The Handshake Network wants to reinvent DNS

(technologyreview.com)

72 points | by rasengan 3 days ago

12 comments

  • p4bl0 3 days ago

    In practice, DNS is already sort of not-centralized (even if it would be incorrect to call it decentralized). One can decide to use specific name servers that do not follow ICANN's rules. See for instance the OpenNIC project. They even operate non-standard TLDs.

    Using a blockchain has little benefits. And I believe it's energy cost is really not worth it in the current situation.

    • ttjjcc 3 days ago

      DNS is hierarchical, but that doesn't matter because it's effectively controlled by ICANN and big name registrars. "permissionless" is what we need, but you can only get there through decentralization.

      This is a perfect usecase for blockchain, because we need permissionless writes to a distributed ledger. The energy costs of running the blockchain would likely be equivalent if not less than the current system (what's the energy cost associated with running Godaddy?).

      An alternative would be to scrap the idea of memorable domain names all together, and move toward something like QRcodes + tor like public keys + petnames or similar.

      • DoctorOetker 3 days ago

        not every block chain needs to be energy intensive. check algorand for example. the blockchain winter is over.

      • peeters 3 days ago

        > We use the DNS because most humans are bad at keeping track of long numbers.

        I almost feel the need to challenge that these days. While it's absolutely true as far as the original intention went, and is true to a limited amount today, I think the days of most people typing domain names into the location field of their browser is largely over. Google search is the modern DNS when we're talking about that purpose. Today, I think DNS is much more about the permanence of an address, not whether it's memorable.

        • abtinf 3 days ago

          I agree that the purpose has changed.

          DNS is identity.

          Almost every source of internet identity is either in DNS or is, at root, based on DNS. The only exceptions I can think of are PGP keys and blockchain, and they struggle with workable trust mechanisms.

          You could say registrars and CAs underpin DNS, but they primarily exist to support DNS.

          • jazzyjackson 3 days ago

            Agreed that it’s about changing what IP and address resolves to, 32 bit IPs don’t have to be harder to memorize than a phone number. In fact most IP addresses can be represented as a 10 digit decimal notation and last I checked chrome will resolve this “phone number” representation into the traditional quad-octet

            • partialrecall 3 days ago

              During most of the period in which memorizing phone numbers was common, most people weren't memorizing 10 digit numbers. Rather, local calls to your neighbors required you only remember 4 digits when you all shared the same three digit prefix. And if you didn't share a prefix but shared an area code, you only had to memorize 7 digits. For the calls most people were making most of the time, memorizing 4 was typical and 7 was occasional.

              This did begin to change before the rise of phone number storage tech, but it doubtlessly spurred the adoption of that tech.

              • omni 2 days ago

                > most IP addresses can be represented as a 10 digit decimal notation

                Can't all ipv4 addresses be represented this way, since it's equivalent to a 32 bit int?

                • jazzyjackson 1 day ago

                  You’re right, I can’t remember why I was thinking I ran into 11 digits...

            • nikisweeting 12 hours ago

              https://github.com/Monadical-SAS/solana-dns Solana-based DNS would have performance benefits and also not wast the incredible amount of energy that traditional blockchains do.

              • tmikaeld 3 days ago

                I remember this was hot about 3 years ago.

                Nothing will happen unless it's integrated into the major browsers. Afaik, no one is planning that.

                • swalsh 3 days ago

                  You wouldn't integrate it in the browsers, but instead you'd probably want it on the OS level.

                  • camdenlock 3 days ago

                    Exactly. With all of these proposed DNS replacements, support at the OS level is the first step to true adoption. Perhaps Linux-based OSes would be the places to start...

                • parliament32 3 days ago

                  DNS-blockchain was already done, 8 years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namecoin

                  • goofyduck 3 days ago

                    This will catch on faster than IPv6...

                  • godelski 3 days ago

                    Didn't someone last year do an analysis where they thought Summit (250 PFLOPs) could do a 51% attack on Bitcoin?

                    My major concern would then be what about Aurora (1ExFLOPs)[1], Frontier (1.5ExFLOPs)[2], and similar computers? If the big draw is to avoid censorship this seems like a big concern. Potentially making us all more vulnerable because someone like China, Russia, or America could decide that they want to spend all those computing resources on an attack. It's not like these machines are a significant portion of the national budget and are really dwarfed by military budgets. We're only talking a few hundred million dollars to build and tens to operate.

                    I like the idea in principle, but is this worked out?

                    [0] https://www.olcf.ornl.gov/olcf-resources/compute-systems/sum...

                    [1] https://aurora.alcf.anl.gov/

                    [2] https://www.olcf.ornl.gov/frontier/

                    • ktpsns 3 days ago

                      I stopped reading when the term "blockchain" arised. (Jokes aside, the paywall made me stopping reading)

                      > Old and busted: DNS over HTTPS. New hotness: DNS over blockchain https://twitter.com/dobes/status/1164412915648086016

                      Original quote from https://blog.fefe.de/?ts=a3a04f1b

                    • skywhopper 3 days ago

                      How would blockchain make anything “unstoppable”? Malicious DNS records could still end up in the chain via other attacks. How does such a system handle establishing ownership of a namespace in the first place?

                      • m-p-3 3 days ago

                        More like uncensorable, as unless you blocks all the nodes in the blockchain, the ledger will eventually makes its way to those who wants to download it.

                      • coolspot 3 days ago

                        Very similar to Ethereum Name System, down to Vickrey auction method.

                        • dang 3 days ago
                          • equalunique 3 days ago

                            Mental note: Do some research later to see how this is different from namecoin.