Namebase Squatters

Now that I have ENS setup as well as SNS setup, I ran across Namebase (HNS) recently and found it intriguing. Namebase does something that I think is really weird, it allows reservations of names at the root of the namespace. So, instead of thingelstad.com, thingelstad.eth, or thingelstad.sol you can just get plain thingelstad. They claim to say this allows it to interoperate with traditional DNS, which it sort of does, but it collapses namespace in a way that I don’t think is workable. Anyway, I decided to poke around and was really surprised.

It turns out that thingelstad was already purchased! Now, my last name is pretty uncommon so this seemed odd to me. Even stranger, it was purchased on June 29, 2020. The buy paid 0.40 HNS which is about $0.10 USD today, and only about $0.07 USD at the time of purchase. But, perhaps this is a valid purchaser. Some other Thingelstad playing around in crypto.

I decided to look for jamiethingelstad, surely that would be available. Nope! Someone just purchased jamiethingelstad as well. The auction ended on Nov 29, 2021, for 120 HNS. $30 USD! Someone seemed to think that it was worth $30 USD to buy my name?

Confused, I looked for the one other domain I typically buy, weeklything. And sure enough, someone bought weeklything on April 29, 2021 for 7 HNS. A measly $1.75 USD for that one. This one though is actively for sale, for the low price of 395 HNS, just under $100 USD. You gotta be kidding me.

These seem too focused and I wonder how these squatters identify their list of domains. I thought perhaps people watched ENS registrations and then bought available HNS tokens, but the HNS purchase of thingelstad was a full 10 months before I bought thingelstad.eth.

I’m dissapointed with Handshake/HNS because I think it sets up a bad system when you allow people to register a name for such low prices. But even with that, the person that bought my name paid a reasonable price of $30 USD for the pleasure.

I’m skeptical of this service, so I don’t plan to attempt to get any of these names. I think the way they structured the namespace is too flat to work well. But it is still annoying. 😀

Jamie Thingelstad @jthingelstad

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