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Handshake (HNS) Domains: Decentralizing the Domain Name System

The emergence of blockchain-related projects in the domain ecosystem has been an interesting development in the blockchain space. Handshake (HNS) is one such project that is gaining attention among decentralized technology enthusiasts for its potential to revolutionize how people interact with domains in Web3.

Handshake (HNS) Domains: Decentralizing the Domain Name System
Source: Freepik

What is a Handshake (HNS) Domain?

Handshake (HNS) is a permissionless, decentralized naming protocol that provides an accessible alternative to centrally managed domain names such as .com and country-code domains. It aims to serve as a DNS chain alternative to the current default root chain and create handshakes TLDs that are more efficient, affordable, and secure.

Handshake aims to provide a decentralized peer-to-peer domain naming protocol that bypasses the current ICANN-overseen system and helps build a more decentralized landscape. Also, the process to create new TLDs is not only complex and tedious but expensive and highly centralized, making it vulnerable to hacking and non-resistant to corruption and censorship.

How Does a Handshake Domain Work?

Handshake domains are distributed through auctions conducted using Handshake’s software. Auctions for TLDs are held every two weeks, and bidders use HNS, the Handshake protocol’s cryptocurrency, to participate. The winner of the auction pays the second-highest price following the Vickrey auction format, ensuring that domains are allocated efficiently and at a fair market value.

To access a Handshake domain, users must use either the Handshake software itself or compatible browser extensions, such as FingerTIP, HDNS.io, HNS.to, NextDNS, or VPNs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Handshake Domains:

One advantage of Handshake domains is enhanced privacy and control, greater flexibility in domain name usage, and the ability to participate in domain name auctions. The move toward a more decentralized internet could also mean that domains based on services like Handshake may be considered more stable and resilient to domain name hijacking or server outages.

However, the adoption of alternative domains has yet to penetrate the mainstream, requiring potential adopters to be tech-savvy and familiar with cryptocurrency. Alternative domain names are also more difficult to set up and utilize than regular domain names.

The Future of Handshake Domains:

Handshake aspires to be a part of the decentralized future by providing users with greater control over their data, security, and privacy while remaining decentralized. However, accessibility may become an issue for potential adopters, given that registration and browser support are still in the hands of the traditional infrastructure. Additionally, only time will tell if services like Handshake will become widely adopted or fade into obscurity.


Handshake domains offer an accessible alternative to traditional domain names, allowing for peer-to- peer communication and providing a decentralized alternative to ICANN’s top-level domains. Handshake aims to revolutionize how people think about and interact with domains and contribute to building a more decentralized domain landscape online. However, accessibility, adoption, and compatibility with the existing infrastructure are some of the concerns that need to be addressed before Handshake domains can become a widely adopted solution.

January 8, 2024 at 09:00 am

Updated January 8, 2024 at 09:00 am


Remember, investing in cryptocurrencies involves risks, and it’s important to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice before making any financial decisions. (Please keep in mind that this post is solely for informative purposes and should not be construed as financial or investment advice.)


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