What are Handshake Domains?

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.

About Handshake Domains

So, what exactly is a handshake domain?

Handshake Domains, 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), handshake domains bypass the traditional centralized domain naming system overseen by ICANN. Critics of the current system argue that a centralized naming system 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 system offers domain owners more security, privacy, freedom, and control over their domain name.

How to Register a Handshake Domain

Interested in registering a handshake domain? Handshake uses a coin system for name 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, Namecheap is the only domain registrar offering registration services for handshake domains for the general public. 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, your two options are Handshake coins (HNS) or Namecheap.

How to Access a Handshake Domain Website

It is important to note that currently, handshake domains do not resolve via regular web browsers. So, in order to access a handshake domain, an additional setup is required. This includes using one of the following:

  • The Handshake software itself
  • NextDNS
  • VPN
  • HDNS.io
  • HNS.to
  • Browser extensions
  • Fingertip

The Future of Handshake Domains

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 handshake TLD.

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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