Okay, first things first, I know what you’re thinking – “what the heck is a decentralized domain? And who is Impervious?” While I want to tell you all about it, I’ll start with a little history on what a centralized domain is, or translated into more common lingo, what a standard gTLD is today.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard about domain name extensions beyond the tried and true .COM, .NET, and .ORG. These domains fall into two categories:
- ccTLDs – Country Code Top Level Domains assigned to a specific country, Germany has .DE, Spain has .ES, etc.
- gTLDs – Generic Top Level Domains that companies often pay millions of dollars for, think .FINANCE, .CLUB, etc.
To apply for a gTLD you need to pay a ~$180,000 non-refundable application fee and then if anyone else wants the extension, you’ll join a bidding war that can get into the millions before you know it. Many of the most recognized new gTLDs you know and love today went to auction and sold to the highest bidder. Crazy popular extensions like .WEB sold for $140M, and no I didn’t add a zero.
Now as you probably know, the whole concept of decentralization that has been popularized by Bitcoin and the crypto world as a whole seems to be a lot more than a fad. Rather than having organizations like ICANN decide what you can and can’t do, and how much you’ll pay there’s an idea that we’re moving to a more free and unregulated version of the Internet.
Enter Handshake. The first step, or maybe it’s better to say Giant Leap, into a decentralized Internet. Handshake allows people to bid on TLDs in a decentralized root zone, and a new company from Mike Carson, founder of Park.io is making moves in this space, and making history while they’re doing it, starting with .badass, here’s the skinny:
.badass is currently a TLD on the decentralized root zone Handshake, which is built on a proof of work blockchain.
After the auction for the name .badass was opened, we placed a bid of 1001 HNS, which turned out to be the highest bid. When the auction ended, we paid the 2nd highest bid of 190 HNS, which at the time was worth around $19. You can see the auction history here.
That 190 HNS was not paid to anyone, it was simply “burned” (permanently removed from circulation).
This auction process was quick and painless, which is in stark contrast to the ICANN process, and it’s one of the things I love the most about Handshake. Unlike ICANN TLDs, Handshake TLDs can be registered by anyone — by normal people instead of large companies — and there can be other uses for TLDs besides what we see on the internet now. I believe it will open up the internet and make it more free and creative.(Source – Medium.com)
Following along so far? Because here’s where it gets interesting, or more interesting…so with .badass Impervious has launched what I think might just be the first truly decentralized domain extension, and yes, it’s a bit nuanced, and Mike says it a lot better then me, so here’s the details and the difference between .badass and something like .crypto:
Second-level domains are the part of the domain before the TLD. For example with the domain name total.badass, the word “total” is the second-level domain. Having second-level domains greatly expands the namespace. It makes it so that there are a lot more cool and memorable names available for registration.
There are already decentralized second-level domains on the internet. Ethereum Name Service allows users to register second-level domains under the .eth TLD. Other services like Unstoppable Domains (.crypto) and Namecoin(.bit) are similar in theory. But what is interesting about these other projects is that their TLDs are not anchored in any root zone. They are orphaned. Some may be vying to get their TLD on ICANN, but in my opinion the value of a decentralized second-level domain is greatly decreased if it is anchored in a centralized root zone.
This is why .badass domains are so badass. Because they are the first decentralized second-level domains anchored into a decentralized root zone. You don’t have to trust anyone and you completely own your .badass domain.(Source – Medium.com)
Now as we all know, these are still the early days of decentralized everything, at the same time, Bitcoin has become a real, respected asset class and it doesn’t look like NFTs are going anywhere but up. As consumers get more comfortable with blockchain technologies I can see a truly decentralized Internet becoming a thing, and a big thing at that.
I think that Mike and his team are pioneering in a space much like the early domain investors were doing in the 90’s. Sure it’s unproven, and no, you can’t just fire up Chrome and go to a Handshake domain, but in a world where this does all come together, Impervious is definitely going to be one to watch.
Oh and for those wondering, yes – I own morgan.badass 🕺