Will HNS revitalize Internationalized domain names?

It is no secret that Handshake by its nature attempts to change how we all navigate around the internet today.

From being censorship prone, to censorship resistant. From having 1,565 TLD’s in existence to over 1 million . From Domain names being restricted to one use case to multiple.

But have you ever wondered how it may change the way non-English speaking countries may navigate around the internet?

First of all lets look into the history of DNS:

As you may know, the domain name and computer system’s we have in place today are heavily anglicised, as most innovations we are enjoying in this cyberspace were founded and developed in America. Thus, any trend that would surface within America, expanded globally.

This is highly evident today, as the top TLD’s today are the original ones created such as “.com”, “.org” and “.net” (excl ccTLD’s).

The most prominent TLD of them all is .com, covering 51% of subdomains. The dominance of .com can be attributed to the fact that it was the first TLD ever created in 1983, being short for “commercial”, intended to be used for business’s. This network effect kept extending for years to come and began to grow exponentially after the .com boom. Arguably, this is where .com solidified itself as the king of TLD’s, as it became recognisable all around the globe for being used in top performing companies such as Amazon.com and Microsoft.com.

Whilst TLD’s do not directly affect SEO rankings, in general, recognisability and memorability of a website’s name affect this greatly. A major factor which affects this are TLD names, in which .com performs the best as it is the largest and oldest.

So what does this have to do with Internationalized domains?

To date only 0.58% of .com Domains are IDN’s. This is due to multiple factors, such as the first IDN’s only being introduced in 2003 (18 years after domain names were created) and it’s slow progression of adopting all language scripts. However, the largest issue is the fact that it does not make sense for languages with non-Latin scripts such as Japanese, Chinese and Russian to use two different keyboards in order to search a domain name directly, eg:

ビットコイン.com (Bitcoin in Japanese)

Instead, what people from these countries is create websites with English words or just abbreviations with Latin characters, accompanied by a .com domain. This meaning that a Japanese person would need to rely on auto-suggestions when wanting to search a website URL directly, use their English skills or just simply search things in Google and click on a relevant website from there.

So why don’t these countries use TLD’s in their native language?

Apart from the large legacy and premium nature of .com, a large reason is the release of IDN TLD’s did not occur until June 2012. This means that a significant cultural push or SEO benefits would have to be given to these names in order to create a network effect for wider usage. This is evidenced as even the spelling out of “com” in other languages scripts had little to no adoption.

How will HNS be different?

HNS is and has always been inclusive and flexible with its domain name registrations, with IDN’s in any language script being available from the beginning of the release of names in February 2020.

In addition to this, the premium websites on this new system will not be using any subdomains.

For example, instead of 比特币.com (Bitcoin in Chinese)

Websites will look like 比特币/

That’s right, the TLD is now the whole website URL, subdomains will become a lot less valuable as a range of 55–60 million TLD’s will be able to be registered on the protocol. This means subdomains will be used however will not be deemed as valuable.

Given these two factors, when wanting to create a domain on HNS, people will naturally start registering in their native tongue, as there are no more restrictions which come with registering a subdomain. From here a network effect will naturally form into a new way for people to surf the web online.

As these new websites will be simple 1–3 words, the potential for favourable SEO rankings are high due to it’s memorability and efficiency in typing, however this is just speculation as it is ultimately up to how search engines accommodate the protocol in their SEO algorithm.

Personal identity

Handshake names will not be restricted to one use case of names for websites. They will also provide a way for people to identify themselves online.

The cryptographic signature a Handshake TLD provides can bring endless possibilities, such as logging in to social media without a password:

https://news.namebase.io/

Creating an email with your TLD: https://hmail.app/

Minting your TLD as an NFT (XHNS, coming soon).

You can think of your Handshake TLD like a google account that can connect to basically anything integrated with the protocol.

You can have multiple accounts, such as one for Work, Government documents, and Personal life.

In my opinion this is where the use case for IDN’s in HNS will thrive the most, however it is further into the future.

HNSfans speaking on IDN’s in the HNS ecosystem. They are the leading Chinese connector in the community.
HNSfans speaking on IDN’s in the HNS ecosystem. They are the leading Chinese connector in the community.

Interest in IDN’s on HNS so far:

Primary market:

Secondary market:

There are currently 5 IDN’s in the top 200 resales on Namebase

  1. : Kim (Korean)
  2. 東京: Tokyo (Japanese)
  3. : Home (Chinese
  4. 比特币: Bitcoin (Chinese)
  5. 先生: Mr (Chinese)

The average resale price in HNS of these names is:

8,579 HNS

This will naturally increase once there is more growth in International users of Handshake, hence at this point in time are extremely undervalued.

From my exploration on the primary market I noticed that most premium IDN’s were taken early on at a very small price, so expect to see the price floor increase on the secondary market once there are more people willing to let go of these names.

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Happy naming :)

Written by Robert Raichici