People in the domain space are increasingly talking about handshake domains. Additionally, how they could shake up the internet as we know it. At Saw.com, we are passionate about this industry and the constant new ideas that enter it. With us, you can buy a domain, sell a domain, protect a domain, and learn about domains!
Today, we are going to discuss how handshake domains work and their future in the domain industry.
What are Handshake TLDs?
So, what exactly is a handshake domain?
Handshake domains are an “experimental peer-to-peer root naming system.”
Handshake (HNS) is a decentralized peer-to-peer network domain naming protocol that is aiming to fundamentally change the internet’s domain naming system landscape. Using blockchain technology (similar to cryptocurrency tech like Ethereum and Bitcoin), handshake domains bypass the traditional DNS overseen by ICANN. Critics of the current system argue that a central authority is, by its nature, “vulnerable to hacking, censorship, and corruption.”
Handshake calls it an “experiment” to explore new ways in which to build a more decentralized internet. Essentially, the idea is that a decentralized root zone offers domain owners more security, privacy, freedom, and control over their domain names compared to the current network configurations and regular DNS.
How to Register a Handshake Domain Name on the Internet
Interested in registering a handshake domain? Handshake names use a coin system for registration. Handshake coins (HNS) are the way people can register, transfer and update handshake domains. This is a decentralized auction process among participants.
Outside of using handshake coins, only a few registrars offer registration services for handshake domains for the general public. These include Namecheap, EnCirca, and Porkbun. However, we will be watching to see if any other domain registrars begin to also handle handshake domains. As of now, Namecheap offers the following handshake TLDs: .creator, .elite, .ill, .oh, .oo, .oot, .orb, .p, .pgp, .saas, and .sox. To register a handshake domain on Namecheap, you simply enable the HNS option and follow the regular process for registering a traditional domain name.
If you are interested in registering, transferring, or updating a handshake domain on the handshake blockchain, you must use one of the HNS registrars.
Bear in mind there’s no guarantee the names you purchase right now are unique or that they will not have issues in the future. Your domain could also stop working before it expires. Names may collide with ICANN-regulated domains, other blockchains, or other naming technologies. Once you purchase a handshake domain, you cannot get a refund.
How to Access a Handshake Domain Website
It is important to note that, currently, handshake domains do not resolve via regular web browsers like Chrome or Firefox. So, in order to access handshake domains, an additional setup is required. This includes using one of the following:
- The Handshake software itself
- Special browser plugins
The Future of Handshake Domains and the Blockchain
Handshake hopes to fundamentally change the landscape of the internet. Their mission by decentralizing the Internet is to give users more freedom, privacy, enhanced security, and more.
However, with its limited accessibility (both from a registration and browser support standpoint), the current system is still firmly in control. Another big concern is the possibility that ICANN releases conflicting TLDs with the current handshake TLDs. If that were to happen, resolvers would have to choose whether to resolve to the ICANN TLD or the HNS domain.
Additionally, ICANN is a huge organization with tons of power and control over the internet. The domain naming space is not going to change any time soon. But as blockchain technology gains more widespread traction (specifically in the domain naming space), ICANN may be forced to reckon with the idea of a more decentralized service for domain names.
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