Nick Chong · 1 week ago · 2 min read · Insights via Grayscale Investments
Handshake mainnet goes live allowing anyone to own top-level domains and earn in decentralized fashion
Handshake, a Proof-of-Work DNS protocol spearheaded by the co-creator of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, has launched its mainnet in its bid to decentralize trusted Certificate Authorities and replace authoritative bodies like ICANN that govern top-level domains (TLDs) like “.com” and “.org.”
The project has maintained a low profile since debuting in August 2018, when news broke Handshake had raised $10.2 million in stealth from a16z Crypto, Draper Associates, Founders Fund, Sequoia Capital and other big-name VCs. Handshake’s mainnet officially went live at 1700 UTC Monday.
At the same time, Namebase, a domain registrar, cloud wallet, and exchange for Handshake also backed by a16z Crypto, launched its exchange services for Handshake token (HNS). Namebase users will eventually be able to purchase domains on Handshake and use email-style crypto addresses to send and receive Bitcoin and other tokens in a vein similar to Ethereum-based Unstoppable Domains, who recently added support for MyEtherWallet.
Users will also be able to bid on Namebase for unique TLDs like “.guy” using the HNS token, and then earn HNS whenever someone registers a sub-domain to that TLD.
RT, like, and follow if you can't wait till then📈 pic.twitter.com/uKMJnS3ADe
— Namebase (@NamebaseHQ) February 3, 2020
Full rollout on February 17
The Handshake blockchain is now minable for its native HNS tokens, however, transactions and full functionality will not be enabled until February 17. At the same time, the protocol will disperse $115 million worth of HNS (85 percent of the supply) to open-source developers in a long-planned decentralized airdrop.
Pitched by Handshake lead developer Joseph Poon as a challenge to the standard initial coin offering (ICO) model, the airdrop will distribute tokens to users with eligible accounts on GitHub, Hackerbase, or PGP keys in the PGP Web of Trust Strongset.
In practice, internet users can now configure their browsers to lookup IP addresses on the public Handshake blockchain instead of on traditional centralized infrastructure—the top 100,00 websites by Alexa ranking have already been allocated domain names on Handshake.
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