Viability of Rootless TLDs
Day: Friday March 22, 2013

The Internet domain name business is truly one run in the shadows of smoke and mirrors.  The ICANN dominated system has evolved from a free service in the 1980s to a multi-billion dollar industry that wants to maintain is grip of the steady cash flow of a monolithic rental business model.  Many have tried and most have failed to dethrone ICANN.  This is typically because they were simply another version of the same thing.  ShofarDomain’s rootless technology and domain ownership model is perhaps the strongest salvo yet to break the monopoly and give the world a truly level playing field in the domain name industry.

There are three important points that will help ShofarDomain succeed where others have not.  They are rootless TLDs, SLD ownership, and compelling applications that are dependent on the technology.

Rootless TLDs

With domain names, such as “www.example.com”, we understand that the “www” is a subdomain of the “example” Second Level Domain (SLD) which is in turn a subdomain of the “.com” Top Level Domain (TLD).  But in reality the “.com” TLD is not truly a subdomain of the “@” or root since you can’t point to it.  Rootless TLDs makes all TLDs peers rather than subject to a monopoly held artificial root.

Each rootless TLD is autonomous and does not require permission or technical support from a root.  Every TLD knows every other TLD in the rootless system, and that is what makes the system work.  Each TLD has a digitally signed file that is shares with all peers.

A domain resolver can go to any TLD and obtain the list of TLD files as desired and then go straight to the TLD to do the final resolution step.

A series of signed and dated files keeps a perpetual history of all TLDs.  Nothing is lost or can be taken down by a third party.  TLDs are truly autonomous peers.

SLD ownership

Applying the digital signature technology to the SLD opens the door to technology, not just policy, that gives a SLD holder true ownership of their domain.

The marketplace will change when domain holders no longer have to budget a yearly expense for their portfolio of domains, but can simply acquire and hold domains as they see fit.  New uses for SLDs can appear, such as one-time event sites that can live perpetually without the annual domain rental fee.

Compelling applications

While the motivation for end users to be able to access rootless domains may be initially limited, offering a compelling application that brings rootless TLDs to the end user can greatly accelerate market acceptance.

While several projects are in the works that depend on the underlying rootless technology, the ShofarPortfolio project is probably the most compelling.  ShofarPortfolio allows for hyper-secure communications.  One of the ways it does this is by wrapping up a message into an encrypted package and sending it not to the destination, but a nearby server.  That first server then decrypts the message and finds in it where to send the rest of the message which happens to also be encrypted.  This process repeats several times until the final destination is reached.  No single server in the path knows anything but where the server before and after.  Tracing the entire message is no longer possible.

As the ShofarPortfolio technology is built on the ShofarDomain technology, the user of the former inherently gets the latter, and the rootless technology spreads.

Conclusion

Dethroning and established giant is a David versus Goliath task.  David prepared himself with five smooth stones to take on Goliath.  We have only three, rootless TLDs, SLD ownership, and compelling applications.  However, we must remember David only needed one stone against Goliath.

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