Handshake is a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol compatible with DNS where every peer is validating and in charge of managing the root zone with the goal of creating an alternative to existing Certificate Authorities. Its purpose is not to replace the DNS protocol, but to replace the root zone file and the root servers with a public commons.

The Handshake protocol maintains the root zone file in a decentralized manner, making the root zone uncensorable, permissionless, and free of gatekeepers.

Blockchain Blocks

By running Handshake, one can participate in a decentralized open platform secured by a decentralized peer-to-peer network.

Read the project paper
Documentation can be found here
Latest source code is on GitHub

  • Transparent auction process for simpler, decentralized and more secure top-level domain registration
  • Alternative to certificate authorities, using a decentralized trust anchor to prove domain ownership
  • Distributed and permissionless zone file to which any participant has the right to add an entry or serve as host and validator
  • All entries in the existing root zone file have been registered in the genesis block; the top 100K domains are reserved as TLDs for existing trademark holders
  • Light clients via merkelized proofs and proof-of-work allow for secure name resolutions and certificates
  • 70% of initial 1.36B coins distributed to the FOSS community. Contributors can sign-up for the coin faucet. Learn more or sign-up

Handshake uses a coin system for name registration. The Handshake coin (HNS) is the mechanism by which participants transfer, register, and update internet names. Upon launch of the mainnet, the community will be able to initiate auctions and place bids for top-level domains using HNS or trade their HNS as they see fit. This is necessary to prevent spam on the peer-to-peer network.

To ensure Handshake remains closely tied to the FOSS community, 70% of the initial coin supply will be granted freely to the Free and Open Source Software community (with the majority going to individual FOSS contributors).

Majority ownership of Handshake is granted to Free and Open Source Software contributors via a faucet.

The faucet dispenses coins to freenode users, top GitHub contributors, the PGP Web of Trust Strong Set, or via personal recommendation. Github registrations filled on a weekly basis.


The faucet distributes to freenode users, top GitHub contributors, the PGP Web of Trust Strong Set, or FOSS contributors via personal recommendation. (freenode users prioritized)


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