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What Are Handshake Domains and How Do They Work?

While exploring domain name ideas for your site, you may come across Handshake domains. If you’re new to the concept, you may be wondering what they mean and how they work.

Handshake domains are registered on a blockchain network. Additionally, they can only be obtained through auctions. While they may seem a little elusive, getting a Handshake domain may not be as difficult as you might think.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at Handshake domains and how they work. We’ll also discuss who needs a Handshake domain and show you how to obtain one. Let’s get started!

What are Handshake domains?

Handshake domains are a type of Top-Level Domain (TLD). However, unlike traditional TLDs like .com or .org, which are controlled by centralized organizations, Handshake domains are registered on a blockchain network.

A screenshot of the Handshake protocol website.

Blockchain is a type of technology that enables people to make transactions and store information securely, without the need for a middleman like a bank. Think of it as a digital ledger, where each transaction or piece of information is recorded in a block and connected to other blocks in a chain. These blocks are verified by a network of computers, which makes it very difficult for users to manipulate or alter the information stored on the blockchain.

This technology is often associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, it has many other potential uses such as tracking supply chains, voting systems, digital identity management, and of course, obtaining Handshake domains.

Since Handshake domains use this technology, they are decentralized and have no central authority controlling them. This gives you more freedom, including the ability to create a completely unique domain extension instead of using a typical extension like .org or .net. Handshake domains also make it easier to preserve your privacy.

An overview of the Handshake protocol

The Handshake protocol was created to provide a more secure and censorship-free Internet infrastructure [1]. It uses a hybrid proof-of-work and proof-of-stake system to secure the network and prevent fraudulent activity.

In blockchains, proof of work and proof of stake are techniques used by cryptocurrencies to verify the accuracy of new transactions and add new blocks to the chain.

With proof of work, a mathematical puzzle is presented to the network of computers (also known as nodes) and they compete to solve it. The first computer to solve the puzzle is rewarded with cryptocurrency or transaction fees. The solved puzzle is then added to the blockchain as proof of the work done.

Proof of stake works a little differently. Instead of relying on nodes to solve complex puzzles, this system selects computers based on the amount of cryptocurrency they have staked. Nodes that hold more cryptocurrency are more likely to be selected to add new blocks.

Those who want to obtain a Handshake domain will have to place a bid using the Handshake cryptocurrency (HNS). This creates a fairer and more decentralized way of allocating domain names.

Popular Handshake TLDs include:

  • .C: used for programming language-related websites and services
  • .P: used for privacy-focused websites and services
  • .X: used for experimental and innovative websites and services

You may also be able to bid on more descriptive TLDs, such as .api, .creator, and .startup.

Who needs a Handshake domain?

Handshake domains are ideal for those who want to protect their online presence from censorship, like human rights groups, investigative journalists, and satirical publications.

By registering a Handshake domain, you can have more control over your online identity and prevent your website from being taken down or censored.

Even web developers can benefit from Handshake domains. If you want to create a unique top-level domain to make your website stand out, you have two options: apply to ICANN to create and run your own domain extension, or use a Handshake domain to create a custom domain extension without needing anyone else’s approval.

Handshake domains can be obtained through a cryptocurrency bidding system. Anyone can bid for them and the highest bidder will be allowed to register the domain name on the Handshake blockchain.

How do you get a Handshake domain?

To get a Handshake domain, you’ll first need to create a Handshake wallet and acquire Handshake cryptocurrency (HNS). Once you have HNS in your wallet, you can bid on the Handshake domain you want.

There are several ways to bid on Handshake domains, including through dedicated marketplaces like Namebase or through the Handshake command line interface:

Handshake domains are available on Namebase.

Handshake domains use a Vickrey auction system, where bidders are unable to see the value of other bids placed on the domain. Plus, the winner only pays the second-highest bid amount. This can incentivize users to place higher bids:

A screenshot of a Namebase Handshake domains auction.

Once you win the auction, you’ll need to complete the registration process. This involves submitting the bid amount and creating a domain record on the Handshake blockchain.

Then, you can use it like any other domain name. For instance, you can set up DNS records or integrate the Handshake domain into your web application.

Alternatively, you could register your Handshake domain on a domain registrar like Namecheap:

Handshake domains are available for purchase through Namecheap.

Note that, by default, most web browsers are unable to connect to the Handshake blockchain. Therefore, you’ll need to use a DNS resolver to access your Handshake domain.

There are a number of options that you can use, including NextDNS and the HSD/HDNS nodes:

The NextDNS website is a DNS resolver.

You may also be able to connect your device to the Handshake blockchain with a VPN. Some VPN services enable users to switch their name server from the default Domain Name System (DNS) to the Handshake Naming System.

Conclusion 🤓

Handshake domains are registered on a blockchain network. This decentralized system gives users full control over their domains and reduces the risk of censorship by third parties.

To get a Handshake domain, you’ll need to bid on it on a marketplace like Namebase, using HNS. Once you win an auction, you can register your domain and create a domain record on the Handshake blockchain. However, you may need to use a DNS resolver to access your domain.

Does running a site on a Handshake domain sound too complicated to be worthwhile? You can get a more conventional domain from one of the best domain registrars without needing to acquire cryptocurrency or set up a DNS resolver.