Handshake (HNS) started out as a decentralized experimental peer to peer root naming system for the internet. However, the last few months has seen Handshake becoming mainstream. Every week seems to herald a new DAPP or tool created to grow the eco-system. To ensure that Handshake stays true to the spirit of decentralization, its creators created Handshake and stepped back. So this blockchain as of now has no founder, CEO or entity that owns Handshake.
That makes it a lot like BTC. Given the fact that Handshake (HNS) seeks to solve one of the most fundamental problems of the internet (naming), it is better of without a “founder”.
So lets dive into the world of DNS and simplify the concept. Lets take a look at how the internet currently operates.
In simple layman terms the internet is a lot like a phone directory. Except that instead of phone numbers as addresses you have names eg: google.com and facebook.com as addresses on the internet. In the last 30 years ever since the inception of the internet this structure has barely changed. There has been absolutely none or minimal innovation on the internet.
All the so called innovation has been in IT services, restricted to Individual offices. Eg: google campus, Apple campus, Facebook campus. The simple reason why no one bothers to innovate “ON” the internet is since no one can actually own it there is no security of data or incentive.
Innovation instead happens in IT services since individuals and companies can own their own servers and offices. Hence all the critical innovation is lying around in private servers across offices around the world. The internet in its current form simply serves as an address book of these clusters of innovation across the digital world.
Access to this internet works through a set of keys. And they are hierarchical.
TLDs – At the highest level or ‘root’ level (depends on how you like to visualize things) is a TLD. TLD stands for TOP LEVEL DOMAIN. An example of a TLD is .com.org.net etc. A body called ICCAN administers these TLDs. Its owned and managed by companies like Verisign. Needless to mention ordinary citizens like us can’t ever really hope to actually own a TLD. The initial fee to submit a proposal to create a new TLD costs around $ 1,85,000. That’s just the non refundable fee for the proposal. It means they can just take the money and say no to your proposal.
SLDs – After a TLD comes an SLD. A SUB LEVEL DOMAIN. So in a “google.com”, google is the SLD and .com is the TLD. Entrepreneurs have access to this level of the internet. I use the word access since its rented out on an annual basis. We can’t actually “own” them.
IT services – These SLDs point us to various IT services delivered out of various fixed and these days increasingly cloud servers across the world.(IT service like email, social media, streaming services etc.)
Usernames – The average user uses these addresses to navigate to these clusters of IT services and create usernames on them such as firstname.lastname@example.org and facebook.com/xyz. We then use these usernames as digital KYCs to sign into various apps online. All the influencer, blogger, vloggers and celeb stuff happens at this level.
Now that we know what the current system is like, lets see what Handshake(HNS) brings to the table.
Handshake(HNS) is an experimental peer to peer root naming system. It has managed to bring all the existing stakeholders of the internet together. ICCAN was grandfathered into Handshake by airdropping a significant amount of the $HNS tokens which were minted with the cash generated from investors like Sequoia. All the current 1500 TLDs in existence such as .com and .org along with the top 100k sites as per Alexa rankings have been reserved for their rightful owners. This is to ensure that Handshake does not disrupt or break the internet in its current form. Handshake does NOT seek to replace the legacy internet, but seeks to expand it in new ways. So you can’t buy google.com on handshake and sell ice creams. Handshake is inclusive of everything before it and everything after it. Let’s now focus on the technical aspects of Handshake (HNS)
1- Legacy names are used to point at services, With HNS the “NAME” is the service. The most important thing about HNS is that unlike legacy names (google.com) HNS names are PROGRAMABLE. You can build critical and complicated systems, companies, financial services and communities using these names as the underlying technology. With Handshake(HNS) you can actually build stuff ON the INTERNET.
2- Handshake names can be made unstoppable and uncensorable.
3- Handshake names can serve as financial addresses for wallets that resolve HNS.
4- Handshake will serve as a universal log into across all digital services. A universal KYC.
5- Unlike the internet which supports only English. Handshake supports everything. That’s right, EVERTYTHING ! Words, Alphabets, Numbers, Regional Languages, Signs and Emojis. Imagine TLDs with surnames, country flags and words & symbols of religious significance. Imagine an email id like this m–> 😀@🦄.😀, or sound@0db.
5- Infinite possibilities. It would be akin to sitting in 1990 and trying to predict what we will do in 2021 with the internet. It’s almost impossible to predict the millions of use cases that will emerge once Internet names become PROGRAMMABLE.
The Tokenomics of HNS is interesting too.
Handshake names are won by bidding. The bidding is done with the native token of the blockchain, which is $HNS. There will be a total of approximately 2 billion coins.
The auctions are interesting. The highest bidder wins, but pays only the amount of the 2nd highest bidder. Eg: If there were three bids of 10 HNS, 20 HNS and 30 HNS for a name. The highest bidder (30 HNS) would be the winner but he/she would only pay 20 HNS. And in this case since there no one to pay the tokens are burnt. Thus the token is deflationary by nature and scarcity is guaranteed.
It was Satoshi’s dream to free money and the internet from centralized control. He got the money part done but could not hang around to finish the internet bit. It’s taken 12 years. But now the journey is complete.
Below are some links to help you get around Handshake.