Mar 06, 2020 - updated

Tutorial 4: What is Namebase and how does it work

A step by step guide on how to use Namebase

Haider Rafique's profile picture
Haider Rafique

We recognize that Namebase is a fundamentally new experience however it can feel familiar in some ways. For example it can operate like GoDaddy while letting you transact like Coinbase. You can basically buy and manage domains, control your funds, and trade on one of our exchanges (consumer /pro) – all in one platform.

We realize we’ve built a multifaceted product.

To understand all of this, we have developed the below tutorial as a guide to common questions you may run into as you get started on Namebase.

Verifying your profile

Before you can start to buy HNS, you must first verify your profile. This process only takes a few minutes. Once you’ve answered a few basic questions and verified your contact details, you’ll be able to get HNS and start bidding in no time.

The verification process can vary depending on your location. Some users may only need to verify with their first name, last name and DOB. For others it may require more information such as your ID (drivers licence, local ID or passport). We partner with Jumio to verify accounts and store verification data. Jumio is also the verification partner that Coinbase, Airbnb, United Airlines, and many other well-known companies use. This is to ensure your data is always secure and not accessible by anyone or any third party.

*Bidding and trading is not available to NY residents due to regulatory restrictions.

Due to regulatory reasons in the US (we're not happy about it either), Namebase accounts are restricted in functionality until they have successfully verified. Before an account has been verified, it’ll be able to:

  • Transfer HNS into its cloud wallet

  • Bid on Handshake TLDs

  • Withdraw Handshake TLDs

Once an account has been verified, it'll be able to:

  • Trade on Namebase Pro (non-US only)

  • Withdraw HNS (non-US only)

  • Buy and Sell HNS with BTC (global)

  • Buy and Sell HNS with USD (US only - coming soon)

Funding your account

Once your profile is verified, you’ll notice that trading on your account will be enabled. However, you’ll need to fund your account before you can bid or trade.

To fund your account, you’ll need to transfer your BTC from another wallet or an exchange. We will provide USD buys soon. To convert your BTC to HNS from your existing wallet or exchange, please follow the steps below:

Picture of buying hns on Namebase
Picture of buying hns on Namebase

Click on Buy HNS in the top menu under Buy & Sell

  • Step 1: Enter the amount you’d like to spend in BTC to convert to HNS

  • Step 2: Enter your BTC refund address

  • You’ll need to go the wallet or exchange where you are holding BTC and look for your <Receive / Deposit> address

  • Copy that address and enter it the BTC refund address field in Namebase

  • Step 3: You can verify your return / receive address to ensure that any refunds don’t go to the wrong account. There is an edit feature that will allow you to make any changes before submitting Step 4: You can use the QR code or copy the deposit wallet address to enter in the (Send / Withdraw) field in your BTC wallet or exchange account. Once you have completed the steps in your BTC wallet or exchange, you can hit “I’ve finished sending BTC” at the bottom of step 4 in your Namebase ‘buy’ flow.

Note: The price your purchase settles at may be different than the current price because we confirm BTC transactions after 6 blocks (~1 hour). Additionally, large order sizes may incur price slippage that affects the final overall settlement price, depending on the liquidity available on the market. The presented amount here is a best estimate given current market conditions and average purchase quantities.

How long will it take for my deposit to be available in Namebase?

BTC Deposits Namebase confirms BTC deposits after 6 blocks, which typically takes an hour but can take shorter or longer depending on the network activity.

HNS Deposits Due to the current volatility in Handshake's hash rate, Namebase confirms HNS deposits after 20 blocks, which typically takes 3-4 hours. Namebase will decrease the number of blocks needed to confirm deposits as the hash rate increases and stabilizes.

HNS Airdrops Handshake airdrops need to mature for 100 blocks before Namebase can import them. After importing, the system waits 20 blocks to confirm the transaction. In short, your HNS airdrop will appear in your dashboard after 120 blocks (~ 1 day). You can claim your Handshake airdrop using these instructions.

How to create a Namebase wallet

Namebase is a cloud wallet. By creating an account on Namebase, you're automatically given a wallet address that's associated with your account. Click "Generate Address" on your dashboard to view your wallet address.

How to generate a wallet address

There are two ways you can generate an HNS deposit address.

You can either go into your dashboard view (see image below) and copy the HNS address by clicking ‘generate address’.

Getting your wallet address
Getting your wallet address

Or you can also get the HNS deposit address by clicking on “Buy & Sell” in the top navigation

  • Click on ‘Transfer your HNS’ from the menu on the left

  • Copy the transfer address

  • You can use this address to transfer HNS from another wallet or account

Picture of transferring HNS on Namebase
Picture of transferring HNS on Namebase

Why does my wallet address keep changing?

Every time you click "Generate Address" on your dashboard, Namebase generates a new HNS wallet address for you. This helps protect your privacy because transactions can be more easily traced back to you if you keep using the same wallet address. All the old wallet addresses will still work, so it's okay if you accidentally re-use an old address.

Bidding on a TLD or domain you like

We recently published a detailed blog on this topic and we encourage you to read this as soon as possible so you understand the buying process well. The basics of bidding and ultimately owning a Handshake TLD are:

  • The market and the auction demand determines the price of any given TLD, not Namebase or Handshake

  • Bids can take on any value and you can optionally add a blind to your bid to hide the true value of your bid from others.

  • Your bid + blind is called your lockup, which is what the other bidders (and the rest of the network) sees.

  • Your HNS lockup will be non transferable for the duration of the auction, but the blind will be returned to you regardless of whether or not you win the auction.

  • After the first bid, bidding is open to everyone for 5 days.

  • After the bidding period ends, the reveal period begins.

  • Everyone will have 10 days to reveal their bid price — Namebase does this automatically for you so if you’re a Namebase user you won’t need to worry about this step. Your blind is immediately returned to you once your bid is revealed.

  • The winning bid is chosen after the 10 day reveal period and the winner pays the second highest bid amount while the other bidders get their coins back.

  • The winner’s payment is burned by the network, so the winner doesn’t pay bids to anyone per se. This creates a deflationary effect on the network.

  • The winner gets to use their Handshake top-level domain however they wish (Namebase helps you manage its settings without being a programmer) and the rest of the bidders can continue trying their luck on other top-level domains!

What happens when you win/lose?

If you lose, your funds are returned in full (minus the Handshake Mining Fee). If you win, congrats! You're now one of the first owners of decentralized top-level domains on the internet. Companies regularly pay more than $200k to register top-level domains with the ICANN, so it's pretty cool that you own your own top-level domain. You can now point your top-level domain to a personal webpage, set up subdomains for your top-level domain (coming soon), or sell your top-level domain to someone else for a profit (coming soon)

What happens when you "Watch"?

Namebase will email you when top-level domains you watch are released for bidding. This is useful because names are released over the course of the year, so if you find a name you want to bid on you can watch it through Namebase instead of setting a reminder manually to check back in later.

Have more questions or tutorials you want us to publish? Tweet @NamebaseHQ and we will make sure to meet your request. In the meantime, here are the upcoming tutorials in queue:

Tutorial 5: Difference between handshake domains and traditional domains Tutorial 6: How to resolve or visit Handshake websites Tutorial 7: How Handshake domains are released for bidding Tutorial 8: How to register a domain and publish content while staying anonymous Tutorial 9: What use cases will Handshake and Namebase solve.. and can the names be seized


Namebase Customer Experience Team

picture of Haider Rafique
Haider Rafique
VP, Marketing and Growth |
Haider is a seasoned marketing and growth executive with 15+ years of consumer / enterprise marketing experience. He previously built the marketing and growth function at as their first Head of Growth. Haider is credited with creating the first of its kind celebrity launch video in crypto featuring William Shatner. He was also an early member of the Microsoft bing team looking after their hyper growth into a $4B business with 20% US market share.
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