Jehan Chu has purchased the top-level Handshake domain name “.nft” for a record-breaking $84,000 as the popularity of decentralized web services continues to grow. The transaction was facilitated by Namebase, a platform that offers domain registration services for Handshake.
The Handshake Network is an experimental peer-to-peer root naming system that allows the decentralization of the internet by taking control of domain from centralized parties, preventing monopolies and censorship.
The acquisition of the top-level domain will allow Mr. Chu to issue as many subdomains as he wants under it, which would allow him to become one of the driving forces in the NFT industry when it comes to having a presence in the Handshake Network.
The Hong Kong-based investor is also a Namebase investor as he believes that the platform has an important role to play in the creation of the Web3, a movement that has grown in popularity over the past months.
Building a Decentralized Web
Historically, organizations like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) have overseen the creation and use of Domain names on multiple levels, usually taking the role of the arbitrator on domain disputes.
Like other protocols, Handshake was developed to provide internet users with an alternative to traditional web protocols that relied on centralized services, allowing the creation of an uncensorable and truly decentralized global network.
While Handshake domains can’t is accessed by traditional browsers at this time. Privacy-focused browsers like brave have been adding support for decentralized services in recent days as in the case of the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).
Back on February 2, Brave Browser surpassed the 25 million active users just 4 months after surpassing 20 million, an important milestone for a browser that has to compete with web browsers like Chrome and Safari, which are owned by tech giants.
Other web browsers like Opera have taken big steps in supporting cryptocurrencies by adding native crypto wallets and creating partnerships with companies like Unstoppable Domains.
This interest in popular browsers on supporting new technologies could pave the way for decentralized internet protocols to grow in popularity by facilitating access to the average user, especially at a time when privacy concerns are at an all-time high.
The Case for a Decentralized Web
The invention of the internet by Tim Berners-Lee and the CERN was one of the most important events in the history of humankind, allowing people from all around the world to connect with each other and creating whole new economies.
Soon after its creation, the internet passed from being away mainly used to consume content without dynamic interaction (web 1.0) to an ecosystem full of services in which content creation and participation were the driving force (web 2.0).
This transition gave place to the birth of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and new services such as YouTube and TikTok, creating new social interactions that were not possible in the previous iteration of the web.
More Work is Being Done
However, while the existence of web 2.0 certainly took the internet to the mainstream and resulted in technological advances never seen before, it also took some of the liberties that internet users had enjoyed in the past.
The centralization resulting from monopolies created at every level of the web, from domain registration to content creation, resulting in privacy violations, abuses of powers, and censorship, a far cry of what the internet was meant to be.
By giving users the power of choosing where to store their data and what services can access it, a decentralized internet would result in people regaining power over how the internet interacts with them in daily life, taking power away from centralized authorities.
Companies like Facebook and Google operate on an assumption that users would rather use their services for free in exchange for their privacy, but moves like the changes to WhatsApp privacy policies have proven rather unpopular in the internet community.
By ending the existence of data silos through the decentralization of the internet, users will not have to decide between an internet that sees them as the product and the early internet where content couldn’t be shared easily.