Not So Secret Handshake, Demystifying the HNS Ecosystem
In this series I’ll be covering all the projects building on Handshake. After writing a short article with a high level take on the project I decided to take a deeper dive. If there is a project or person you’d like me to cover, reach out to me on Twitter.
Product Feature: DNS.Live
Saying that I’m writing about DNS.Live is sort of burying the lead here. The real story here is the team behind this humble project and their ambitions for the world. In a way, the DNS.live team is the reason I’m even writing this series of posts. In beginning my research on the team I feel like I stumbled through a secret door in the back of a bodega to discover an ultra secret speakeasy.
Before I go into the real story here, I am bound by convention to follow the article structure of this series…
Let’s meet the team
What does DNS.Live do?
The premise is a simple one. List the top domains in use on Handshake. If you followed my guide on exploring handshake domains you will love DNS.live. You can poke around on the new internet in its earliest days. Using the site I’m distinctly reminded of surfing the web on dial-up when I was in middle school.
Clicking through the links you’ll find a whole series of text only sites that are a mix of useful and “first!” claims. What should really strike you though is that it’s working. Handshake is working. This idea that a group of engineers can replace a long standing pillar of the internet with Urkel puns is working. For all the crypto projects that have promised the world and failed to deliver, take note. Handshake is how you launch a public blockchain, outside of being Satoshi.
Hokay, so what’s the real story here?
The real story is Andrew Lee. Andrew is a force of nature and he focuses that force towards creating a more free world. Andrew and a small group of rag-tag crypto punks established what may be only the third significant project to emerge from the blockchain revolution after Bitcoin and Ethereum.
I’ll cover the origin story of Handshake in another post. But to illustrate why this launch was so different, I’ll quote the other Andrew Lee (yes there are two Andrew Lees involved in the creation of Handshake — I was confused too)
“We’ve kind of turned the order of operations backward. We’ve been working on this project for over a year writing the code first, then we wrote the white paper”… -Other Andrew Lee (of Purse.io, not DNS.Live)
I get the sense that I’ve already embarrassed him by writing so much. From everything I’ve read Andrew is an intensely private guy and I want to respect that. Though, I invite you to google “Andrew Lee” and see for yourself, then you’ll get it.
What I will say is that it’s clear from his track record that Andrew builds tools to make the world a better place, and not in the BS way that phrase is used by most people in the Valley. His track record of building a best in class VPN (Private Internet Access) and acquisition of IRC infrastructure like Freenode should be a clear signal to where this guys head is at.
So what is DNS.Live really?
Frankly, if I had to put my finger on it I would call it a love letter. It’s clear that Handshake is something Andrew and his partners have put a lot of time and energy into. DNS.Live is a sort of way to keep tabs on it. In addition to the leaderboard of sites that are live on Handshake, they also offer free hosting and other service for those using the project.
The developers have a slew of tools on Github if you’re a DNS-focused developer looking for tools and utilities to play with. Check them out; maybe fork them and join the community?