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What is Handshake?

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  • Author: Coinranking
  • Reading time: 4 minutes

The Handshake (HNS) project creates an alternative certificate authority in naming systems that are used for root Domain Name Server (DNS). This project is decentralized and permissionless. In contrast, the current system is completely governed and controlled by, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which is centralized and is unquestionable. Their system uses names that are used in top-level domain names such as .com, .net, and social networking usernames are centrally managed by this, "Only Game In Town" central authority. Absolute Power without alternatives would seem to encourage the opportunity for corruption, at worst and an undemocratic hierarchy at the least. Handshake creates an alternative, closely interlinked to Namebase, and facilitates open auctions for future naming.


Handshake is a piece of software (and a loose consensus on agreement of the software itself). This software's primary function is for people to come to agreement on names and cryptographic keys authorized to represent that names in a decentralized way. To do this in a decentralized way, we need to prevent a single party from claiming all the names.

Therefore, a unit of account is needed to prevent that single party from claiming all names. The Handshake coin (HNS) is the mechanism by which participants transfer, register, and update internet names. The community will be able to initiate auctions and place bids for top-level domains using HNS or trade their HNS as they see fit, with differing value per name.

Handshake's incentive design assumptions relies upon Metcalfe's Law (Beckstrom's Law, etc.). While Bitcoin's value is derived from it being a costly store of value, Handshake's value is derived from its network of users. Metcalfe's Law asserts that an increase in userbase increases the value of the network (sub)exponentially. This means that allocation of value to potential developers and users of this system be a benefit to everyone, with network effect derived benefiting all users.

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