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

2018-10-21 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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2018-10-04 Block number 420000 (hash 145f72ea59018ca4117015e3c25a2ed24e22e67c948841dd46a200db11d778be) was mined at 2018-10-04 01:10:19 +0000 by Slush Pool with a block reward of 12.5 NMC plus fees. From all of us at Namecoin, Happy Halving Day, everyone!

2018-10-04 I previously wrote about some work on making Electrum-NMC handle name scripts. In the last few days I hacked on that code some more.

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2018-09-27 Previously, I covered cross-compiling NSS certutil for Windows via Tor’s rbm build scripts. Since I like to be a good neighbor, I’ve since reached out to the very nice people at Tor, and have submitted a patch to get this merged upstream. I’ve already received a Concept ACK, although they cautioned me that they’re quite busy with other Tor Browser things at the moment and it may take a while for them to review my patch. The Tor people requested that I consider adding macOS support as well; I’ve done so and that patch is also submitted to Tor for review.

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2018-09-24 Readers who have followed Namecoin for a while know that I’ve been sharply critical of centralized inproxies since I joined Namecoin development in 2013. For readers who are unfamiliar with the concept, a centralized inproxy is a piece of infrastructure (run by a trusted third party) that allows users who aren’t part of a P2P network to access resources that are hosted inside that P2P network. You can think of it as analogous to a web wallet in the Bitcoin world, except that whereas web wallets are for people who own .bit websites, centralized inproxies are for people who view .bit websites. Centralized inproxies introduce security problems that are likely to be obvious to anyone familiar with the history of Bitcoin web wallets (I’m among the people who were around when MyBitcoin existed but refused to use it; we were proven right when MyBitcoin exit-scammed).

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2018-09-22 Namecoin Core 0.16.3 has been released on the Downloads page.

2018-09-21 We’ve released ConsensusJ-Namecoin v0.3.1. Here’s what’s new:

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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.