Stop Renting: Buy Top-Level Domains with Bob Wallet

A Non-Custodial Handshake Wallet & Domain Management Suite

Anthony Mandelli
Published in
5 min readMar 24, 2021


Bob is an open-source desktop non-custodial wallet, DNS manager, and domain marketplace for the Handshake project.

Github Link:

Handshake is a decentralized naming protocol that stores top-level domain ownership data on a blockchain, removing the need for authorities like ICANN or domain lenders like GoDaddy (

Handshake names are digital assets that you own. Because the protocol extends the DNS root zone (the hierarchical namespace of the internet currently administered by ICANN), Handshake names can function as traditional top-level domains like .com or .org; for example you can access the newsletter The Shake at news.theshake/ (which you should).

Using Bob, you can bid on auctions to get Handshake names and manage their DNS settings, letting you use them as top-level domains while you maintain full ownership. This guide will cover the buying process.

Using Bob

Download the latest stable version of Bob (0.6.2 at the time of writing), install, and select Create a new wallet to get started.

Bob wallet Portfolio screen


Bob has everything you need to get started buying Handshake names and deploying websites. The Portfolio screen displays your balances; Total Balance shows all of your HNS and Spendable Balance shows any HNS not locked up in an auction. The Send tab opens the send interface and the Receive tab brings up your HNS address and a scannable QR code.

Opening the Domain manager lets you add records to your names to point them to a nameserver. Currently, Bob Wallet supports NS (with A or AAAA for glue), DS, and TXT records on-chain. Clicking on Add Funds brings you to the Handshake airdrop page where eligible users can claim HNS.

The Top-Level Domains section lets you browse the domain marketplace, view your open bids, and monitor and names you’re actively watching.

Getting your first TLD

Click on Browse Domains and let’s search for something cool.

what a domain. oh my.

Because few-understand/ is available, clicking Start Auction opens bidding for the domain. For security, Bob will prompt you to enter your password to confirm opening the auction.

Starting Auction phase

Once you’ve initiated an auction, on the domain page you’ll see the auction period tracker on the left and the Auction Details panel on the right.

Starting Auction status screen

In the auction phase tracker, you’ll see when you started the auction, the block where bidding begins, and the reveal period. Make sure you note the current block to see how far off from the bidding period you are.

Once the Open period ends, the Bidding Period begins.

Note: this process can take some time — don’t stress if it’s been a while and the domain still says ‘Starting Auction’ under Auction details. For this example, it took about four hours.

Placing your bid

Once the auction is open, you’ll have the ability to place your bid.

Details for your new auction

Clicking Place Bid brings up a field to enter how much HNS you want to bid.

Enter how much HNS you want to bid and your optional blind amount

The Add Disguise button lets you add a blind, disguising the true value of your bid; a bid of five with a blind of ten will look like a bid of 15 HNS.

Revealing your bid

Note: When you bid on names using Bob, you have to reveal your bid manually once the reveal period begins.

Learn more about how Handshake auctions work.

On the auction page for your domain, you can track how long until the reveal period starts. At any point during the period, click Reveal Your Bids.

You can see the auction stage in the top-left of the domain page

After clicking, you’ll get a confirmation message once the reveal has processed.


If you included a blind with your bid, you’ll get it back once your reveal is successful.

Who doesn’t love a refund?

Your bids

Manage your bids

Selecting Your Bids from Bob’s main navigation brings up a handy screen where you can see the current status of each of your bids including the estimated time remaining in the bid’s current phase.

Managing your domains

After the reveal period closes, any names that you won the auction for will appear in your Domain Manager, ready to be used.

Learn more

Happy building! If you want to learn more about what’s to come for the DWeb go here:

More Handshake resources:

Why names are the most valuable assets on the internet

The bullish case for Handshake

A technical exploration of the Handshake project

The Shake weekly Handshake newsletter



Anthony Mandelli

Technology story teller | Amateur Django dev | Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and books.