Speculation or Specialization: Are Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Providing Utility?

Place/Date: - December 2nd, 2021 at 8:34 pm UTC · 3 min read
Source: Handshake

The concept of blockchain has been around for about a decade and, ever since it appeared, it seems that just about every analyst and niche publication has described it as revolutionary. Without a doubt, blockchain technology has some revolutionary applications that could change the world as much as the Internet, or possibly more. Despite the initial skepticism, networks like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, have proven that the blockchain holds great potential, not only in terms of decentralized payments but also lending, insurance, even voting.

And yet, there remains a disconnect between what Bitcoin and Ripple have set out to do and what they’ve actually managed to do. Bitcoin and Ripple have attempted to displace banks, but instead, have been pigeonholed into becoming a store of value with ever-decreasing transactions for goods and services. With the lack of intrinsic value, this is, essentially, speculation, and one of the reasons why many are still hesitant to adopt them.

One of the biggest reasons why some are still skeptical of cryptocurrencies, and blockchain in general, is that too often, they do not provide real utility. This is something that Handshake set out to change.

So, what is Handshake? Handshake is a decentralized and permissionless naming and certificate authority 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. The goal of Handshake is to explore new ways to make the Internet a more secure and resilient space. Right now, all the names used on the Internet, from domain names to social network usernames, are provided by third-party websites, which prevents the Web from becoming decentralized.

Handshake is disrupting the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) by decentralizing the root zone away from ICANN. Handshake has already been adopted by the biggest DNS registrars, including NameCheap and EnCirca among others. Handshake is the first blockchain project to disrupt and decentralize a system used by all of humanity (the internet DNS system). Handshake uses a coin system (HNS) to prevent Sybil attacks – a type of attack where the attacker creates a large number of identities to gain a disproportionately large influence. Participants will be able to use the Handshake coin (HNS) to transfer, update, and register Internet names – this way, one single party cannot claim all the names.

In the Blockchain sphere, some projects are indeed about speculation, and that will probably never change. However, some projects, like Handshake, are, in fact, bringing rights to people that they may not have had using the legacy internet domain name system. In the following years, it is these projects that will prove the many applications of blockchain and that it can make the Web a better place.