# 🤝 Handshake Institute

The Handshake Institute is an independent advocacy and educational non-profit organization that seeks to increase awareness for Handshake (opens new window), a decentralized naming and certificate authority that uses blockchain technology.

Handshake is a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol where every peer is validating and in charge of managing the root DNS naming zone with the goal of creating an alternative to existing Certificate Authorities and naming systems. Names on the internet (top level domains, social networking handles, etc.) ultimately rely upon centralized actors with full control over a system which are relied upon to be honest, as they are vulnerable to hacking, censorship, and corruption. Handshake aims to experiment with new ways the internet can be more secure, resilient, and socially useful with a peer-to-peer system validated by the network's participants.

The centralization of key internet services has occurred in the process of extending the value of open-source tools for mass adoption. Pressures put on open and decentralized services by spam and other network abuse has given way to continued development toward centralization in the Internet's infrastructure.

Email became Gmail, usenet became reddit, blog replies became facebook and Medium, pingbacks became twitter, squid became Cloudflare, even gnutella became The Pirate Bay.

We believe that the tools and the user experience for the decentralized web can exceed the quality offered by centralizing actors in the space.

We advocate for

  • user-owned networks
  • open-source decentralized tools
  • sovereignty of the individual
    • data
    • privacy
    • autonomy
  • free expression and civil discourse
  • new forms of being in community, growth and development, and governance
  • stewardship and development of the Commons (opens new window)

We must work together to shape the generation of value in future systems to be in service of the empowerment of individuals, families, communities, and society instead of it accruing to a small set of individuals that seek systemic disempowerment and exploitation.

# Our role in the Handshake community

[Handshake offers] true decentralization, [having] no official singular Foundation, Committee, Corporation, or entities in permanent unitary control of the protocol.

The Handshake Institute works to promote decentralization through Handshake, but does so independently and it has no direct control over the Handshake protocol itself, other than participating as peers in governance with the rest of the community and supporting the development of open source tools in the ecosystem that are in alignment with our Vision.

We take an inclusive approach to find any and all solutions that will serve to implement Handshake as the consensus naming and certificate authority of the Internet.