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.
2018-12-07 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!
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.
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:
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!
Official anouncements will also be made on this BitcoinTalk thread.
Help keep us strong. You can donate to the Namecoin project here.