What are Handshake (HNS) domains, and the way do they work?

A specific subject of curiosity within the blockchain area is the emergence of blockchain-related tasks within the area identify system (DNS) and area ecosystem. Handshake, particularly, has been gaining consideration amongst decentralized expertise lovers for its potential to revolutionize how individuals take into consideration and work together with domains, particularly within the context of Web3.

What’s a handshake (HNS) area?

Handshake (HNS) is a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol that permits for peer-to-peer communication and offers an accessible different to centrally managed domains, akin to .com, country-code domains and different generic domains.

As a decentralized peer-to-peer area naming protocol, Handshake goals to function a DNS chain different to the present default root chain. Additionally, the creation of top-level domains (TLDs) akin to .company, .gov, .edu and the like are at present managed by the Web Company for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and are topic to an software course of.

As such, earlier than an applicant can have a brand new TLD created within the root DNS, they first have to use for the top-level area, win an public sale for it, and await approval. The present course of is tedious, complicated and costly — to not point out extremely centralized. This makes the system weak to hackers and nonresistant to corruption and censorship.

Handshake hopes to vary the system and supply different Handshake top-level domains which might be way more environment friendly, inexpensive and safe. The objective is to have the ability to use blockchain expertise to permit Handshake domains to bypass the present ICANN-overseen system and assist construct a extra decentralized area panorama on-line.

Handshake (HNS) vs. conventional DNS

As talked about, the present DNS infrastructure is closely reliant on ICANN’S root zone. Which means that for HNS domains to be resolved, there should first be a Handshake-aware resolver within the decision chain.

The way in which DNS works, nonetheless, is kind of much like HNS. The one distinction is the basis zone file that the web trusts and reads from, therefore the necessity to introduce a Handshake different.

The objective isn’t to change to the Handshake root zone totally, as doing so would render present TLDs (.com and others) until additionally they declare and recreate their TLDs on the Handshake blockchain. Suffice it to say that that is unlikely to occur anytime quickly.

Compatibility is one other potential difficulty. There are literally thousands of TLDs, and so they proceed to extend because the web expands. What Handshake has performed to make sure that the brand new decentralized root zone can be appropriate with these different TLDs is to order them for managing organizations to assert over the following three years.

How does a Handshake area work?

Handshake primarily distributes web site addresses through auctions dealt with routinely by Handshake’s software program. Auctions for TLDs are held each two weeks, and customers should bid utilizing the Handshake protocol’s cryptocurrency, HNS, to take part.

Whoever wins the bid pays the second-highest value following the format of a Vickrey public sale, a sealed-bid public sale kind whereby bidders are unaware of the bids of others. This ensures that everybody is handled pretty and that domains are allotted effectively and at a good market worth.

The Handshake blockchain runs equally to the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain. Miners run the Handshake software program, competing to unlock newly minted HNS tokens by fixing a sequence of mathematical puzzles. New blocks are added to the blockchain each 10 minutes, and miners are paid 2,000 HNS each 10 minutes of mining. The utmost provide of HNS is 2.04 billion.

What’s a Handshake area used for?

There are numerous use instances for handshake domains. They work similar to any area identify and can be utilized for any web site or on-line service. For companies, particularly, Handshake domains can present a aggressive edge by giving them higher privateness and management over their area namespace.

Another documented use instances for Handshake are:

  • Promote subdomains: Make a revenue from promoting subdomains which might be extensions of 1’s TLD.
  • Log in with Handshake: Use Handshake to log in securely and privately while not having a password.
  • Redirects: Use it as a URL shortener.
  • dLinks: Use Handshake to create a decentralized hub for one’s content material on-line.
  • Hmail: Create an electronic mail deal with on one’s Handshake identify.
  • dWord: Can be utilized to construct web sites deployed on one’s Handshake identify.
  • Nomad: Handshake names can be utilized as a username on a social networking web site.
  • Creating a web site: Use Sia Skynet, GitHub Pages, Heroku, Vercel or WordPress to create a web site on Handshake.

How you can register a Handshake area?

As talked about, a method that customers can take part within the public sale processes for Handshake domains is through the use of HNS. Aside from that, area registrar Namecheap provides registration companies for Handshake domains to the general public.

Namecheap at present provides the next TLDs:

To register a handshake area on Namecheap, a person merely has to allow the HNS choice and observe the common course of for registering a standard area identify. Apart from registering a website identify, transferring to or updating a Handshake area will also be performed both on Namecheap or through HNS cash.

How you can entry a Handshake area?

Handshake domains at present don’t resolve on common internet browsers. To entry a Handshake area, one has to make use of both the Handshake software program itself or any of the next:

  • Browser extensions
  • Fingertip
  • HDNS.io
  • HNS.to
  • NextDNS
  • VPNs.

Benefits and drawbacks of Handshake domains

There are a number of benefits to utilizing Handshake domains, together with enhanced privateness and management, higher flexibility in area identify utilization and the flexibility to take part in area identify auctions.

Additionally, the push towards a extra decentralized web may imply that decentralized area identify system companies like Handshake might finally be thought of extra secure and resilient to area identify hijacking or server outages.

Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks to utilizing Handshake domains as properly. For one, area identify customers should have already got HNS cash to take part in area auctions or use different companies supplied by Handshake, putting limitations to entry for many who should not tech-savvy or could also be much less acquainted with cryptocurrency.

To the uninitiated, different domains will also be considerably extra complicated to arrange and use than conventional domains, particularly because the adoption of other domains has but to penetrate the mainstream.

​​The way forward for Handshake domains

The transfer to instate Web3 blockchain area identify programs is geared towards offering customers with less complicated, shorter domains that may simply be used on-line. As such, Handshake domains — and comparable iterations of decentralized area system companies — could also be used to signify a blockchain deal with, for example.

Individuals can then simply say, “Ship the fee to joe.crypto,” as a substitute of a hex string with a number of characters, making it extra handy and user-friendly to make use of domains on the net. Handshake goals to participate within the decentralized future by providing customers higher management of their knowledge, safety and privateness whereas protecting issues decentralized.

Nevertheless, it stays to be seen if accessibility will grow to be a difficulty for potential adopters. As issues stand, each registration and browser assist are nonetheless firmly within the fingers of the standard infrastructure. Additionally, if ICANN releases TLDs sooner or later which may battle with Handshake’s TLDs, area utilization might grow to be extra difficult.

In such a circumstance, resolvers would wish to determine whether or not to resolve the Handshake TLD or ICANN TLD. ICANN can be an undeniably bigger and extra highly effective group — will it yield to decentralization? 

And with such an advanced course of for area infrastructure turnover within the path of decentralization, received’t switching to HNS simply make it the most important participant as soon as ICANN domains are phased out (if in any respect)? Many questions stay to be answered, and solely time will inform if companies like Handshake will grow to be broadly adopted — or fade into obscurity.​