The Shake: Apr. 10, 2022
A publication on Handshake and the Decentralized Web. Towards a New Internet.
On Handshake Subdomains
If you own your own top level domain on Handshake, you can use the entire namespace of subdomains as you please. But what if you’d like to distribute subdomains to a network of users? Or apply them to an alternative namespace? This week, the Handshake community got together to exchange notes on various approaches to subdomain systems. Broadly, we can summarize these designs into three main research categories: off-chain, on-chain, and cross-chain.
As a root zone for top level domains, to say Handshake is un-opinionated about subdomains is perhaps a misnomer. It is designed to be compatible with DNS architecture and, thus, current off-chain subdomain designs. There exist legacy registrars as well as new Handshake-native registrars providing nameservers, marketplaces and UIs for custodial DNS management of Handshake subdomains.
Beyond that, there’s exploration of decentralized subdomains. In some cases, self custody of subdomains may be a means to an end. In other cases, it’s in service of new use cases for Handshake naming. All of these attempts today, however, rely on HIP5 — a standard for resolving names on an alternative namespace other than a domain name or an name server hosted on an IP address. The Fingertip resolver and Beacon browser, crucially, support HIP5 and enable resolution of a growing set of HIP5 protocols.
Aliasing is an on-chain approach to decentralized subdomains being pursued by Luke Burns today. For any subdomain, an alias is computed using the hash of that name (concatenated as strings). That alias can then be trustlessly obtained on-chain as a Handshake top level domain. The TLD alias then grants DNS management over the desired subdomain. DSub is a working prototype for the aliasing protocol.
XNHNS is a cross-chain approach to decentralized subdomains being pursued by Kiba Gateaux. It’s a generalized ENS-fork that uses an oracle system to extend any top-level domain to any EVM compatible (and with some added work, non-EVM) chain. Top level domains can be staked and delegated to a specific chain. Those TLD can be represented as NFTs that gain composability with the network they are staked to — i.e. Ethereum has a sophisticated set of protocols for NFT marketplaces, indexes, and fractionalization. Subdomains can be sold trustlessly to users with self hosted wallets. Or these subdomains can be used to provide legible, resolvable names to networks of contract addresses.
To their credit, Namecheap has prioritized and funded some of these efforts into decentralized subdomains. Sometimes you have to cannibalize your own business before others do the same. In any case, traditional subdomains still have the clearest path forwards. Decentralized SLD systems are in early, experimental phases. On-chain and cross-chain designs come with their own trade offs. As we move towards production ready systems, we will have to compare these implementations across a number of factors including decentralization, cost, speed, and usability.
We made a(nother) Handshake ad.
This Week in Handshake
↳ Mako The new bitcoin fullnode in C, intended as the foundation for the next Handshake fullnode, is making progress. Taking maximum portability to its end state means the ability to run on any operating system — even Windows 95.
Turns out JJ wasn’t kidding.
↳ WDBRN SSL / HTTPS Handshake hosting service from Nathan Woodburn
↳ PoW A comprehensive discussion with Matthew Zipkin on proof of work, network security, and 51% attack risk in Handshake
↳ HandyHost Podcast with Alex Smith of HNSOSS on the DWeb control panel for supply side storage, compute, and bandwidth
Around The DWeb
Skynet Kernel Reimagining self verification, Skynet intends to enable full nodes running in the browser.
Undisclosed ₿ @BitcoinUndiscFinally convinced my dad to ditch his Trezor for Bitcoin Core on a Linux laptop dedicated to just #Bitcoin.
De-eth-ed As the messiness of DAO governance has aided a disillusionment of ENS, 4k+ Twitter accounts that have removed .eth from their usernames
Latest micro grants from HandyOSS:
50k DVPN to Nameboard
500 USDC to The Shake
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