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

2018-07-15 ElectrumX is the server component of Electrum. Unlike the client component, which requires forking to enable altcoins, ElectrumX has altcoin support by default, including Namecoin [1]. ElectrumX already supports the AuxPoW features of Namecoin (which is why only Electrum-NMC needed modifications for that), but name script support required some tweaks to ElectrumX.

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2018-07-12 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v3.2.2. Here’s what’s new:

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2018-07-09 Previously, I covered AuxPoW deserialization in Electrum-NMC. The next steps are on-disk serialization/deserialization, and verifying the deserialized AuxPoW. These are now implemented.

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2018-07-08 Recently, many Namecoin mining pools experienced an outage, causing transaction confirmation to slow down to 2.1 blocks/hour. We’ve fixed the issue, and mining is back to normal. This post summarizes what we know about the outage.

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2018-07-01 Namecoin’s merged mining, which allows miners to simultaneously mine a parent chain (usually Bitcoin) and any number of child chains (e.g. Namecoin and Huntercoin), is made possible by AuxPoW (auxilliary proof of work). AuxPoW is a clever trick (first proposed by Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, and first implemented by Namecoin founder Vincent Durham) that allows a block in the parent chain to commit to a block in any number of child chains, such that the child block can reference the parent block’s PoW and thereby prove that the PoW committed to both the parent and child block. AuxPoW doesn’t impose any changes for the parent chain’s consensus rules, but it does constitute a hardfork for the child chain (even for lightweight SPV clients of the child chain). As a result, making Electrum-NMC validate PoW properly requires patching Electrum to support AuxPoW.

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2018-06-07 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v3.1.3-beta1. This release supports Namecoin currency transactions, but does not yet support AuxPoW or name transactions. This release is based on work by both ahmedbodi and myself.

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2018-05-28 Last year, Ahmed posted about his progress porting Electrum to Namecoin. Electrum-NMC has been on the back burner for me lately, due to the TLS and BitcoinJ efforts taking up most of my time. However, today I found time to inspect Ahmed’s branch.

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2018-05-21 Last episode: When we last left our hero, tlsrestrict_nss_tool had a few unfixed bugs that made it unusable on Windows. Everyone believed those bugs would be the final ones. Were they? And now, the conclusion to our 2-part special:

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2018-05-20 Now that we got NSS certutil reproducibly cross-compiled for Windows, initial testing has begun on tlsrestrict_nss_tool for Windows.

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2018-05-17 In a previous post where I introduced tlsrestrict_nss_tool, I mentioned that NSS’s certutil doesn’t have official binaries for Windows, and that “At some point, we’ll probably need to start cross-compiling NSS ourselves, although I admit I’m not sure I’m going to enjoy that.” Well, we’ve reached that point, and it was an interesting adventure.

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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.