Namespace Decentralization: Who Proposes What to Do and What

Namebase founders criticized social media and centralized domain name management systems. Let’s see what the essence of their own initiative is, and why not everyone likes it.

/ Unsplash / Charles deluvio

What happened

The campaign for an alternative implementation of the namespace has been actively promoted since last year. Came out the other day material with detailed explanations of critical assessments, proposals for global decentralization, the necessary requirements for the project and its potential opportunities.

We analyzed the article and the discussion around it on thematic platforms. We share the main findings, additional materials and opinions on this topic.

What do they criticize for

On website companies have references to the problem of excessive centralization on the side of “technological monopolists”, national and international organizations – from ICANN to social networks.

The founders of Namebase are questioning how such entities (and even governments) exercise the rights to free speech and ownership of digital assets like profiles, usernames, and domain names. In their speeches – they often remember cases of theft, blocking and removal of such “assets” without due process or explanation.

What are the proposals

By opinion For enthusiasts of this topic, moving away from all sorts of complexities towards a universal, sustainable and decentralized namespace will require:

  1. Make sure the new system is decentralized.
  2. Leave only key functionality.
  3. Provide low resource consumption and trustless availability.
  4. Maintain compatibility with the overall network infrastructure.
  5. Provide for the possibility of updating at the protocol level.

The first and second requirement can be realized using a dedicated PoW blockchain (the company called him HandshakeThus, the developers plan to eliminate the risks of destabilizing the system due to the actions of stakeholders or any external factors.

In their opinion, designing on the basis of already existing blockchains will not allow achieving such an effect in the long term, which is a determining factor for the smooth operation and updating (the fifth point of the requirements) of “IT standards” of this level.

In response to the third requirement, the developers suggest storing namespace data in so-called Urkel treespecially designed for this task. They act as an alternative particia trees in Ethereum, but with 32 nodes (leaf / sibling nodes) and 76 bytes (internal nodes), and the PoW weight here does not exceed a kilobyte, even with tens of millions of “leaves”.

This is how the team tries to optimize the time and resources required for name resolution. In addition, she discovered the “easy” client in C – it deals exclusively with DNS tasks.

/ Unsplash / Thomas jensen

If we talk about compatibility (fourth point), according to the founders, the project is aimed at expanding the capabilities of existing IT standards, and not at replacing them. The developers are confident that “netizens should have more opportunities to retain control and make sure that this or that name belongs to them”, and continue to develop their product (basic information on it – Github repository, documentation, API).

What they are criticized for

Hacker News gave a link to app storeresting on Handshake, and similar implementations… But there were also those who expressed fearsthat the vendor is just trying to become another naming registrar in a slightly updated format. They also questioned the independence of such projects, referring for data on the distribution of mining pools.

At some point, the discussion went aside – one of the site’s residents even expressed thought of a similar “revitalization” Rss-ecosystem, which could become a decentralized answer for the monopolized social media market. But here – as in the Handshake situation – everything came down to the issue of monetization and the degree of elegance in its solution. As known, similar DNS projects have already tried runbut the process did not go as smoothly as the founders would have liked.

Now Handshake and Namebase have several alternatives at once – from Unstoppable Domains (documentation) to Ethereum Name Service (ENS). Time will tell whether they will be able to compete with the existing approaches to domain name management and become widespread.

PS Additional reading in our hubrablog is the work of providers and the development of communication systems.

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