Why Handshake (HNS) Is the Most Underrated Blockchain Naming Project

May 1, 2022 and Handshake (HNS) market cap is lower than 500 other coins, according to CoinGecko.




So this inspired this anon to write up a reason why this is the most undervalued project in existence.

Plus this long Twitter thread I had over the weekend :

What is Handshake? A Decentralized Naming TLD Blockchain

For those not aware of HNS / www.Handshake.org for the white paper, it is a TLD blockchain. TLD means top level domain (the right of the dot). So you can buy and own your own “.com” (where the TLD is .com – and host on it direct, issue/sell SLDs (“normal domains as we know them now) or use as your user ID.

It is not the only choice in town. And a great GREAT, free, research report just came out to do that work for me:

ICANN Just Wrote a Report – and I’d Say Shows Handshake’s Value

Straight from the mouth of ICANN (the official body of domain names of web2) – the way I read this 15 page report (https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/octo-034-27apr22-en.pdf ) is – Handshake is the best alternate naming solution

Tweet from ICANN

My favorite part is the amount of times Handshake was mentioned compared to the other “alternate naming solutions”. It is a community of passionate builders.

Beacon Browser supports Handshake natively with a light client. There are resolvers. Their are functioning websites on Handshake. What an amazing free advertisement ICANN gave Beacon!

You can download their browser for free here – https://impervious.com/beacon

And hopefully Brave soon, dWeb Foundation tweeted:

If we get more interest, we can make a future article of the many Issues with Web2’s Current Security and Centralized Problems.

But let’s focus on HNS today…

Namecheap, Porkbun, Encirca, Park.io All Integrate & Support HNS

Super bullish that many of the top web2 domain registrars are embracing and integrating Handshake domains.

It is hard to fathom any blockchain market cap so low with this many legitimate, established players using and embracing it. So here are a handful to highlight:

Namecheap Going All In On Handshake

The official press release in September 2021 of Namecheap embracing HNS is here.

Namecheap has a whole section and has been selling domains on Handshake since late 2021.


Porkbun Integrated Handshake

Porkbun has come onto the scene in a big way.


Encirca has Handshake Support

Encirca.com a well respected OG domain and hosting service provider has embraced it since early 2021.


Park.io with Mike Carson and Steve Webb have been early adopters of Handshake since inception. Investing in a whole company for it called www.impervious.com (creators of Beacon browser)

Do we see any of the above integrating with ENS? Do we see that many classic domainers on .eth domains? Sure there are a few that are in BAYC and adding a eth domain to their opensea wallet for ease of payment and user names.

But do we see this B2B infrastructure integration and collaboration with the classic domain and hosting providers on ENS?

No. ENS wants to disrupt the current registrar system (from our understanding) and force end customers to buy (mint) only on their app.ens.domains portal, while HNS wants to complement the current naming system and allow each TLD owner to choose.

HNS wants to give the power of TLD ownership to the people, and then allow those people to choose how to use those TLDs (stake for SLD sales, bridge to Ethereum and be a competitor to ENS like forever.domains, use as a community ecosystem, and more and more use cases coming)

Pure Value Play Compared to ENS

Just step back and look at the value of Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and Handshake (HNS)

ENS = market cap rank of 145 (483 million USD)



HNS = market cap rank of 503 (59 million USD)



Which has taken quite the beating in the last year:


But the usage and numbers do not line up, let’s dig in:

Top Sale for HNS compared to top sale for ENS

The top HNS name sold was .s/ for approximately 750,000 USD in mid-March 2022 at the Handycon Flamingo Handshake auction.

This afternoon, I’ve received a couple of emails from people attending the Handycon 2022 live domain auction. A bidder named “whale” just won an auction for the .s Handshake domain for 4.7 million HNS tokens. At the current price of just under $.16, that’s about $750,000.

Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall confirmed to me that he was the winning bidder.

The top ENS sale I think is a pending bid on porn.eth for 85 eth (255,000 usd with ETH at 3000 usd) which was not taken.



Is Ethereum Name Service Truly Decentralized? The Brantly.eth “Hate Debate”

ENS’s decentralization, in my opinion, was tested, and failed, in Feb 2022 with the firing of Brantly Millegan:


His last tweet as of writing this article:

But seems Brantly was reinstated – but I do not see him too active on social media anymore?


Handshake Community Sees ENS Domains as a Single DAO for .eth

From my perspective as an anon in the HNS community – we like ENS but see it as a single DAO compared to an ecosystem.

To the Handshake community, ENS Domains is simply 1 DAO of many that will be built on HNS.

ICANN Blocked ENS’s Dreams of Integrating with It

There was an attempt to put more TLDs into ENS with the auction.link auction in April 2021, but ICANN seems to have blocked the transfer of those TLDs due to having ENS Integration

Quote from the article:

ICANN is objecting to the transfer of 23 new gTLDs from UNR to an unknown number of third parties, because it’s scared that the associated non-fungible tokens may break the internet and its own authority over it.

The mystery of how UNR’s auction in April of its entire new gTLD portfolio has so far not resulted in a single ICANN Registry Agreement changing hands appears to have been solved.

It’s because UNR bundled each contract sale with a matching top-level “domain name”, in the form of an NFT, on the Ethereum Name Service, an alt-root based on the Ethereum blockchain, and ICANN is worried about what this means for both the long-term interoperability of the DNS and its own ability to act as the internet’s TLD gatekeeper.

Well then


​(so much for the hopes and dreams of “playing nice with ICANN” as Brantly and ENS thought it could)

Scaling Issues with Ethereum / ENS Domains (Gas Fees)

There is no secret about gas fees on Ethereum. And as of May 2022 while writing this, gas fees are still an issue.

Any normal day browsing crypto Twitter you’ll see complaints. And Richard, CEO of Namecheap has been pretty vocal about this scaling issue being a reason Namecheap is not embracing it:

Unstoppable Domains is a centralized startup in San Francisco

Unstoppable domains is a centralized ICANN on web3. If ICANN was to worry about anyone, it should be them. They are a privately funded VC entity that is issuing orphan TLDs at will to sell for their own private company’s profits in the name of decentralization.

Unstoppable Domains is not worth more than that on this report. It will last as long as the VC funding does or the pre-sales of their un-rooted TLD issued SLD sales do.

Top Indicator – Passionate Developer Community (But Short on Marketing)

When I review the Twitter feed of ENS – I see a lot of speculators and marketers (genius marketing move to make the #10kclub). Sure, that is needed and useful. And many of them say HNS is just geeky devs that are not doing marketing. We would say TheShake.xyz and their weekly newsletter is top notch marketing and coverage, keep that up.

When we review HNS, we see people building. We see hns.chat as a chat system for handshake – made by an independent developer. We see Impervious releasing Beacon browser, Fingertip, and more tools. Niami.io has kept us interested and engaged in our portfolio. We see Skyinclude.com youtube videos and their FlamingoHandshake.com community fundraising auctions. And for anyone who follows HNS – HandyCon.xyz was amazing, for two years in a row.

Thank you Niami:

Another – check the passion from Steven McKie. HandyOSS, the free money he has been handing out like candy. He has a blockchannel.substack.com show which is producing quality insights and value.

But not everything is beautiful and pretty. There are issues, so we will cover them now

One Issue – Namebase Being Confused as 100% of Handshake

Notice in this writeup we have not mentioned Namebase much. While it is an effective onboarding onramp for Handshake (I and many appreciate it for getting started) – many in the internet at large think Nambase is Handshake.

Well, maybe it is – they do?

They own (or custody) 90% or more of the TLDs in the ecosystem. Most have no choice but to buy or sell.

Namebase: One Wallet To Rule Them All….

Handshake needs more decentralization. And we all wonder why Namebase stopped developing new products and updates in their system for over a year.

Further followup – Is Namecheap (new owner of Namebase) going to decentralize

Earlier in 2022, Namecheap announced buying out Namebase.

Maybe this is due to Namebase startup needing exit / M&A activity to progress to the next level? Hope – we hope – that Namecheap will follow Spiderman’s Uncle Ben “With great power comes great responsibility” when owning over 90% of Handshake’s TLDs


Listen to Uncle Ben in Spiderman: “with great power comes great responsibility”

Also there is frustrating in the community about more marketing efforts should be allocated from the Namebase company:

There has been a few Twitter debates about Gateway.io and how Namecheap will integrate the SLD sales of those TLDs Namebase’s customers have staked in the program.

And Gateway issued a public letter about this


For 3+ months, we’ve been receiving numerous questions from registrars and TLD owners about what’s going on with the registry. Behind the scenes, we’ve been trying to get those questions answered by the companies responsible for all the confusion (Namebase and Namecheap), but we’ve been unsuccessful.

We recommend reading the entire article for insights on the internal war of power that seems to be happening behind the curtains.

Another Issue – Liquidity of HNS Token

Most of us in USA are stuck buying and selling Handshake at horrible prices on Namebase. We cannot access Namebase Pro to sell – but instead we need to take whatever price they give us to buy or sell in a request.


Caption: Buying and selling HNS token in Namebase is like spinning the wheel and hoping for a good price.

And the Namebase Pro for those outside USA is very illiquid:



And even on the few centralized exchanges (gate, mexc) you can get Handshake on, there is low liquidity.
Example – Gate.io here: https://www.gate.io/trade/HNS_USDT

very low liquidity for HNS on most exchanges (for NON-Americans, that is.)

Final Issue – More Utility for HNS Token

We need to find a way that HNS is not just used to buy and sell TLD names and do a heartbeat renewal TX every 2 years.

We need to add some more utility to spend/burn HNS. The first year of names being released is well past us, and to bridge TLDs to Ethereum, or to stake them on Gateway or Namecheap is not enough.

Many, myself included, feel we need to add SLD (domain) sales right on the HNS blockchain. Not just as a TLD only blockchain – as the amount of transactions on that kind of blockchain is very sparse. But a more robust and active chain for both TLD and SLD (if users so desire) will create enough transactions on chain to support the mining and the utility.

Hope the community can come together for finding ways to add SLD sales on chain. This will create more demand for the token instead of simply buying to bid/buy a TLD where the TLD seller then dumps their HNS proceeds on the illiquid market.

In Summary – Handshake Is One of the Only Truly Decentralized Coins, and is a Cinderella Story


If it is not clear already, I’m a HODL’r of Handshake. Rode the up and down waves, and yes, it is painful for my portfolio HODL’ing now at record lows.

I realize I have been critical in this assessment, because it is tough love. I want it to succeed.

But this is a coin that still seems like a no-brainer long term. ICANN cannot keep their centralized CA (Certificate Authority) security going forever. The internet is bigger than a US-centric system like what is in place now. TLDs can be localized in all languages, and sold for any price those local markets need.

And as this organic, grassroots, beautiful developer centric community grows – so will the HNS coin.

With support from Namecheap, Porkbun, Encirca, the Park.io guys (via Impervious), and many in the blockchain world – how can you not love this?

Maybe you can put some room in your portfolio. Or better yet, mine HNS, and support decentralized internet.

Price target – we are holding until it is a top 50 coin or better. We see this as the bitcoin for names and have played the game long enough to know patience is needed.

Disclosure – don’t gamble your life savings on what anonymous people on the internet tell you. Do your own due diligence and only invest what you are able to lose.

But honestly we will not be surprised when we have another day like when ENS Domains token was issued in Oct 25, 2021. Below is a chart we saved from that day. We can see another day like this in the short to mid term horizon.


Regardless, we believe alternate naming solutions outside of ICANN are needed, and capital and brains need to be allocated to it.

Response From Community

People replying to dwebASAP


Nice recap.

On the utility of $HNS, I disagree that it’s lacking, and the reasoning to support SLDs. Working on my own post for how i view the Handshake economy, but I see three categories of use for $HNS:

  1. Name markets: on chain auctions and secondary sales (atomic swaps and NB marketplace)
  2. Name records: adding and updating on chain records for

NS – nameservers for other records
DS – dnssec
TXT – dns based verification / social data

  1. Name services: registrar services, hosting (name/web/email), messaging (HNS Chat channels), etc.

Another reply:

Another possible utility of HNS, although complicated, and maybe better served by a seperate crypto project, I think that web3 could benifit from having a go to blockchain for usernames shared across web3 applications.

I like the auctioning system that HNS uses and I feel like HNS could be used as proof of ownership of usernames to be used by other web3 systems similar to radicle, peergos, or maybe even federated services similar to mastodon.

Tryout77, [May 6, 2022 at 2:01:22 AM]:
Unique usernames like own identities in a metaworld or something ?

Emit, [May 6, 2022 at 2:06:13 AM]:
That’s what I’m thinking about, yes.

I know that there are lots of projects already focused on identities, but I’m thinking why create something new when a TLD could be the ultimate authority of ownership that is determined fairly by an auction of the TLD.