Support for alternative TLD providers?

I have recently been purchasing some domains from Handshake and Unstoppable Domains. I would love to have you guys handle the DNS for them but when I try to add any of my non-ICANN domains it gives me an error. Which I expect since you guys have to have some sanity in the TLDs you support of course.

But I was wondering if there is anyway Cloudflare can start supporting decentralized domain names in the near future?

Handshake: handshake.org
Unstoppable Domains: unstoppabledomains.com

This was posted before, but had to be unlisted since the poll had so many votes by people who registered only in order to boost HNS on the platform and certainly weren’t actual CF customers. Hopefully another vote brigade doesn’t happen and this can be voted on by actual CF customers.

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I know that decentralised domains are experimental to some extent, but it could be a vision of tomorrow, so for cloudflare to consider compatability with this concept, it would be excellent.

If it is decentralised, what do you expect Cloudflare to provide?

It maybe easier if you look into Handshake.org and get an idea. The root zone is replaced with block chain something or other, so some next level dns I would hasten a guess at. I’m just an onlooker who has purchased a handshake domain from porkbun.com recently, seeing this thread. I’ve been with cloudflare for 6 years with hundreds of domains and every month there seems to be something else cutting edge that cloudflare are doing. I thought this may align with the future. Maybe I’ll stick to reading rather than commenting. Best wishes.

Speaking for myself and my expectations, regardless of the tech being decentralized some of these providers still expect you to use a centralized DNS solution if you are using it for a website, either theirs or the registrars you purchased it from. Like Handshake domains purchased from Porkbun uses Porkbuns DNS. I would prefer for all my DNS to be handled by the same service, which in this case is Cloudflare. I have my ICANN domains on here, I’d love my Handshake domains here too.

My impression and opinion is that Cloudflare will only push something like this if they see or want it to become a standard. It’s also seen as an endorsement. As this is decentralized, there’s not much stopping a train wreck should they offer a TLD that ICANN ends up adopting.

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There are a lot of problems with blockchain based TLDs that don’t get talked about much. I looked at purchasing ENS (.eth) and HNS (a custom TLD) domains/TLDs to match one of my ICANN domains. These are a couple of the problems I see with decentralized TLDs.

The first issue is that registration is comlicated. Yes, you can go to Porkbun now and register second level Handshake domain, but who controls the keys and who ultimately controls your domain? Now instead of relying on ICANN, which has well defined rules and policies, you’re relying on whoever controls the Handshake TLD you bought into, aren’t you? Who owns .1 or .startup? Is it Porkbun? Can you ultimately control something like example.1 if you register it?

To capitalize on the decentralized nature of the Handshake blockchain you really want your own Handshake TLD and to do that you need to set up a wallet, which involves being ultimately responsible for the key management, buy HNS, which has complex tax implications in some jurisdictions, and participate in their weird auction system they use for minting TLDs.

Compare that to normal ICANN domains where you go to Porkbun, put in your contact and credit card info, click buy, and you’re done. The registries and registrars all have clearly defined rules they need to follow. ICANN might not be great, but, if you’re looking to build an online brand, the predictability and stability you get from having an oversight organization is important. I’d rather legally own an ICANN domain than technically own an HNS or ENS domain.

The second problem is who’s liable in terms of bad acting like trademark infringement. The decentralized, “no one controls us, we’re immune to court orders” nature of blockchain TLDs sounds great until you start thinking critically about brand management and brand protection. Who do I appeal to if someone starts squatting on mybrand.eth? What do I do if someone beats me to the Handshake TLD for mybrand and uses it in a damaging way as a means of strong-arming me into buying it from them? Look at the extortion the VOIP providers have been dealing with lately. Cloudflare has a reputation for being the solution for dealing with those types of bad actors, not the tech provider that facilitates their activities.

In those situations, I’d be looking at the first link in the chain that operates in the (judicially) regulated world. So if Cloudflare supports HNS or ENS and hosts the DNS for it, that’s who I’d consider to be responsible for facilitating trademark infringement or libel. No one knows if that’s right or wrong because it hasn’t happened yet, but I remember seeing a list of .eth domains a while back where I thought there were a lot of (potentially) trademark infringing registrations. What happens when Alphabet or Meta or Apple or Disney has their trademarks violated by a bad actor that’s an anonymous participant in the unregulated, judgement proof blockchain? Who gets sued?

I think the technology is cool, but it’s something where you really want to solicit input from brand managers and lawyers before even considering it.

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Fair points, never thought about those issues before. Just the nature of the beast we call decentralized tech. I always keep “Not your keys, not your crypto” in mind but never thought to apply it with Porkbun HNS for some reason.

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