Censorship is a hot-button issue right now, and there are many places where individuals and platforms remain unable to use their voice. Decentralization is one of the biggest ways that free speech is being threatened, which is so much to do with the power that DNS services and centralized hosting hold. These two companies are hoping to establish an internet where censorship isn’t commonplace anymore.
Realistically, platforms and apps all tend to start with a goal of censorship resistance. However, they are not in charge of their own publications. ISPs still have the power to block certain websites, and even the provider of someone’s internet can deter a user away from websites. There’s even a law may soon be implemented that would allow service providers for the internet to control exactly what content and how much of it that customers are even allowed to access. To get a fully decentralized web, there needs to be action.
Handshake is a certificate authority that thrives on decentralization, and it is striving to become a peer-to-peer root DNS service. According to the company, the whole mission and purpose of Handshake is “not to replace the DNS protocol, but to replace the root zone file and the root servers with a public commons. The Handshake protocol maintains the root zone file in a decentralized manner, making the root zone uncensorable, permission-less, and free of gatekeepers.” With Handshake coins (HNS), users have the option to purchase top-level domains, but they can also register these domains or allow participants to cell them.
Akash is a little different, since the deployment platform also acts as a decentralized cloud marketplace. The infrastructure is a little different than the classic cloud setup, much different what is used by Microsoft Azure, Google, and Amazon. In the last few weeks along, Azure has even said that they will no longer work with Gab.ai, based on the “offensive content,” which would just be an exercise in free speech. Akash’s setup allows storage in multiple containers to reduce the risk of their plug being pulled.
Even though there are other distributed cloud computing providers, this action by Azure is a perfect example of limited the internet actually is. Everything is controlled by the website they are hosted on. For example, someone can own tokens with a cryptocurrency website, but they would not be able to use it without domain.
In an interview with news.Bitcoin.com, Akash founder Greg Osuri said, “Akash provides the CPU memory storage and Handshake provides DNS – it’s a marriage made in heaven. I was so excited when I saw Handshake…Any application on Akash will use a Handshake DNS server. It’s a mutual partnership where they help us by giving the value of a decentralized network and we help them with adoption.
Right now, according to Osuri, Akash is responsible for the Handshake Testnet, which is the largest to date with 16 nodes.
Akash already launched its own Testnet, and they are presently using eight cloud servers around the world, which is about “half a terabyte a capacity that could host 1,000 dynamic sites or 10,000 static websites.” To offer the same open-source protocols and distribution, Handshake has already started to give away 70% of their total tokens to developers within their ecosystem.
Realistically, there is no possible way to create a censorship-free network entirely. However, with the steps that companies like Akash and Handshake are making, there will be ways to integrate the decentralization that the industry needs.