Namecoin is an experimental open-source technology which improves decentralization, security, censorship resistance, privacy, and speed of certain components of the Internet infrastructure such as DNS and identities.
(For the technically minded, Namecoin is a key/value pair registration and transfer system based on the Bitcoin technology.)
Bitcoin frees money – Namecoin frees DNS, identities, and other technologies.
What can Namecoin be used for?
- Protect free-speech rights online by making the web more resistant to censorship.
- Attach identity information such as GPG and OTR keys and email, Bitcoin, and Bitmessage addresses to an identity of your choice.
- Human-meaningful Tor .onion domains.
- Decentralized TLS (HTTPS) certificate validation, backed by blockchain consensus.
- Access websites using the .bit top-level domain.
- Proposed ideas such as file signatures, voting, bonds/stocks/shares, web of trust, notary services, and proof of existence. (To be implemented.)
What does Namecoin do under the hood?
- Securely record and transfer arbitrary names (keys).
- Attach a value (data) to the names (up to 520 bytes).
- Transact the digital currency namecoins (NMC).
- Like bitcoins, Namecoin names are difficult to censor or seize.
- Lookups do not generate network traffic (improves privacy).
Namecoin was the first fork of Bitcoin and still is one of the most innovative “altcoins”. It was first to implement merged mining and a decentralized DNS. Namecoin was also the first solution to Zooko’s Triangle, the long-standing problem of producing a naming system that is simultaneously secure, decentralized, and human-meaningful.
2019-02-10 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v188.8.131.52.1. This release includes an important fix for name transactions (both wallet and lookups), and we recommend that all users upgrade. Here’s what’s new since v184.108.40.206:
2019-02-03 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v220.127.116.11. This release includes important security fixes from upstream Electrum, and we recommend that all users upgrade. Here’s what’s new since v3.2.4b1:
2019-02-02 I posted previously about auditing Electrum-NMC’s bandwidth usage. In that post, I mentioned that there were probably optimizations that could be done to reduce the 3.2 MB per 2016 block headers that get downloaded when looking up a name that’s covered by a checkpoint. I’ve now implemented one of them: AuxPoW truncation.
2018-12-22 You might have noticed that we’ve been a bit quiet on this news feed as well as social media for the last month. Not to worry, there’s a reason: same as last year, I (Jeremy Rand) and Jonas Ostman will represent Namecoin at 35C3 (the 35th Chaos Communication Congress) in Leipzig, December 27-30. And this time, our R&D lab has been very busy cooking up some cool stuff for 35C3, which is why we haven’t posted much in the last month.
2018-12-21 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v3.2.4b1. This is a beta release (even more so than the other downloads on the Beta Downloads page); expect a higher risk of bugs than usual. (As one example of a bug due to it being a beta, it doesn’t build for Windows without errors, so this release is for GNU/Linux users only.) Here’s what’s new:
2018-12-07 Upstream ElectrumX has released v1.8.8, which includes name script support. (ElectrumX then subsequently released some other minor revisions, which seem to mostly be bug fixes; the latest release is currently v1.8.12.) If you run a Namecoin ElectrumX server, please consider upgrading to the latest ElectrumX release so that your users will be able to use name scripts.
2018-11-28 I decided to spend some time auditing Electrum-NMC’s bandwidth usage, to see if any optimizations were possible and/or needed. Using the excellent nethogs tool by Arnout Engelen, I determined that Electrum-NMC’s initial syncup downloads 672 MB, which is quite a lot. Clearly some optimizations would be highly welcome.
2018-11-24 One of the main reasons that ConsensusJ-Namecoin is still in the Beta Downloads section of Namecoin.org is that it carries several patches against upstream ConsensusJ that haven’t yet been upstreamed. This presents two resultant issues:
2018-11-09 I (Jeremy Rand) will be a speaker at Internet Governance Forum 2018, November 12 - November 14, in Paris (chartered by the UN and hosted at the UNESCO headquarters). I’ll be speaking on the “DNS enhancements and alternatives for the Future Internet” panel at 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM (local time) on Monday, November 12. Huge thanks to Chiara Petrioli from Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza for inviting me!
Official anouncements will also be made on this BitcoinTalk thread.
Help keep us strong. You can donate to the Namecoin project here.