Yesterday on Twitter Soren von Varchmin, serial entrepreneur and Chairman of the Board at Cloudfest announced a pretty awesome Handshake domain flip. Soren had purchased the two character Handshake domain name OH/ for $1,700 on December 22nd, and yesterday he sold it for $35,000.

Here’s the tweet of the announcement:

Handshake domain flip

It’s no secret that both Handshake domain names and $HNS itself has seen incredible growth over the last year with rocket-level metrics over the last six months.

As someone that has been dipping his toes in the Handshake waters I can tell you Soren got a pretty stellar deal on OH/ back in December. I think you’d have a pretty hard time finding a two-character Handshake domain for under $10k today.

Soren clarified in a follow-up to his tweet that the domain name sold through the NameBase marketplace which is no surprise since this is where most of the action is happening in the Handshake world these days.

Congrats to Soren and to the new owner of OH/, great flip and a great name!

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Well it was quite a bit of work to get this all worked out but I’m on the other side of it and have a full week of blog posts coming up next week while I’m off the grid. I’m turning 40 on Tuesday and for my birthday I’m going to one of my favorite places in the world, Yosemite.

I grew up going to Yosemite every year and now my friends and I go there at least once a year for some pretty spectacular backpacking adventures. The photo below is from a snow backpacking trip we did in February 2020, about a month before the world changed. El Cap is right behind my friend Tim’s head (the guy on the far left):

Morgan Linton Yosemite

This will be the first time in the 14 years that I’ve been writing this blog that I’ll be taking a week off. Writing a daily blog is a strange thing in many ways because it really becomes a way of life, every day you write a post, it is the way.

Of course, the beauty of a blog is that you can schedule posts and I put a lot of thought into how to make next week a great week for my blog. And I think what I have queued up could make this one of my best weeks of content yet.

And I thought, why not give you a previous of what I’ll be featuring. So here’s what’s ahead. Oh, and I’m kicking off the week with something really special:

Monday – Interview with Michael Castello on a brand new development project he’s launching

Tuesday – Birthday reflections post (and it might get sappy)

Wednesday – Interview with @NamesakeMark, one of the key players in the Handshake domain world

Thursday – Guest post from surprise guest

Friday – Guest post from surprise guest

I’ve read the interview with Michael Castello twice now and I can honestly say, it’s one of the single best pieces of content I’ve ever had on my blog. I’m incredibly honored to have Michael sharing what he shares in this post and I think you all have a lot to look forward to as we kick off next week.

Right now I don’t exactly know how it’s going to feel going an entire week without writing a blog post, but I’m going to give it a shot. Yosemite is such a special place and I’m really looking forward to doing some awesome hikes, spending time at some of my old stomping grounds like The Ahwahnee Hotel, which if you haven’t seen before looks like something out of a movie:

Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite
Ahwahnee hotel and cliffs. Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

Fun fact, the inside of the Ahwahnee was actually the inspiration for the inside of the hotel in The Shining.

As for hikes, one that is definitely on the list is Dewey Point which offers some of the most jaw-droppingly amazing views of Yosemite like this one I took last year:

Dewey Point Yosemite

That mountain you see there in the center of the photo is El Capitan and if you don’t know much about it I highly recommend watching the movie Free Solo. Note – I will not be climbing El Capitan.

I will be leaving comments open on all posts next week so comment away, just know that I likely won’t see or respond to them until I’m back. It’s absolutely humbling for me to have so many amazing readers all over the world, I write this blog for you and even if I’m off-the-grid for a week know that my blog will always be here for you.

Huge thanks to Michael Castello, Mark, and two special guests that will be revealed next week for sharing some truly exceptional content next week. Now it’s time to unplug, putting on my hiking boots, and go for a little adventure… 🥾 🏔

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Ah passive income, the great dream of just about everyone. If you’ve ever taken a deep dive into the path to passive income you often find it involves a lot of work, which well, isn’t very passive. That being said, if you play your cards right it can become truly passive one day.

Lately I’ve been looking more and more at online businesses that someone already put the blood, sweat, and tears into, and is now a real passive income machine.

The challenge I’ve always had is that I’m afraid I’ll buy something that someone says is turnkey, when really it involves time, which I don’t have. For years I’ve struggled to build up trust with online business marketplaces like Flippa because it feels like it could be easy to get scammed.

Fast forward to today and Flippa has really cleaned things up and now offers a diligence service that can help make sure I’m not buying a lemon. So as you probably know, Flippa is a sponsor of this blog and they helped me identify three potential opportunities that could make 40% ROI on an investment in the ~$25k – $50k range.

And I know what you’re thinking now, “cut to the chase Morgan and show us the sites!” so here you go:

Now as you all know, I’m no expert when it comes to evaluating businesses like these. If you are, I’m curious to know which one you think is the best opportunity when it comes to true passive income.

You know the drill, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

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Writing for Morgan Linton

So next week I’m doing something I haven’t done, well, maybe ever. I’m trying to not work, blog, or really do anything on a computer for a week. The reason is – I’m turning 40 on Tuesday, April 13th.

Yikes, I feel old just saying that. For my 40th Birthday I’m heading to Yosemite with my wife Daina and we’re going to stay in a cabin in the woods and just relax, hike, and enjoy nature. I grew up going to Yosemite, it’s my special place, and I can’t wait.

That being said, even with me unplugged, I’ve been writing this blog for 14 years and well, as the saying goes, “the blog must go on!”

I have three posts that I’m scheduling, two of them are pretty awesome interviews that I think you’re all going to really dig, and one is a mushy post with my reflections on turning 40. But there are two more days in the week and I thought – why not open it up to you, my readers, to throw your hat in the ring to contribute.

So if you have something to share and a topic that you think would be interesting to more people than just you, I’d love to hear more about it. Feel free to share what you’d like to write about in the comment section below, or respond to my tweet about this post on twitter, or email me directly at morgan(at)morganlinton.com.

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I was poking around looking at some .AI domains and stumbled on a pretty slick new “for sale” lander (or at least new to me) on NameCheap. I’ll show you the lander and then talk about what I think makes it particularly interesting:

NameCheap For Sale Lander

Okay, so now back to the things that I dig about this landing page. First, a simple feature but that’s implemented in a clean way IMHO, the minimum price expectation. When you enter an offer that’s lower than the floor a pop-up catches your attention, like this:

NameCheap For Sale Lander

But that’s not my favorite feature. To the right of the offer you’ll see a button that says “Send offer via SMS” – this is f%^&ing cool 😎 Seriously, I think this is a killer feature that every landing page should have on it, and it’s enough to make me want to take these NameCheap landing pages for a spin.

So why am I so excited about the whole idea of sending an SMS message to make an offer on a domain?

Well, let’s face it, people are impatient…and as time goes by, and technology progresses, I can tell you – people sure aren’t getting more patient. I think adding an SMS option to a for sale lander is an awesome idea – it gives your prospective buyer a chance to try to connect with you right away, and to you as as the seller it shows when you have a truly interested buyer.

Also, for anyone who is thinking, “NameCheap must have paid Morgan to write this!?!?” While I do love NameCheap, they aren’t a sponsor of my blog, maybe that will change this year, but at this moment, they aren’t, they don’t know I’m writing this, and heck, maybe they won’t even like this post, what do I know?

All I know is, I think this is a pretty slick landing page, I’m going to take it for a spin, and I’ll be comparing it to Efty and DAN the two services I currently use…and as usual I’ll be reporting back to all of you to let you know how it goes.

What do you think? Is this as cool as I think it is? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

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Okay, so I’m not purposely trying to become the anti-emoji domain guy. Just to be clear, I love emojis, I use them in my text messages, in my WhatsApp messages, in my emails, emojis are my jam. But as a normal(ish) consumer/person I am yet to find myself visiting an emoji website.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that emoji domains couldn’t take off, but I’m honestly not even seeing a hint of it forming. To see if maybe it was just me I talked to a few difference family members all in the 13 – 19 year old range, and all of them said they had never visited or even heard of an emoji domain name.

In fact, funny enough, the one common theme I heard from everyone I spoke to was how often they find themselves on .IO, .CO and other non .COM domains. But I digress, so back to the topic of this post.

Destiny emoji domain auction

A bunch of emoji domains sold…but not just any emoji domains, emoji domains that end in the subdomain y, in the domain extension .at 😜 And the prices, as you’ll see above, are just bonkers. Someone paid $200,000 for the rocket ship emoji, followed by the moon, in .y.at.

I know what you’re thinking, Morgan has decided to extend April Fool’s by five days. Think again, you can check it all out here.

So what the actual f&$# is going on here? Well there’s a bit more to this story, here’s the scoop:

On Friday, April 2nd at 5:45 PM EDT, an event nearly as rare as a visit by Halley’s Comet will occur: Yat 💯 Destiny, the first ever Yat auction. At this extraordinary event, 18 of the most iconic and valuable Generation Zero Yats that will ever exist will be auctioned off to holders of magical Prism Keys.

Everyone in the Yat community and beyond is invited to join us for this historic event. But only those who hold Prism Keys at the time of the event will be able to bid on these very special Yats.

Prism Keys are made of the legendary Hippogriff’s feathers and fur and therefore are truly wondrous artifacts. When a holder chooses to unseal their Prism Key after the 5th April sunrise, it will morph into two very special Generation Zero Yats valued far beyond the price paid for the Prism Key itself.

Only 500 Prism Keys will ever exist for this very special event.

(Source – Destiny.y.at)

So as you can see, there’s a bit more to this story, but it’s also all just a story. If you think Prism Keys made of the legendary Hippogriff’s feathers and fur are going to be worth a fortune in the future, have at it. For me, I think it’s a bunch of marketing fluff, sorry – but this is just too crazy for me, and I’m a big believer in crypto and am bullish on a lot more than just BTC and ETH.

If anyone from Destiny.y.at wants to share more, I’m definitely willing to hop on a Zoom, have a chat, and do a deeper dive. But at first glance, I think people who are spending $200k on a rocket and moon emoji on .y.at could have done a lot better putting that money into a one-word .COM they could sell for $500k+ but that’s just my two cents.

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

🙏 Special thanks to @NamesakeMark for tipping me off that this crazy auction happened!

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I have been really enjoying learning more about Handshake domains, the community has been amazing and I find myself on news.namebase.io just about daily at this point. One thing I’m really appreciating about the community is that so far it seems to be relatively troll free. I’m not sure if this is due to good moderation or just a different group but it really feels like a community where anyone can share their thoughts or opinions freely which is awesome.

On that note, I have some thoughts and opinions to share that I’m thinking people might not like too much but hey, it’s just my opinion, and I’m just one guy who knows very little about Handshake so take it for what it’s worth!

As you might remember, back in March I wrote an article about how I plan to spend my first $20,000 in Handshake domains. Well, after doing a deeper dive, my thinking has changed, and I’ll tell you how, and why. Oh and if you’re too lazy to read the post, no worries, the spoiler is, I planned on putting $10k into Handshake domains and $10k into HNS tokens.

Since then I’ve had the chance to get a better feel for what handshake names are available, for sale at auction, and listed by private sellers. I’ve had plenty of people send me lists and even organize list of names by category for me. The challenge is, 99% of what I’ve seen doesn’t make sense to me as a domain extension, maybe as a domain name itself, but not as a domain extension, and that’s what Handshake domains are intended to be.

The reality is, people who got involved in the Handshake domain world much earlier than me, and probably you, scooped up the good stuff. All the good stuff? Of course not, there’s still some good names floating around but most of what’s listed for sale is listed at ridiculous prices. To me, it feels more like buying lottery tickets at this point, with a super long time horizon on seeing any meaningful return.

But…I’m still very bullish about Handshake domains, I just have a new investment thesis. First, I think there are a few companies that are really making moves in the Handshake space, two weeks ago I made an investment in one of them. I’ll have to ask the CEO if I can share publicly and if I can I will if not, well I guess I won’t. Investing in companies that are doing interesting things in the Handshake space feels like a good investment to me, if you believe in what Handshake will become.

The second thing I’ve become a lot more bullish on is the HNS token itself. Heck, over the last month it has doubled in value. If you put $10,000 into Handshake domains a month ago, my guess is, you’ll be waiting a long time to double your money on those names, if you bought the token you could sell today and take the $20k.

Handshake token price

So while I’m still a big believer in Handshake I think I’ll be focusing my investment dollars on companies in the space and the token itself. I think that’s probably where the most opportunity will be.

Do I think people will make money selling Handshake domains? Absolutely! There are people with pretty stellar portfolios that will make great money, and I also think people will get lucky, and like lottery tickets, even people who buy late in the game can make some good flips. That being said, I think if Handshake domains really take off, the token will too and having that combo of growth and liquidity will beat trying to sell off individual names IMO.

Well that’s my two cents, what do you think?

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A couple of weeks ago I created my very first piece of NFT art and wrote about it in this article on my blog. I’ll be the first to admit, I know very little about NFTs but I’m enjoying the learning process and really having fun dipping my toes into the art world.

I’ve never considered myself an artist, but I do enjoy taking photos and have played around with Photoshop enough to put some concepts together. My first NFT art project was a photo I took of El Capitan in Yosemite while I was snow backpacking there last year.

So…I listed my art on OpenSea.io and didn’t really set any expectations, in fact I set the initial price at under $100. Well, this morning I woke up to quite a surprise – my art had sold for 15ETH which comes out to $29,620 at today’s Ethereum price 🤯

Morgan Linton NFT April Fool's

I had to do a double-take when I first saw this and I’ve been scratching my head all day trying to figure out who the heck bought this. To verify I logged into my MetaMask account and yes, verified – 15ETH had been transferred in.

My thinking is that since this is my first collection, and I minted this as 1/1, and Yosemite is a beautiful place that a lot of people identify this, this must have struck a chord with someone.

I’ve been really impressed with the entire end-to-end experience here from creating the art to putting it on OpenSea to selling it. I’m definitely inspired and can’t wait to create more NFT art, it’s safe to say I really have the bug now!

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NFT

Okay, let’s be honest, if you read this article headline ten years ago you would have absolutely no idea what I was talking about. But it’s 2021 and NFTs are all the rage and Uni (formerly known as Uniregistry and now owned by Go Daddy) is making history selling off 23 of their new gTLDs with their corresponding NFTs.

Oh and they’re doing holding “no reserve” auctions. Here’s the skinny:

As the exclusive operator of 25 ICANN-accredited domain extensions, including .LINK and .GAME, UNR holds the NFTs that control their namespaces in the Ethereum Name Service (“ENS”) on the Ethereum blockchain. UNR’s Top Level Domains are the first to be turned into ERC-721 NFTs on Ethereum.

23 of these Top Level Domains and their corresponding NFTs will be sold together in no-reserve public auctions on April 28, 2021. The deadline to sign up has been extended to April 9 via UNR’s portal https://auction.link.

(Source – PRNewsWire)

Personally, I think this is a pretty brilliant move. And I know what you’re thinking, “Morgan you’re crazy, the NFT of the new gTLD is worth absolutely nothing, have you lost your mind!?!?”

Okay, first calm down, we’re just talking about domains, and second I think Uni has been planning on trying to part with these extensions either way, so getting them involved in the NFT buzz is likely to only bring more eyeballs. More eyeballs means a better chance of selling, and selling for more money.

I’ve known Shayan Rostam for years, he’s a sharp guy and IMO one heck of a marketer. Here’s his two cents on the move:

“UNR is opening the scarce asset class of Top Level Domains to the public, which brings existing cash flow and numerous new monetization models to future owners, including control of the NFTs on the blockchain,” said Shayan Rostam, Chief Growth Officer of UNR. “We are on the cutting edge; it’s unlikely that these assets will ever take part in an event of this magnitude again.”

(Source – Shayan Rostam, Chief Growth Officer, Uni)

My favorite new gTLD that’s going to auction, with it’s NFT, is .GAME. I really like this one and actually already spend quite a bit of time visiting one particular .GAME site, Sandbox.game.

Well played Uni, I think this is an interesting move and while I know some of my readers will probably poo poo the NFT side of this, I like it 🙋

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As I’m learning more and more about Handshake domains and getting to connect more with the community I’ve come across an interesting investment thesis, that I’ll be honest, makes no sense to me. You can probably guess by the title of this post – that thesis is that in a world where Handshake takes off and the general public knows and loves Handshake domains, emoji domains will be popular.

So…I don’t get it. First things first, I’m not saying this couldn’t happen, sure it could, just about anything can happen when it comes to how the Internet will grow and develop over time. That being said, I just don’t think people are going to be navigating to something.🐶 if they’re looking for things related to dogs or something.🍷 if wine is more up their alley. Or something .🐶🍷 if taking their dog wine tasting…okay – you get the point.

Currently there’s an interesting thread about this on Namer News where people are voting on the best emoji Handshake domain.

Best Handshake Emoji Domain

Note, this was just posted four hours ago so it might take some time for everyone to share their names, but like I said above, I don’t get it. I can understand why Handshake domains like c/ are popular, I also think handshake names like /web might also have some legs.

But the emojis don’t make any sense to me, but maybe I’m missing something that other people see. What do you think?

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