Namebase and its blockchain Handshake have officially gone live, allowing their users to send funds to a simple name, instead of a complicated address.
Handshake is a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol compatible with DNS (Domain Name System, a hierarchical and decentralized naming system), created by Namebase, an exchange, cloud wallet, and registrar for Handshake names and native coin HNS. The startup claims that a total of USD 10.2 million has been raised, with Handshake investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and SV Angel.
Namebase describes Handshake as “an experimental project that makes DNS more secure.” It claims that the centralized nature of internet names can lead to censorship and loss of privacy, but also that top-level domains are limited. The FAQ further explains that billions of dollars are “being moved around on potentially insecure websites. If you’re personally identifiable as the owner of a valuable asset, there’s a risk to your personal safety.”
The goal of Handshake is to simplify the entire transaction process and make it both easier and safer by allowing users to name the domains, instead of using complicated addresses that often have to be copied and pasted to complete a transaction. Handshake, however, will be using names so that, in order to complete a transaction, the users just need to type specific names of whom they want to transact with. These can be used like a traditional top-level domain (i.e. my.wallet/) or by themselves (i.e wallet/), as a standalone name. DNS records can only be modified by a domain’s owner, claims Namebase.
The owners are free to do with their Handshake domains what they want – to receive crypto, included. “They can use it for their own site or become a registrar that sells subdomains — i.e thisis.cool or my.wallet — to other users,” explains Namebase.
Furthermore, these domain names will be registered on Namebase’s own blockchain, while the Handshake HNS coin will be used to transfer, register, and update them. The mainnet has been launched on February 3 and the miners were able to start mining HNS, but other transactions, namely transfers, claiming and bidding are not enabled yet.
This will happen on February 17, according to the timeline, when the first batch of Handshake names will be released for bidding. Handshake domains are initially offered through an auction and bid with HNS to ensure a fairer distribution, says the website. Additionally, using HNS is meant to prevent Sybil attacks and one party claiming all the names.
On March 1, the first Handshake name auctions will close. Names will be released for bidding over the course of 52 weeks, with a new batch of names unblocked every week.
Meanwhile, this Handshake option is similar to what the Ethereum Name Service offered in August 2019.