It Happened

The Landmark Event in Handshake

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Unveiling “The Happening”: A Handshake Milestone

In the innovative landscape of blockchain, Handshake’s “The Happening” stands out as a pivotal moment. Initially, Handshake safeguarded the top 100,000 Alexa-ranked domain names, allowing their rightful owners to claim both the Handshake name and a corresponding share of $HNS tokens. This allocation was based on each site’s engagement in terms of browsing and domain registrations. These domains were reserved for a period of 4 (four) years, leading to a critical juncture where the future of these reserved names needed resolution.

In early June 2023, the Handshake community was actively debatings over the potential paths forward, including a hard fork or a soft fork, to unlock these reserved domains. The consensus led to a strategic decision: maintaining the reservation for (roughly) the top 10,000 Alexa domains while releasing the remaining 90,000 for registration by February 2024. This decision marked the onset of “The Happening.” [1]

On February 3rd 2024, a total of 73,092 Handshake names were released and 11,509 were kept in reserved. [2]

Seizing the Opportunity

The best time to have joined Handshake would have been at the begining of 2020 when the network just launched. A lot of high value names got auctioned on a regular release basis back then. At the time, the value of the Handshake coin ($HNS) was approximately $0.10, or 10 cents of a dollar. Very few people knew about Handshake during that period, missing this golden window. “The Happening” was the second best time, a unique opportunity for community members who joined Handshake post-launch. This event represented a big opportunity for all community members that joined handshake at a later stage to acquire several high value names. While the future remains unpredictable, this event harbors the potential to significantly enrich those who secure these valuable domains.

A Handshake Bidder A Handshake Bidder, or a Sniper, we can’t tell the difference. Generated by DALL-E.

Auction of High-Value Domains

Some of the premium names that opened up for auction included: .bitcoin/, .btc/, .blockchain/, .go/, .domain/, among other high caliber names. Notably, Unstoppable Domains, a prominent player owning .crypto/, .zil/, and more recently .sats/ on Handshake, faced a strategic dilemma. The broader community speculated on whether Unstoppable Domains would engage in bidding wars for these high-value names. After all, they acquired these names on Handshake to avoid collisions with their own naming system. We wondered what would their strategy be during this event: were they going to take the chance to bid on these names like .bitcoin/, .go/, .888/, .blockchain/, or just let it slide? Winning auctions have always been cheaper than trying to acquire the name on the secondary market.

Until today, we do not know whether or not Unstoppable Domains made any bids. As of now, the bidding landscape remains shrouded in mystery, with the exception of a notable 1 million $HNS bid on .btc/ by a user known as Godfather/

Update: Added on February 25th, 2024

Some interesting stats provided by user Cymon regarding the final results of The Happening auctions [7]:

|Stats | Total $HNS | |———–|————–| |Lockup | 83,332,633.44| |Bids | 57,851,649.83| |Blinds | 25,462,099.17| |Unrevealed | 18,884.43 | |Burned | 12,873,184.12| General Handshake stats

Highest Auction Results (in HNS)

|Name | Sold for $HNS | |——–|—————| |india | 1,581,947 | |bitcoin | 500,000 | |btc | 500,000 | |go | 350,000 | |ny | 290,000 | |web | 256,000 | |op | 222,222 | |meta | 200,000 | |address | 200,000 | |xo | 155,000 | |sf | 150,000 | |ip | 150,000 | |db | 134,557 | |sol | 131,072 | |alpha | 131,072 | |lottery | 128,000 | |hi | 120,808 | |mail | 111,111 | Top Auction Results

Highest Individual Bids (in HNS):

|Name | Higest Bid $HNS | |———–|—————–| |india | 2,000,000 | |india | 1,581,947 | |btc | 1,000,000 | |bitcoin | 555,555 | |go | 501,000 | |bitcoin | 500,000 | |blockchain | 500,000 | |btc | 500,000 |
|btc | 500,000 | |lottery | 500,000 | |vr | 500,000 | |web | 500,000 | |ny | 400,000 | |sol | 400,000 |
|zk | 360,360 | |go | 350,000 | |meta | 350,000 | Highest individual bids

Spotlight on the name .india/

The auction also highlighted city and country names like .brasil/, .australia/, .montreal/, to name a few. The name with the higgest bid during “The Happening” was .india/ attracting a remarkable 2 Million $HNS bid (equivalent to $44,281.21 in USD) [4], setting a new benchmark previously only seen with single-letter domains. The identity of the bidder remains undisclosed, fueling speculation within the community.

Given India’s rising stature on the global stage, .india/ represented a high-value asset, mirroring the growing recognition of India as an emerging economic powerhouse, as advocated by influential figures like Balaji Srinivasan.

$HNS Price Dynamics

The auction period witnessed volatile $HNS pricing, initially peaking at $0.04795, nearly 5 cents of a dollar, as reported by CoinMarketCap [5]. This fluctuation underscores the dynamic nature of the $HNS market, influenced by supply and demand forces.

HNS Price HNS Price during the month of February 2024

According to TheShake [6], the auctions locked in approximately 60M $HNS (~$2.5M), highlighting the significant capital influx into the Handshake ecosystem during “The Happening”

It’s also crucial to highlight that the price of $HNS experienced a significant downturn after the auction, with its value plummeting by nearly 30%, eventually stabilizing back to its previous levels.

The Future Landscape

“The Happening” represented an important moment for the Handshake community, offering a unique opportunity to acquire high-value domains. This event leveled the playing field, allowing both prominent investors and individuals with limited resources to secure valuable digital assets, a scenario unlikely to recur.

As Handshake continues to evolve, “The Happening” will be remembered as a defining moment, potentially altering the fortunes of those who seized the opportunity to invest in the future of decentralized domain names.


[1] Hey.tx Article
[2] Cymon HNS Explorer
[3] Godfather/ X Post
[4] ShakeShoutout X Post
[5] CoinMarketCap Graph
[6] TheShake X Post [7] Auction Final Stats