Handshake is a naming protocol that’s backwards compatible with the existing DNS. It does not replace the DNS protocol, but it replaces the root zone file (where TLD ownership is stored) and the root servers with a distributed and decentralized system that anyone can use. This allows the root zone to be uncensorable, permissionless, and free of gatekeepers like the ICANN which manages the root zone today. Handshake users can register any name they can think of as a TLD and truly own them as opposed to renting domains in the ICANN system.
Every peer in the network cryptographically validates and manages the root zone, which also removes the need for the Certificate Authority system (CAs) entirely (learn more). Names are logged on the Handshake blockchain — essentially one big distributed zone file that anyone has the right to add an entry in.
Existing TLDs like .com, .net, .org (and the top 100k Alexa names) are blacklisted from being registered on the network and Handshake resolvers use traditional TLDs as the source of truth when you visit a traditional domain like Namebase.io. Naturally, Handshake resolvers like NextDNS.io use the Handshake blockchain as the source of truth when you visit a Handshake domain (learn how to use NextDNS).
Every programmer is familiar with .txt, the file extension used for plain-text files. Text files are incredibly easy to work with — they just store plain-text! You can use them to store quick notes, todos, and memos, and you can use them for data storage for simple applications as well.
Text files are universal. Windows uses the default application Notepad to open .txt files, and Mac uses TextEdit. You can run “cat” to open .txt files from the command-line as well. Now you can put text files on the web with the .TXT Handshake TLD. This is great for sharing text files externally or even making your internal text files accessible on all your devices. In the example below I’m using tieshun.txt to host my personal todo list so I can view it from my phone and laptop.
Sell your own subdomains
This is just the beginning. Once this pilot run of selling .TXT and .JS domains completes, we’ll be opening up our registry to allow any Handshake TLD owner to sell subdomains off their TLD! End-users will be able to buy subdomains on Gateway.io and 101domain, with more registrars coming soon. Sign up here to join the waitlist, and if you don’t already own a Handshake TLD, you can use Namebase to get one!