Handshake is a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol where every peer is validating and in charge of managing the root DNS naming zone with the goal of creating an alternative to existing Certificate Authorities and naming systems.
Handshake seeks to replace ICANN’s role as central authority for creating and issuing top-level domains with an open auction system operated by its computing network. Since ICANN isn’t in the picture, Handshake believes it can offer an unlimited range of top-level domains.
Creating an alternative to a centralized entity like ICANN also has another important side-effect. Over time, it could help make a group of companies involved in the management of domains called Certificate Authorities, or CAs, obsolete.
What makes Handshake Different?
8 main reasons that make Handshake a different project.
A base layer for the decentralized internet. The internet is arranged in layers, to decentralize the internet, we need to start at the lowest layers of the stack. Secure naming ensures user agents are talking to the right endpoints.
The place for minimal global consensus. Decentralization is most successful if we have minimal areas to reach complete global agreement. Names and signing certificates may be one of the few (if only) places of global agreement for a decentralized web. Handshake is an experimental structure for reaching that agreement via software.
True decentralization, no official singular Foundation, Committee, Corporation, or entities in permanent unitary control of the protocol.
Economic incentives enable decentralized agreements to form via a transparent name auction process. Without some kind of economic cost function, one person could register all names. Economic incentives enable decentralized sybil resistance which would otherwise be centralized and corrupted.
Alternative to certificate authorities, using a decentralized trust anchor to prove domain ownership
Distributed and permissionless zone file to which any participant has the right to add an entry or serve as host and validator
Light clients via merkelized proofs and proof-of-work allow for lightweight name resolutions and certificates. The initial protocol enables cryptographic name proofs, with the potential for decentralized proof lookups to be usually within the MTU limit.
A platform for sybil resilience. WoT can/should be used as an augmentation, but it is often not a global agreement of resources for individual decentralized services. By using Handshake names, one can know that some kind of economic limits exist for the use of the name. This can be leveraged whenever one is concerned about resource exhaustion, and reaching global agreement on moderation alone is too costly.
The Handshake team has so far attracted $10+ million in investment from a cast of prestigious venture capital firms. These include Andreesen Horowitz, Draper Associates and Peter Thiel's Founders Fund. A total of 67 investors took part in the funding round.
The opportunity for Handshake, then, is to disrupt the $3 billion domain-name registration business with a more trusted alternative.
Why Backers Matter
We believe that Handshake with such venture backers will prove sustainable competitive advantages.
Angel- funded startup companies are less likely to fall than companies that rely on other forms of initial funding. When a Venture approaches the venture Capitalist firms, the venture is going to do more than negotiating about the financial terms. Apart from the financial resource's these firms are offering; the Venture Capitalist - firm also provides potential expertise the Venture is lacking, such as legal or marketing knowledge.
The existing procedure of a deal was found to be an important consideration for both the entrepreneur and the Venture Capitalist. Exits can take several forms and be spread out over several years, based on the structure of each deal and the performance of the Venture company.
At the onset, each deal is considered on the basis, that in 4 to 7 years there will be an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or strategic purchase of the company by a third party. These are generally the preferred exit methods since they usually offer the highest rate of return.
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