May 29, 2020 - updated

.JS and .TXT are now live

Learn about the first two TLD registries launched on the Handshake DNS protocol!

Tieshun Roquerre's profile picture
Tieshun Roquerre

About Handshake

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).

.TXT

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.

Updating my local todo file updates the tieshun.txt todo file using rsync
Updating my local todo file updates the tieshun.txt todo file using rsync

.JS

There have been numerous efforts within the JavaScript community to create .JS in the ICANN system, including a Kickstarter attempt to pay the $200k ICANN application fee (though success wouldn’t be guaranteed even after paying the fee).

With Handshake, there’s *finally* a way to share awesome JavaScript and NodeJS projects with a .JS domain. If you invest your time into writing JavaScript, you should be able to easily share your work on an affordable .JS domain, and if you maintain a well-known package, you can get your .JS domain for free (just submit a PR).

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!

picture of Tieshun Roquerre
Tieshun Roquerre
CEO at Namebase |
Tieshun is a Thiel Fellow who studied Math and Computer Science at MIT before starting Namebase. Previously at the age of 16 he became a fullstack engineer at Teespring, and at the age of 17 he founded StrongIntro which was funded by Y Combinator and Greg Brockman (founder of OpenAI). Tieshun's mission is to improve the security of the Internet by giving an unstoppable name to everyone in the world.
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