What is Handshake?
Handshake is a decentralized, permission-less naming protocol compatible with existing DNS systems, where every peer is validating and in charge of managing the root zone, with the goal of creating an alternative to existing centralized 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.
Imagine having to navigate to http://184.108.40.206/ for something as simple as a Google search. We think everyone can agree that human-readable naming is vital to the widespread usage and viability of the internet. If the internet didn’t operate using a sensible naming system, we can imagine that its usage would be limited to outer reaches of the techies.
The internet protocols themselves are massive innovations in technology, but it’s the synergy with naming that allows them to have the impact that they do. Email certainly wouldn’t be as widespread as it is if we used IP addresses rather than domains.
Naming in Crypto
The situation in cryptocurrency is not so far off from an internet without naming. I can only imagine the difficulty of getting my parents to transfer bitcoin to my 34 character address — 1 mistyped character and that money could be irretrievable.
We’ve worked as a community to build better solutions to this problem over the years, however. QR codes are a popular feature for sending and receiving crypto, but even they have UI problems and don’t quite seem suitable for everyday consumption.
A sensible, decentralized naming solution will help solve massive usability problems still present in the crypto industry. Reading a 34 character address over the phone to a friend is a no-go, but telling them to send me bitcoin to “sean.kilgarriff” can allow for easier and more confident payments when transacting peer-to-peer.
At Urkel, we strongly believe that by building on Handshake first, we will be able to harness the technology that the Handshake public chain provides to improve the user experience and general usability of seemingly every project in this space, currently.
Handshake Global Addresses
One of the most innovative things arising from Handshake are what we are calling HGAs — Handshake Global Addresses. Handshake lets you store records in the DNS records of the domains that you own on the network. Because these records are secured by proof of work on the chain, users can enter information in these domains without worrying about external companies altering the integrity of these records.
This allows anyone to enter their BTC address, ETH address, photo (think Gravatar), email, website, or any other arbitrary information into the domain itself; a much needed feature as this would enable cryptocurrency payments simply by using a human readable name.
We’ve built a library dubbed Moniker that makes interacting with the data stored in these domains simple for any application developer.
In order to see the impact Handshake will have on e-commerce, we have built a demo to show off our Layer 2 API at Urkel. In this demo below, we have a fictional online coffee shop named Crypto Coffee. Using the Urkel Layer 2 API, they automatically create a subdomain for each user on their website consisting of their username — <username.cryptocoffee>.
At the time of payment, our APIs generate and store a security photo inside of the domain along with payment information. Users can confirm their payment by viewing the security photo in their local wallet at the time of payment. This allows users to send crypto payments confidently.
Throughout our implementation of Handshake into the Urkel APIs, we have built a lot of software that can be open-sourced for the betterment and early sustainability of the overall community. We have created a coalition of companies and open source developers that are building open source tools and infrastructure for the Handshake network.
We have currently released a handful of projects under the Handshake Alliance, and we plan to make the Alliance a sustainable organization that can indefinitely support the Handshake network as it grows and matures.
Check Us Out:
Website — https://Urkel.io
Blog — https://medium.com/urkel
Github — https://github.com/Urkelio
Twitter — https://twitter.com/handshakewallet
Website — https://HandshakeAlliance.org
Github — https://github.com/HandshakeAlliance
Twitter — https://twitter.com/HNSAlliance