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Handshake Protocol:
an experimental peer-to-peer root DNS

The TLS Handshake protocol is a proof-of-work protocol like Bitcoin. Unlike Bitcoin, where you only use the coins as money, Handshake coins (HNS) are also used to register domain names on the Handshake blockchain.

Handshake domain names are top-level domain names (TLDs like .com, .net or .org) but are available to own outright, not just to rent for an annual fee. You own your Handshake domain names forever, and no one can take them from you, or prevent others from accessing. Rather than being limited to renting from a small number of extensions like .com or .org, you can own and use almost any extension you can think of with Handshake domains. This includes domain name extensions with Chinese characters, Russian characters and even emojis.

Handshake domains do not resolve on regular DNS sites. Use the search field above to search for available domain names for use with the Handshake protocol.

Learn more about the Handshake protocol.

More info on Handshake domain names

Handshake domain names include:

Handshake FAQ

What are Handshake domains? 

Handshake domain names include a top-level domain (TLDs like .com, . net or . org), but they are also a decentralized naming protocol in which each peer validates and manages the root DNS naming zone. This is with the intention of replacing existing Certificate Authorities and naming systems. With more protections and no central authority, users are allowed to create their own custom domain names.

Consider the handles or usernames you use on social media platforms, as well as domain names that mark the URL for websites. Almost all of these services are delivered by trusted third parties, preventing the web from being fully decentralized. Decentralized web services can now experiment with Handshake, which includes key management and server/service authentication.

How do Handshake domains work?

Handshake requires that everyone follows the same software rules in order for everyone to reach a programmatic agreement on name ownership. When a name is registered, the owner receives a cryptographic key that only they control, which allows them to grant ownership to their name and write records on Handshake that identify, approve, and locate resources associated with it.

How do you register a Handshake name?

Individuals can bid on domain naming rights using the handshake auction system, which allows different types of smart contracts to be created. You can use the Handshake digital currency (HNS) to bid on a domain name or use a qualified Handshake expert like EnCirca to help you register for Handshake domains with USD or other traditional banking methods. 

How can I get Handshake coins (HNS)?

HNS can be purchased through EnCirca’s Handshake exchange, which currently accepts USD or BTC as payment.

What is the bidding process to obtain a Handshake domain?

Participants in Handshake use HNS to bid on domain names, allowing the group to start auctions. This method prevents a single individual fromTo allow smart contracts between participants bidding on a Handshake domain name, Handshake uses the same proof-of-work layer as cryptocurrency. You can sell or exchange your Handshake TLD for other TLDs once you have it. You may exchange HNS with a Handshake wallet or use a registrar to assist with domain name bidding.  EnCirca is fully equipped to assist you to achieve your Handshake goals.

If I win an auction for a Handshake name, do I pay my bid amount or the 2nd highest bid amount?

The winner of the auction is determined by the highest bid amount as opposed to the highest lockup, and the highest bidder only pays the second-highest bid amount. Importantly, the money bid is burned rather than paid to any entity.

How long do I get to own my Handshake domain name?

Handshake names are registered for a period of two years. By paying a regular network fee every two years, names can be renewed. There are no social or technological promises about renewability or ownership since it’s an experimental system. Currently, the transaction fee is included in the block incentive for miners.

What is a blockchain?

The blockchain is a digital ledger that connects any participant’s records (blocks) via cryptography. Handshake domains resolve with blockchain browser plug-ins since they are built on blockchain technology. The blockchain protocol creates an irreversible digital record of any web transaction, ensuring tamper-proof operation.

How can I access my Handshake domain names since they don’t resolve on traditional DNS?

There are many internet browsers that support Handshake domains such as Opera and various Chrome plugins.  Please visit https://learn.namebase.io/starting-from-zero/how-to-access-handshake-sites for more options on how to view your Handshake domains.  NextDNS is one of the most popular methods for accessing Handshake domain names.

Install NextDNS:

You can click “try it now” on nextdns.io to connect your device and resolve Handshake domains. Scroll to the Setup Guide at NextDNS to select the option for your device, confirm with the green button at the top of the page, and then go to the “settings” tab to “resolve Handshake domains.” 

Use a Plugin or a Gateway:

Install the Resolvr add-on to view Handshake names directly in the search bar of your Firefox browser. 

Try searching your site with the HNS.to gateway, which allows you to access Handshake names without downloading software or modifying your DNS settings. You may also conduct searches directly by prefixing Handshake domains with “hns.to/,” such as “hns.to/welcome.nb/.”

What distinguishes Handshake from other decentralized naming projects?

Other decentralized naming systems have not allowed secure “light clients” (simple payment authentication mode), requiring any potential user to run a full node. This is the equivalent of saving all of the world’s domains on your own computer. Handshake is also unique in that it is the first to reserve names for current trademark owners.

What if I’m already a trademark holder and want to claim my name on HNS?

Until launching, Handshake will retain a ninety-day sunrise period to enable current rights holders to claim their trademarked names. This is to make the transition from a centralized to a decentralized root zone file as smooth as possible.  If you are a trademark holder that desires to claim your trademark on Handshake, please contact EnCirca at support@encirca.com.