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.
2018-03-19 CCC and Chaos West have posted the videos of Namecoin’s 34C3 talks. I’ve also uploaded the corresponding slides.
2018-03-11 Fedora stores its TLS certificates via a highly interesting software package called p11-kit. p11-kit is designed to act as “glue” between various TLS libraries, so that (for example) Firefox, Chromium, and OpenSSL all see the same trust anchors. p11-kit is useful from Namecoin’s perspective, since it means that if we can implement Namecoin support for p11-kit, we get support for all the trust stores that p11-kit supports for free. I’ve just implemented a proof-of-concept of negative Namecoin overrides for p11-kit.
2018-02-20 Firefox stores its list of certificate overrides in a text file. While it’s not feasible to edit this text file while Firefox is running (Firefox only loads it on startup) I’ve experimentally found that it is completely feasible to create positive overrides if you shut off Firefox while the override is being created. But is this a reasonable expectation for Namecoin? Actually yes. Here’s how we’re doing it:
2018-02-18 NSS is the TLS implementation used by various applications, including Chromium on GNU/Linux and Firefox on all platforms. I’ve finished initial support for positive cert overrides in NSS, and have submitted a PR that is now awaiting review.
2018-02-11 Our lightweight SPV client’s
leveldbtxcache mode is the most secure of the various Namecoin lightweight SPV modes. Its storage requirements aren’t too bad either (129.1 MB at the moment for Namecoin mainnet). However, while 129.1 MB of storage isn’t a dealbreaker, it’s still a bit borderline on mobile devices. We can do better.
2018-01-30 Some reports are making the rounds that a new ransomware strain, “GandCrab”, is using Namecoin for C&C. While this may sound interesting, as far as I can tell these reports are missing the real story.
2018-01-03 As was previously announced, Jonas Ostman and I (Jeremy Rand) represented Namecoin at 34C3 in Leipzig, Germany. This was our first Congress, so we didn’t quite know what to expect, but we were pretty confident that it would be awesome. We were not disappointed. The CCC community is well-known for being friendly and welcoming to newcomers, and we greatly enjoyed talking to everyone there.
2017-12-23 Namecoin developers Jeremy Rand and Jonas Ostman will attend 34C3 (the 34th Chaos Communication Congress) in Leipzig, December 27-30. There’s a good chance that the 34C3 Monero Assembly will host some Namecoin talks. We’re looking forward to the congress!
Official anouncements will also be made on this BitcoinTalk thread.
Help keep us strong. You can donate to the Namecoin project here.