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.

More Information

News

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!

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2018-11-02 As was previously announced, I (Jeremy Rand) represented Namecoin at Decentralized Web Summit 2018 in San Francisco.

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2018-11-01 The New York Times published what appears to be a highly interesting scoop on October 20, 2018. The New York Times article alleges that the government behind the State Sponsored Actors attack on circa 40 Twitter users (most of whom, including me, were free software developers and privacy activists) was none other than Saudi Arabia. Those of us who were notified of the attack in 2015 have been trying to find out more ever since, with no luck until now.

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2018-10-31 We’ve released cross_sign_name_constraint_tool v0.0.3 and tlsrestrict_nss_tool v0.0.3. Here’s what’s new:

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2018-10-29 Namecoin’s Chief Scientist Daniel Kraft will be a speaker at Malta Blockchain Summit 2018, October 31 - November 3. Daniel is on the “Permissioned vs Permissionless Blockchains” panel at 9:30-9:50 on November 2.

2018-10-25 A few months ago I wrote about name script support in ElectrumX. Neil from ElectrumX has now merged that code into ElectrumX master branch. I’ve also notified the operator of the public ElectrumX Namecoin instance, so hopefully soon it will be possible to use Electrum-NMC’s name script support with the default public ElectrumX instance. Kudos to Neil for accepting the pull request!

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2018-10-21 Now that Electrum-NMC GUI support for updating names is a thing, it’s time to advance to name registration GUI support.

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2018-10-15 As I mentioned earlier, I submitted some patches to The Tor Project for building NSS certutil binaries for Windows and macOS as part of Tor Browser’s rbm build scripts. I’m happy to report that after a (quite well-justified) delay, and after some (quite reasonable) mild edits were requested and made, the Tor developers have merged my patches.

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2018-10-09 I previously wrote about creating name transactions in the Electrum-NMC console. Next up, adding GUI support.

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2018-10-06 In a previous article, I wrote about the “reading” side of Electrum-NMC’s name script support (i.e. detecting and displaying name transactions in the wallet, and doing name lookups). Obviously, the logical next step is the “writing” side, i.e. creating name transactions.

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Earlier news

For the latest news go to the Namecoin forum or check out r/namecoin.

Official anouncements will also be made on this BitcoinTalk thread.

Help keep us strong. You can donate to the Namecoin project here.

Participate

With Namecoin you can make a difference. We need your help to free information, especially in documentation, marketing, and coding. You are welcome at the forum. There may be bounties, too.