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How to get a domain
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Written by Namebase
Updated over a week ago

About Handshake auctions

Handshake domains are different than the domains you'd register through a traditional registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap. Unlike traditional domains, Handshake domains are top-level domains and are initially acquired by participating in an auction rather than buying them directly. Namebase makes it simple to discover and bid on domains.

Unowned Handshake domains are eligible for auction. However, during the first year of Handshake's launch, the domains available for bidding will be released in stages. More domains will be released each week for the first 52 weeks.

Auction format

Handshake auctions are Vickrey auctions. A Vickrey auction is a type of sealed-bid auction. Bidders submit their bids without knowing the bids of the other people in the auction. The highest bidder wins, but the price paid is the second-highest bid.

For example, if you bid 10 HNS for crypto/ and someone else bids 5 HNS, you’d win the auction and only pay 5 HNS for crypto/. This means that you don’t spend more HNS than you need to when you win an auction.

Once the first bid is placed on an available name, the auction will officially begin. The auction will be open for 5 days. After bidding ends, there's a 10 day reveal period where bidders reveal their actual bids.


Placing a bid requires Handshake coins (HNS). When you place a bid, you're publicly locking up that amount of HNS until the auction has ended and bids have been revealed.

Lockup = Bid + Blind

Because these are Vickrey auctions and the amount you lockup is publicly visible, an optional blind can be used to mask your actual bid. Regardless of whether your win or lose the auction, the blind will be returned to you.

For example, if you want to bid 10 HNS for a name you truly want, but are concerned about potential competitors, you could add a 20 HNS blind. This lockup of 30 HNS (10 HNS bid + 20 HNS blind) would be publicly visible. If you win, you still wouldn't pay more than your bid of 10 HNS. The other 20 HNS would be returned to you.

After you've bid, you can't update it. This means you should bid the maximum you're willing to pay for a domain.

When bidding ends, the reveal period begins. During this time all bidders reveal their bids (Namebase manages this for you). After the reveal period ends:

  • If you've won, you'll pay the second highest price. All extra HNS (unused bid amount + blind) will be returned to you. The domain will appear in your Namebase account and you can start to manage it.

  • If you've lost, everything you locked up will be returned to you.

Read our bidding guide to learn more about the bidding process.

Good luck! We can't wait to see what domains you win.

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