What is Handshake, and Where Are We Now?


(00:01) [Music] okay so now we’re in our first session and we have rook here actually there was we just had a great podcast with you on the global formation show that i’m a host and uh i’m really excited for your session here and um we’re right on time we’re maybe a few minutes behind but do you want to do you have any slides you’d like to share of course also some people there’s some plus you can hit some plus signs and stuff here also in the bottom for people that want to support cool awesome um yeah i don’t have

(00:42) any slides but i do have uh some demos that i can show that i think are a little bit more effective that yeah i agree i agree we’re kind of like an unconference here so no problem uh there’s a share on the bottom you should see and then yeah i see that i see that cool okay so i’ll just kind of give a brief overview of what i’m going to cover in this uh you know first intro session basically i’m going to explain what handshake is uh why handshake needs to exist uh why now which is always a very important question

(01:22) for any you know new technology why why now when there have been so many attempts in the past um and then i’ll also give a a quick overview of the current state of handshake uh and kind of cover some of the uh you know use cases and you know where the community can go from here so uh at a brief high level handshake is a decentralized domain name system protocol uh and that probably sounds like a lot of jargon but to kind of put into simple terms when we’re on a website like airmeat.

(02:00) com you’re using the domain name system airmeat.com is the domain name dot com is the extension and it’s all controlled by the domain name system or abbreviated dns for short and effectively the way that it works now is that infrastructure is fairly centralized their there.com for example is a domain extension controlled by verisign which is a you know for-profit company i think they’re worth like 20 billion dollars or something like that they make about a billion dollars a year just from registrations um and then above verisign is an

(02:36) organization called icann which governs the uh all of the domain extensions so they kind of control who gets.com who owns io.net etc and so you can think of the domain name system as a tree that at the top is controlled by icann uh it’s worth tens of billions of dollars um and it’s and it’s centralized and what handshake does is it decentralizes the root zone it replaces icann with the decentralized protocol and there are a number of benefits that accrue once you do that um there are benefits around you know true ownership now you can

(03:14) actually own your own domain extension where is normally that’s inaccessible to people uh you have benefits around security and censorship resistance and i know i just kind of shared a lot about what handshake is and that can kind of seem foreign so i’ll just quickly show you uh you know how handshake is used and that should kind of give you a concrete image of what handshake is let me just share my screen real quick and i think this should be uh working i’m just gonna open a new tab and i’m gonna go to

(03:45) a normal website like nameless this is the uh company that we’ve built in order to make handshake easy to use it’s kind of like an on-ramp for handshake and then i’m going to go to another website welcome.nb and this is a domain name on the handshake protocol so nb is a domain extension that was registered on handshake and that’s the name that you get to actually own on handshake it’s a protocol that lets you register these domain extensions uh racelight.com.ao.

(04:20) net these are all different domain extensions and handshake lets you register new extensions directly on the blockchain that you get to own and that also means that you get to control all the subdomains so in this case we have welcome dot n b uh we created that sub domain and then we put up a site on welcome.

(04:38) mb the really neat thing about handshake though is that you can not only just use it for normal sites but you can also use the name itself as a domain name so in this case we also put up a website at envy the domain extension and this is a website we call it a d-link it’s a basically like a decentralized zinc tree it’s using a web 3 protocol called uh cya coin uh skynet uh for the hosting and then it’s using handshake for the naming so it’s actually a full decentralized website um and so the really cool thing about handshake is that you can not only use

(05:14) it for normal websites so i think welcome.mb for example this is a static website hosted on uh digitalocean which is like a hosting provider but this website is actually hosted on web3 protocols uh using handshake for the naming and saya for the storage and i’m gonna stop sharing for just a second just to kind of go back and explain a little bit more about what this all is the really cool thing about handshake is you know it gives ownership of naming back to people and it’s really really important now because

(05:51) of the trends that we’re seeing in the internet today which is that censorship and consolidation are increasingly becoming major problems that we’re seeing on the internet and when you think about the usage of the internet domain names are basically like the first layer of the internet protocol sac right every the first thing that you type in when you open up a browser is a domain name so if you want to have a decentralized internet you need a decentralized naming system uh as a gateway to that internet

(06:21) and that’s basically the hole in the role that handshake fulfills um the a question that we often get though in terms of why now because you know if any of you are familiar with uh other you know naming protocols and also even before blockchain technology existed uh there were alternative route zones that were attempted in the past uh an alternative route zone is basically what handshake is you know creating a new dns route that’s not the i can control system and um you know not only have there been alternative routes before blockchain has

(06:58) existed uh there’s also been name coin uh you know after name point there’s also ens and software domains and so a lot of different attempts at uh you know these uh alternative root zones and you have to ask yourself okay why uh why now and why handshake and something to consider for any new technology is what allows it to succeed and usually there are two main components that are really important for uh new technology to succeed you need one the technology to just work right so for example if you look at

(07:30) bitcoin before bitcoin there are numerous attempts at digital currencies right there is a big gold and a few other ones decades earlier uh but it wasn’t until satoshi nakamoto basically constructed all the mechanics and used the computer science and cryptography and blockchain technology put it all together into a single package and aligned all the incentives that we had a uh cryptocurrency protocol that could actually you know succeed and uh you know be a functional technology that couldn’t be censored

(07:59) in addition to that you also have to look at what allows new technologies to succeed culturally which is you need a cultural zeitgeist in order for people to actually care about a new technology so if you look at bitcoin for example bitcoin launched in the weight of the 2008 financial crisis and that cultural pull a lot of people were really upset about you know the money printing that happened and the bailouts and you know all the corruption and you know how broken the system was and that allowed a lot of uh interests to kind of gather towards

(08:32) bitcoin when it launched at that uh you know at that time in history and so the two things are necessary for bitcoin to succeed one is the technology needed to work and then two the cultural zeitgeist needs to basically pull people towards uh you know towards bitcoin that is effectively what we’re seeing now for the web three which is right now there is finally a decentralized protocol that does uh decentralize cnn where the challenge is there and why that was you know it would be difficult for name point to

(09:05) have succeeded but effectively handshake has the technology working and then it’s only now in 2021 that we’re seeing the cultural zeitgeist form uh towards this decentralization and the decentralized internet and so those two things paired together are very important and then you also have to consider the fact that now in 2021 we have all of these web three technologies all launching at the same time right we have file coin we have ipfs i think biocoin was like what year is in the making and then now it’s finally

(09:34) launched we have ipfs uh cya coin skynet is a functional decentralized storage technology so we have all these web 3 technologies it’s kind of amazing the timing they’re all becoming functional all at once um and when you think about decentralized naming you need naming as one layer of the sec but you also need storage and compute and everything else that you come to associate with uh you know rich dynamic applications another protocol that recently launched is or i think is launching this month is a cache which is

(10:04) decentralized compute so now it’s like literally just within this you know recent like three month period that’s becoming possible to build truly decentralized rich dynamic applications and this is something that’s like literally only happened in 2021 so that’s that’s really the why now answer which is we have the cultural pull towards decentralization and then we finally have the technological maturity for the decentralized web to come into fruition now given that overview i’m also just going to talk a little bit

(10:37) about the state of handshake today you know if you’ve been in the community for a while handshake’s only a year old and already over 700 thousand names have been registered which is really exciting um the market i’ll just show a quick screen share real quick if you can see right here we recently released a stats page which kind of tracks a bunch of different stats uh in handshake and we’re also you know working to add more and more stats there um so people can track the stats there’s also shakestats.com which is a

(11:13) another good site but basically you can see that the uh marketplace for handshake names has been growing basically exponentially so there’s more and more interest and handshake names every month and then something that’s really really important uh beyond the speculation is also the usage um you know not only has the number of registered names been growing uh basically at an exponential pace i think it’s around 20 25 um you know per month but also the number of unique handshake domains in use uh so we track this as

(11:45) if a name has been registered on the blockchain and also has had its dns sent settings altered right because if the name is not doesn’t have the dns settings altered then it’s basically sitting dormant and so this number has also been growing exponentially and this is an amazing thing to see because you know if you look through the first few months of uh you know handshakes launch it was fairly quiet only a few sites on it and only recently has the traction started to really gain steam and uh the way i see it is it seems like

(12:17) the community is finally hitting critical mass if you think of any sort of uh you know network effect community you always need to reach this point of critical mass where the community just like grows exponentially you know the technologies that you can pair with handshake start to come to fruition we’re seeing adoption from uh crypto influencers i’ll just show you real quick this is nick carter he’s well known uh for having uh you know being an outspoken bitcoin supporter um you know he’s really big in

(12:46) the bitcoin community but also he kind of has a d-web thesis for his fun he’s beginning to handshake and you can see he’s linked to his d-link uh which i’m showing right here um and this is on hns.t.o which is a centralized you know normal internet gateway so that when you’re sharing handjig names you can still share with people who haven’t changed their settings over to handshake and then i of course have set up handcheck on my computer using hdns.

(13:12) io which is i’m actually just announcing this publicly for the first time during the conference it’s a public dns resolver that you can basically just change the setting in your computer and start resolving handshake names on you know chrome firefox safari any any device uh we haven’t announced this publicly yet but i’m just kind of giving you a sneak peek if you’re listening during the conference but basically i’ve set up my computer to point the handshake and use the handshake resolver for resolution so i can visit nick carter’s website

(13:39) and so we’re starting to get adoption from well-known crypto enthusiasts who uh you know typically don’t look at too many other protocols but you know handshakes really starting to gain traction and that’s really exciting um and another interesting thing is that you can use the handshake names for more than just a normal domain name you can use them for decentralized login decentralized social applications a lot of these new use cases are basically just uh coming into fruition now and aren’t really well known yet um so it’s

(14:10) just like a really exciting time to be in the community i’ll show another quick demo which is pretty neat again this is something that we haven’t uh really announced to publicly and it’s just live today but we just created this forum which you know functions like a normal forum except the really cool thing is it lets you use your handshake name for decentralized authentication so i’ll just show how this works real quick here basically you can log in with your handshake name um and so this case i have tiachon on

(14:40) handshake and i’m able to go and use uh my name to actually log into uh it’s like basically using handshake as a primitive to allow you to authenticate uh that might sound like a lot of jargon and that might be really confusing so if anyone’s confused like feel free to talk to me afterwards i can kind of explain how that all works but this is something that we’re just using today and we also have a mega thread uh for handycon so if you actually go there you can use your handshake name to authenticate um and then i also have

(15:08) my b link on tian as well this is kind of like a sprawling uh demo and it might seem kind of uh confusing and all over the place so basically the key takeaway is uh you know finally in 2021 we not only have the technological maturity but also the cultural zeitgeist for decentralized uh dns to succeed and for handshakes specifically the community is hitting critical mass getting adoption from uh you know crypto influencers developers domainers uh and then also there’s a lot of exciting stuff happening in the

(15:43) community um you know not just stuff that we’re doing at name base but also the entire community is creating really cool stuff um i think someone also just recently created i’m checking out the showcase someone just created uh h search which is a search engine for handshake name so you can use that to actually go and check out a bunch of different sites on handshake so there’s a lot of cool stuff cool cool uh so with that said i saw there were some raised hand uh notifications on the sidebar i’m not too familiar with maybe i can

(16:15) take some questions that people might have yeah i think that might be a good use of the remaining time yeah i think that’s great it’s great tish thanks for sharing so do some recaps definitely check out hdns.io which is what he mentioned so that we’ll be able to resolve uh handshake names without any kind of other settings needed on your laptop or phone which is amazing and then news.namebase.

(16:38) io which is namer news which you just basically two big announcements of new products at a name base which is really exciting for everybody here to check out and experience um so i saw a couple questions if others there’s a pretty active chat here again another benefit of being here live uh on the air me events um so i’m just reading i think some people are a little bit confused they said name basis dot io isn’t that centralized or on icann i i’m kind of paraphrasing but it was a longer question i’m scrolling up i don’t know

(17:09) if you want to answer or explain that yeah totally so name base uh just for context is separate from handshake you can kind of think of handshake as a protocol and name base is building on top of handshake similar to how bitcoin is a protocol and coinbase builds on top of uh bitcoin so what namebase does is we’re effectively an on-ramp and our goal is to make kanjik really easy to use uh so for someone who has you know zero pre-existing knowledge of handshake who has zero h s if you want to get started uh getting

(17:40) into handshake getting h s getting a handshake name uh you need to get h s you need a bid on a name uh on the handshake blockchain and name base basically makes that easy to use uh so that’s why we also have a website on uh you know a traditional website named asario because that’s gonna be the easiest way for people to still access it and we actually also have name base uh as a tld on handshake itself so you can go to name base slash in your browser you have uh access to the link that we set up there um and

(18:09) we’re going to be transitioning uh name base slash and make that a uh another gateway to name base itself because something that i didn’t talk about too much is you can actually use handshake as a more secure route uh for your dns than certificate authorities and this is getting fairly technical but basically one of the uh main security goals of handshake is to actually replace certificate authorities which are a trusted third party that your computer relies on for uh https and replace it with a blockchain

(18:42) um which has a number of uh you know really desirable security properties uh but basically this is also something that’s an ongoing development in the handshake community which is you can currently use handshake names for https but uh we need some more integrations and more infrastructure work to make it really easy for end users to use so that is something that we will be doing is transitioning uh name base right now is a d-link is a decentralized web page uh pointing to our different links online but we’re going to transition it

(19:11) to just be another way that you can access the name based saudio site but we’ll also we’ll always just have name based audio just because it’s important for newcomers to be able to access the website and have an easy on-ramp for handshake okay um gyy student says what about security it’s kind of i think you even just kind of touched on it a little bit and i know that’s a huge loaded question that might be hard to answer in a couple of minutes but uh that’s a question yeah there’s there’s a

(19:39) really good um we wrote a blog post if you go to our blog on name base uh you know maybe i can just share i’m gonna share it in the neighborhood news post uh and talk about um which talks about basically how handshake can actually improve the security on the internet uh so i just posted it in the uh handicon mega thread so if your name renews you just click into that uh but basically the ultimate goal of handshake is to serve as a more secure route of trust for https um and that that is really the the end goal and that’s like kind of like the

(20:16) nirvana of security um so you should probably just go and read through that post it it kind of tries to uh i don’t know how well of an attempt it is but it tries to break it down in a way that even if you’re not technical you can understand it uh but that is that is ultimate end goal of uh handshake and that’s something that the entire community is working towards too awesome thanks there’s some people saying bear tlds don’t work for them so well as slds i don’t know if you want to explain what a lot of people don’t even

(20:46) know what tlds really are everybody just knows a domain is like a domain but sld i think is what people would consider um a domain name right yeah i think sometimes a little bit more advanced but maybe some people don’t know differences sld tld or beard totally or totally so let me i’ll share my screen and this this can illustrate it pretty easily so in this case we have uh two websites both using the nb tld but in this case i’m using nb as uh the domain itself and in this case i’m using an sld a second level domain so this is the

(21:25) top level domain right here and b welcome is the second level domain this entire string is a domain name in this case this entire string is a domain name and uh when someone was saying oh the tld doesn’t work and my browser that’s because the browser support it varies um in some browsers you just have to put nb slash and other ones i think you have to put nb uh dot slash or maybe just nb dot um and that’s just because uh not all browsers will let you use a tld as a domain itself um and in those cases you can also just use

(22:01) a normal uh a normal sld because that’s something that all browsers will recognize of course um the other really neat thing and i’ll just share this because clay collins who’s the founder of nomix he also owns dot c on handshake but something that’s really cool they can do with your handshake name is you can also uh not because you own the tld you can actually sell the subdomains you can sell the slds to others so something that uh clay collins did with dossier is he’s using uh one of our products the name based

(22:33) registry uh which is currently uh in uh private alpha but we’re private beta but we’re launching it publicly later this uh month but basically you can actually go and sell slds off of your tld and so clay collins is using the nanima’s registry to sell c domains um and we’ve integrated with 101domain.

(22:55) com which is a traditional uh domain registrar and circo.com which is another domain registrar and also gateway.io which is like a domain registrar built specifically for handshake but he’s selling the c domains through that and amazingly dot c is already a top 500 tld uh in comparison to icann tld so currently there are about 1500 icann tlds and just based off the number of registrations that dot c has uh it’s already a top 500 tld so something that’s been really exciting for the community is the handshake names are effectively nfts

(23:30) that can have cash flows um and that’s something that’s just like really underexplored right now we’re hoping to make that a lot easier for anyone to go and use uh just through the name based registry so people can just go and you know start selling the slds off their tld uh you know with a click of a button but the really neat thing about that is that um now that you can value these nfts uh using kind of traditional financial metrics so for example i think dot c has like a few hundred registrations

(23:56) uh right now say like just like 500 as like simple math uh 500 registrations 10 per name that renews annually so that’s you know five thousand dollars uh per year in uh cash flow and then the name itself.c was purchased for about uh five thousand dollars uh if you go to the uh domain on name base you can see the purchase history so it’s already basically made made back what it was paid for um and then also if you think about the value of the domain it’s it’s not just the the annual revenue it’s the annual

(24:28) revenue you know projected into the future with some sort of discount value so if you just use like a basic um you know just like 10x uh multiplier the value of the dossier domain is already like 10x what uh you know clay originally purchased for it which is really cool and that’s only going to grow because now he’s marketing his name and people are buying it but that’s a really exciting development that is you know still uh you know growing okay great we have a few more minutes but we’re probably gonna move the next session

(24:55) into like about less than five minutes so everybody prepare uh there’s a couple more questions i want to try my best to see if we can get them somebody you know there’s still some you know i even me i was a little bit hesitant for a week or two when i first heard about it some somebody’s asking what if i can buy his name base and what happens all the names yeah um if i can buy’s name read the whole question it’s far there’s a lot of chats so something like what if they he seems like a maybe potential skeptic

(25:24) or he’s trying to break the model he’s just saying what happens if maybe if somebody buys name base and what would happen to the names i think i’m trying to scroll up in the questions if if you ask that question you can clarify but he’s just another maybe hesitant or cautious person trying to understand what if he owns it or if some if if i can or someone bought your company what would happen to his names i think is the question i got it yeah that’s a great question i i can not an organization that would be making

(25:54) that type of acquisition it’s just uh it’s like a non-profit organization it’s kind of this like huge bureaucratic thing like that’s not really what they do so that wouldn’t really um that that doesn’t really make as much sense but you can you can think through like okay what would what happen if um an acquiring company let’s say like godaddy or coinbase went and bought um name base so the really neat thing is uh one is any acquiring company uh like that we like in a world in which that sale happened

(26:25) it they would also still have to uh follow like the terms of service that name base uh has around the management of the names because maybe this is like a cloud uh wallet for handshake um but ultimately handshake persists past name base because handshake is the underlying blockchain all these names are registered on handshake so the the really neat thing is you can get your name on namebase and you can just withdraw it to your own self-custody wallet in that case you need to manage the the private keys and then the the heartbeat transaction which

(26:56) is another technical detail uh you can manage that yourself but the really cool thing is you don’t need to use handshake through name base uh if you want to use you know the interface that we have in the on-ramp you’re welcome to do that if you want to go um you know use your own wallet if you want to use the cli you can you can do all of that uh yourself and basically as the end user you have that full uh choice um and and also you if you use one or the other you can always change your mind and switch over uh whenever you want so

(27:23) that’s the really cool thing about blockchain technologies is that uh as a user you’re not locked in you can just go and um you know use user protocol however you’d like okay so there’s quite a few more questions that i feel like we have a whole conference there’s two days of of content i so i know some people are maybe just hearing about this or still learning um yeah maybe we can just like a wrap-up question i can just point people to further resources yeah i think people still i mean even me

(27:50) like it’s just like you know you’re like you mentioned coinbase so people know coinbase for bitcoin your company name base is like a coin base for handshake i mean if people can understand that relationship or even like you know or domains is a registrar so i think maybe people are trying to understand that so if if your company was to be bought or merged they still the clients own the names that they have on your platform i think there’s still some people that are just maybe new or cautious or just trying to break

(28:21) them you know trying to just break the model i think um but yeah so i’m just reading some more questions like custody of you know yeah i mean people are still just warning about ownership but i think essentially name base has done a great job i mean i most of us always at least start on name base and the point is they’re building h dns.

(28:50) io which just was announced right now which is a resolver so you can use this on your phone your your whole network your computer um and they’re building nemer news and logging with handshake so we we um we’re excited to use that in other products too so you know they’re they’re building tools and marketplaces and and and uh and really facilitating and and become the backbone of of handshake and i really i really appreciate everything name base and tiasha and johnny wu of course and others have done for this community um there’s quite a bit of

(29:20) chats i think we’re gonna we’re gonna have you in some more sessions in the future you’ll be around for the conference too right yep totally i’ll be around i’ll be active here and also in the neymar news side awesome thanks so much i think i think we’ll wrap it at this um thanks again for sharing with us and uh yeah there’s so much more this is still just beginning right maybe we’ll just wrap it worse you know it’s one year a bit over one year in since since the genesis block

(29:46) but you know i think people listening or just getting in today are still huge opportunity right i mean that’s the main point yeah yeah 100 we’re super early uh in terms of the number of names registered we’re still like at like one percent of what uh can be registered so really early okay great so everybody we’re going to transition to the next session which is going to be a panel i think tesla is actually on it with uh the d web foundation and uh and more things we can do in the community so we we might break for a few minutes

(30:16) and then we’ll come back okay everybody thank you and thank you tisha awesome thanks [Music]