tokens (HNS): First, you’ll need Handshake tokens (HNS) to participate in the domain auction. These tokens are used for bidding and claiming ownership.
Choose a Registrar: Pick a Handshake domain registrar to assist with the registration. Registrars are platforms that help with Handshake domain auctions. Some well-known registrars include Namebase, HNS Domains, and Dynadot.
Connect a Wallet: Create or connect a cryptocurrency wallet that supports Handshake (HNS). This wallet stores your Handshake tokens (HNS) for bidding and domain registration. Ensure it’s compatible with the Handshake network and works with your chosen registrar.
Search for Available Domains: Use the registrar’s platform for available Handshake domains. You can explore their website or use their search tools to find the domain name you want.
Participate in Auction: When you find your desired domain, place a bid through the registrar’s platform. Bidding involves using your Handshake tokens (HNS) to compete with others. Be sure to follow any specific rules and deadlines set by the registrar.
Win and Complete Registration: If your bid wins, congratulations! You now own the Handshake domain. Follow the registrar’s instructions to complete the registration process. This may include making a final payment, providing necessary details, and linking the domain to your wallet.
Manage and Configure Your Domain: You can manage and configure your Handshake domain after registration. This might involve setting up DNS records, connecting them to web hosting services, or configuring other services associated with the domain.
Advantages of Handshake Domains
Enhanced Privacy and Control: Handshake domains give users more privacy and control over their online presence. You have more authority over your domain name and how it’s used.
Flexibility in Domain Usage: Handshake domains offer greater flexibility in your domain use. You can customize it for various purposes, from websites to email services, providing versatility.
Participation in Auctions: Handshake allows you to participate in domain name auctions. This can be advantageous if you want to secure specific domain names or explore investment opportunities.
Decentralized Internet: Handshake contributes to the trend of a more decentralized Internet. This decentralization can make the domain name system more stable and resilient against domain hijacking or server failures.
Innovation Potential: Handshake domains encourage innovation in the domain naming space, fostering creative uses and applications of blockchain technology.
Disadvantages of Handshake Domains:
HNS Coin Requirement: To engage in domain auctions or use Handshake services, you must possess HNS coins. This requirement can be a barrier to entry for individuals less familiar with cryptocurrencies.
Complex Setup: Setting up and using alternative domain names, like Handshake domains, can be more complex, especially for those who need to be better versed in the technology. The process is more complex than traditional domains.
Limited Adoption: Adopting alternative domains, including Handshake, has yet to reach mainstream levels. This means that users may need more support and recognition for these domains.
Tech-Savvy Dependency: Handshake domains require a certain level of technical expertise, which could be challenging for users who are not tech-savvy.
Market Uncertainty: The market for Handshake domains can be uncertain, with prices varying based on demand and supply. This uncertainty may impact the potential return on investment for domain speculators.
Handshake domains present a unique landscape in the world of online naming systems. Their advantages, including enhanced privacy, greater control, and participation in domain auctions, appeal to those seeking innovative solutions. Additionally, the movement towards a more decentralized internet lends credibility to services like Handshake regarding stability and resilience.
However, the reliance on HNS coins and the complexity of setup can pose hurdles for individuals less familiar with cryptocurrency and technology. Moreover, the limited adoption of alternative domains and market uncertainty may require users to evaluate their objectives when considering Handshake domains carefully.
In essence, Handshake domains offer a glimpse into the evolving possibilities of online naming systems, where privacy and innovation converge. Yet, their true potential lies in the hands of users who weigh the advantages against the challenges to determine if they align with their online goals and expertise.