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.
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.
2022-01-07 I recently sent in a patch to Electrum which adds support for Unix domain sockets to the RPC interface. After review by ghost43 and Jeremy Rand, who is also a Namecoin developer, this patch has been merged. As a result, Electrum now has support for Unix domain sockets in the RPC daemon. (Unix domain sockets are not yet supported for other occasionally local network operations, such as for connecting to a SOCKS proxy.)
2021-12-17 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v4.0.0b0. This release includes numerous bugfixes and improvements, both Namecoin-related and from upstream Electrum.
2021-12-06 I implemented a few more Namecoin-Qt features. The Manage Names tab now includes both an Export button and a name counter:
2021-11-14 Good news: upstream btcd has merged the last outstanding patch that Namecoin was applying for our usage of btcd’s JSON-RPC client in ncdns. This means that Namecoin’s fork of btcd will be discontinued, and as of the next btcd release (v0.22.1), ncdns will switch to using an unpatched upstream btcd. Using unpatched upstream btcd will decrease our maintenance effort and improve code quality.
2021-09-25 We’ve released ncdns v0.2.2. This release contains multiple bugfixes, in particular a patch to
generate_nmc_cert that works around a CryptoAPI connectivity bug. We strongly recommend that all users upgrade. All domain owners who have TLS enabled will need to re-generate their TLS certificates and TLS records after upgrading.
2021-09-14 Now that the Manage Names tab in Namecoin-Qt (which lets you update existing names in your wallet) is implemented, it’s time to move onto the Buy Names tab. Like the Name Update GUI, this forward-port was pretty uneventful, so rather than boring you with details, here’s a screenshot:
2021-08-23 I’ve been improving the UX of decorations applied to transactions in Namecoin-Qt. For comparison, here’s what it looked like before the improvements:
2021-07-10 Every now and then, some mad scientists will get foreign government funding, routed through an intermediary NGO, to create something in their lab, with the expectation that their creation will stay in the lab – and then it escapes, potentially wreaking havoc. Oops. This is what happened to Namecoin in the months surrounding 35C3.
2021-07-05 When debugging TLS handshakes, it’s incredibly helpful to have a CLI tool that acts as a simple TLS client. For OpenSSL (the TLS library used by Python,
curl, and various other GNU/Linux things), the relevant tool is
openssl s_client. For GnuTLS (the TLS library used by GNOME Web,
wget, and various other GNU/Linux things), it’s
gnutls-cli. But did you know that there’s an analogous tool for NSS (the TLS library used by Firefox and the GNU/Linux version of Chromium)? If you didn’t know this, you can be easily forgiven – the Mozilla NSS documentation doesn’t mention that it exists, and there are almost no web search results for it! Yet it’s there.
2021-06-28 We’ve released ncdns v0.2. This release adds layer-2 TLS via Encaya, and overhauls the build system.
Official anouncements will also be made on this BitcoinTalk thread.
Help keep us strong. You can donate to the Namecoin project here.