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Show HN: Bob – A GUI for DNS Record Management and Name Auctions on Handshake (github.com)
66 points by sdtsui 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments

So another random coin that isn't actually going to solve anything because it's just being thrown at a problem randomly like blockchain always is. Nice.

DNS tlds as they exist today are in centralized control by ICANN, a California public benefit corporation. Recently, activity originating from ICANN including removing price caps on .org [1] and the .org billion dollar sale [2] have brought the community to alarm [3].

SSL certificates can be issued by any of the CAs. Multiple CAs can issue SSL certificates for the same namespace. This has led to some activity that has weakened internet security [4].

Handshake gives control of the root zone away from ICANN, a California corporation, to the blockchain and community consensus and strengthens internet security, removing trust from the equation as everything is verifiable on chain. Applying blockchain in this way uniquely solves these problems and gives control over the internet that we all love, back to the people.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/07/icann-eliminates...

[2] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-internet-domain-sale/inte...

[3] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/global-ngo-community-d...

[4] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/01/alrea...

Even if we stipulate to all of these points, why would anyone believe that the sponsors of this protocol are entitled to profit from it? See, for instance, Handshake.org's discussion of the "10 million dollar grant" it offers to FOSS developers.

If the chain benefits people, the sponsors are likely to profit. Early in the life of any public protocol, there will be some discovery process while word gets out and early use cases are tested: for public blockchains, that process includes price discovery.

I don't think that means the sponsors of the protocol are entitled to profit: they also took risk by putting up initial capital. The downside is capped in that if the project doesn't go anywhere and the coin goes to 0, FOSS projects that received $10.6mm benefitted.

To say the least, that is not normally how we manage and incentivize core Internet protocols.

I get that this looks very weird from the perspective of someone who’s been around since the early days of internet mass adoption. ICANN is basically a US-controlled bureaucracy, and bureaucracies are something that we’ve had for a long time and know the pros and cons of. And in fact ICANN has done a remarkably great job of what can only be described as a job from hell—coordinating the interests of a bajillion conflicting parties in one of the worlds most valuable digital assets.

That said, I hope you won’t write this off just because it looks weird. After all, the internet itself looked extremely weird for years (and arguably was at its most fun and interesting during that weird period.)

Handshake solves some real problems with the existing domain root zone system. Perhaps most interestingly to you, it trivially makes certificate pinning decentralized, and relieves us of the need to trust an increasingly obviously untrustworthy set of CAs. Further, it lets people hold domains anonymously, and creates something much more akin to actual ownership than the sort of “at the whim of the crown” perpetual renting that is available under ICANN.

Finally, handshake was designed from the ground up to be maximally compatible with the existing ICANN system. While we’ve identified serious problems with that system, we also have huge respect for it, and are well aware that for the near future Handshake’s usefulness will be very dependent on it being a “yes, and” rather than an “either, or”

Anyway, hopefully you can look past the novelty and weirdness of what we’re proposing and evaluate it substantively—your feedback would be immensely valuable

Weird is not the word I would choose.

Sir, with all due respect, we've reached the limits of core internet protocols. The internet is a different beast than it was in the past, and to maximize the experience and capabilities of the internet, we need to look further.

Protocols designed today should not look like protocols designed 40+ years ago, lest we failed to progress.

That being said, at the end of the day, the protocol in Handshake is DNS. Handshake really just takes the torch from ICANN moving forward.

If only we knew about this technology instead of giving control of the root zone to the US. :/

Is that how it works? Did ICANN give you that torch? Got any insight on other torches that might be available for me to take and resell?

No, the blockchain delivers that torch to the people of the world.

Weird is definitely not the word I'm looking for.

Great question. The design notes paper [1] does an excellent job explaining this:

## Financial Contributors and Pricing - 7.5%

A total of $10,200,00 USD have been allocated to purchasers to price the initial value of the coins for 7.5% of the total supply, with a total valuation of the initial coin supply at $136,000,000.

100% of the dollars raised are being given to non-profits and FOSS projects, and FOSS communities such as hackerspaces. This is effectively a one-way non-destructive "proof-of-burn" on the dollar side to price the coins.

The role of coin purchasers is critical as an initial stakeholder in the growth of the project. The purchasers have been curated to maximize effective change by primarily allocating funds to Venture Capitalists and Token Funds with specialty in the cryptocurrency and decentralized internet ecosystem. Many of these purchasers have been effective in disrupting entire industries and have been involved in large-scale growth of internet services (some even across generations).

The existence of these participants are necessary and fundamental in pricing the tokens, as the distribution event requires real value to be established (a sale of 1% of total initial supply is not credible in pricing the tokens). Additionally, the sale has occurred as close to launch/announcement as possible.

Other projects replicating this mechanism may require greater capital to fund development and/or greater claim to the Pre-Launch Development allocation. This may result in not having a one-way "proof-of-burn", and instead use the capital to fund development of the project.

The role of pricing the coins for distribution is necessary as the coins need to have understood value during the distribution process. While it would ostensibly be ideal to spin-up projects and deploy blockchains without this mechanism, there may be insufficient coordination and ex-ante expectations of value. The role of the high-reputation Venture Capital provides a tastemaker function which provides a signal and Schelling Point for potentially economically and socially valuable projects. These entities are a significant stakeholder in the current ecosystem and a continuing game for project selection and curation may persist as a result ("putting your money where your mouth is"). [1]

[1] https://handshake.org/files/handshake.txt

> I find the words confusing [1] and incompatible [2][3].

1 - for Handshake, VCs are 'used' primarily as a signal to price the coins - like in Bitcoin, the asset having a price helps on many dimensions, for example, security (miners mine it).

2 - in Handshake, unlike most VC projects and startups - the capital raised was not used to pay salaries or enrich the developers building it - development was funded by other means. This is what is meant by "one-way non-destructive 'proof-of-burn'" -> in fact, it's not really a burn but a generative action since funds were donated to FOSS projects that put the capital to use!

That's why 1 and 2 are not incompatible.

Can you explain this in a simpler way? I find the words confusing [1] and incompatible [2][3]. For example:

[1] > "The role of the high-reputation Venture Capital provides a tastemaker function which provides a signal and Schelling Point"

[2] > "100% of the dollars raised are being given to non-profits and FOSS projects"

[3] > "by primarily allocating funds to Venture Capitalists"

No no, this one is not an ICO, it's a privately funded currency that was given away for free to anyone who had a popular account on Github!

In addition, the $10.2mm that was raised was all donated to non-profits and open-source projects. I.e. fsf https://www.fsf.org/news/free-software-foundation-receives-1...


Handshake didn’t need the VCs’ money, only their credible early stage project valuation. But Handshake had to accept the investment in order to make the valuation real, but then gave away all the money b/c they didn’t need it.

They hope it can serve as a better model for future ICOs, where a big chunk of the money goes to FOSS groups.

Not really. Compared to the average blockchain project handshake.org has some thinking behind it and is attempting to solve a real problem (e.g. recent capitalist take over of .org tld)

Thinking about something and attempting to solve a real problem doesn't mean a solution has any inherent merit.

brb thinking about how to solve climate change and attempting to solve a problem by turning off my AC give me millions of dollars thanks.

Check the names on the Handshake Whitepaper. One is the co-inventor of Lightning Network and the other is the lead maintainer of bcoin, one of the few credible Bitcoin implementations. They spent over 2yrs working on Handshake. It’s not a bunch of lightweights or scammers.

It looks to me like a lot of discussion about the viability/usefulness of Handshake itself, which I have no problem with; the post sparked a discussion, and that's cool with me. There are a couple of things about Bob I'd like to state, just so it's here for future readers, as I had hoped to answer questions about the software.

1. Bob is an electron application that also is a Handshake resolver and full node - you can find these projects at: http://github.com/handshake-org

2. We're looking for contributors and help of all kinds! Like any other open-source project, bug reports, suggestions, and contributions are very much welcome. Personally, my concerns as an engineer are around the scalability of the UI (electron can be hard to work with) when many (possibly hundreds) of domains are being watched or bid on. This is behaviour I believe is possible to see, from observing early internet domainers.

3. Like many non-custodial 'wallet' projects, it is meant to be a reasonable alternative to exchange custody, but we don't provide any guarantees as the user is responsible for self-custody. We intend to add hardware wallet support in the future. The goal is for the average person to have an easier time working with Handshake and Handshake names, by using Bob instead of a cli.

4. Bob is maintained by Kyokan, and I am the CEO there. It is not maintained by the Handshake team, and there is no Handshake foundation or business that runs the project. Kyokan is a separate software engineering consultancy that is working on multiple projects - we are also not a part of the Handshake team. Our contact info for security disclosures is in the repo.

5. Name Auctions and Airdrop claims on Handshake's mainnet start today (in under 8 hours), so it felt appropriate to share this repo, which we've spent a lot of time and effort working on. One can also find details about this in the repo, but we all hope you have a good time using the software!

Again, we're looking for feedback and suggestions. Even in the process of making this post, I found a few bugs, filed them and made minor improvements to the documentation. Thanks for reading!

Can someone ELI5 on what this is? What are Name Auctions on Handshake?

The ELI5 is that this is more PR astroturfing by the Handshake team, like the four or five other links they have posted to HN over the past two days. After only a few hours the bulk of the comments are by people close to the project telling everyone else how it will solve all problems and provide digital ponies for everyone...

I'm not a member of the Handshake team, and I don't have control over what comments get posted. This is a Show HN - I am sharing something I have helped make, that other people can play with. That was my only intention, and I've atttempted to follow the guidelines here: https://news.ycombinator.com/showhn.html

I don't know what other links have been posted beside this thread, which a colleague sent to me: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22310604

That said, you are probably right. It doesn't surprise me that there is a lot of Handshake-related activity on HN right now. The project was conceived over two years ago, and today marks its second week of existence and the first day that people can actually try it out. Respectfully, is it possible that most of this is genuine interest/excitement in a new project instead of, as you put it, "PR astroturfing"?

A thread from yesterday on Handshake: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22310604

This faq answers some basic questions https://namebase.io/faq along with this tutorial https://www.namebase.io/blog/tutorial-1-what-is-handshake-an...

Handshake's a new blockchain based DNS replacement, and auctions are the way people buy domain names (actually domain TLDs) on it.

How cool! Sorry to ask an unrelated question: I saw something about how people shouldn't perform airdrop claims on Handshake mainnet yet because transfers are still disabled, is that still true?

Yep! Once transfers are enabled in ~6 hours (https://hnsxplorer.com/) you'll be able to claim, but not before then. This tool can help you claim your coins easily https://namebase.io/airdrop (currently worth ~$2000 at market price but imo it's better to actually play around with them and hold rather than sell everything immediately).

Yes, this is true, but the transfers are being enabled later today (evening Pacific).

Transfers will be enabled on Block 2016, and blocks are ~every 10 minutes - right now ~1960.


If you are reading this on Feb 15th or afterwards, claims and auctions are working. Non-custodial options are Bob and using cli. Namebase is the only custodial option right now.

Bob is already used as the name of a Windows shell enhancement from Microsoft. You should rename to avoid the name conflict and insuing user confusion. /s

So what does the VC's get back for gifting the $10.2mill?

They're doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, of course.

~7% of the HNS coin supply.

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