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.
2019-12-12 In November 2017, Brandon posted some WIP code for adding a DNS Builder GUI to Namecoin-Qt. To refresh your memory, it looked like this:
2019-12-09 The documentation for using Namecoin for name lookups with Tor (via ncprop279) includes a warning about stream isolation. Specifically, it states that while TCP connections issued by the application (e.g. Tor Browser) will be stream-isolated as usual, stream isolation will not be applied to whatever network traffic might be induced by the Namecoin lookup. As a result, our documentation recommends against using Electrum-NMC with ncprop279, since Electrum-NMC will produce network traffic on each lookup. Our documentation instead recommends Namecoin Core or ConsensusJ-Namecoin’s leveldbtxcache mode, neither of which produce any network traffic per lookup. However, this situation is non-ideal; Electrum-NMC has some very real advantages, and it’s a shame that we can’t recommend it for this purpose. Can we do better?
2019-11-25 We’ve released DNSSEC-HSTS v0.0.2 for Google Chrome. v0.0.2 is identical to v0.0.1 except for Chrome-related compatibility fixes; we are therefore not releasing v0.0.2 binaries for Firefox.
2019-11-24 As I’ve discussed before, Namecoin is using Tor’s rbm-based build system for our various Go projects, such as ncdns and ncp11, in order to reduce the risk of supply-chain attacks. I’m now looking into building Electrum in rbm as well. Upstream Electrum’s Python tarball binaries aren’t reproducible at all, and their Windows binaries’ reproducible builds are heavily dependent on sketchy dependencies that I’d prefer not to trust. rbm offers a potential solution.
2019-11-14 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v3.3.8. This release includes a large number of improvements, mostly focused on performance (both initial syncup speed and name lookup latency) and anonymity (in particular support for Tor stream isolation). Here’s what’s new since v3.3.7:
2019-11-06 Namecoin will have a table at the Oklahoma City Fall Peace Festival 2019. The festival is Saturday, November 9, 2019, 10 AM - 4 PM, in the Downtown Civic Center Hall of Mirrors. If you happen to be near the Oklahoma City area, feel free to come by and say hello. I might even have some cool demos of upcoming features.
2019-11-05 As I’ve discussed before, Namecoin is using Tor’s rbm-based build system for our various Go projects, such as ncdns and ncp11, in order to reduce the risk of supply-chain attacks. Namecoin’s relevant Git repository, ncdns-repro, is heavily based on a Tor repo, tor-browser-build. As we gained more experience with using rbm, it became more clear that even trivial deviations from upstream tor-browser-build can cause interoperability headaches. So, I’ve been bringing ncdns-repro more in line with tor-browser-build conventions. In particular, two noticeable changes have been made.
2019-10-23 As was discussed in my 35C3 slides, DNSSEC-HSTS is a WebExtension that prevents sslstrip attacks by using DNSSEC. DNSSEC-HSTS is already available for Firefox, but (as a WebExtension) it should be easily portable to Chrome. Not so fast: Chrome has a number of quirks that make this nontrivial.
2019-09-27 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v3.3.7. Here’s what’s new since v184.108.40.206:
2019-08-25 As I’ve discussed before, Namecoin is using Tor’s rbm-based build system for our various Go projects, such as ncdns and ncp11, in order to reduce the risk of supply-chain attacks. Naturally, one of the important ways to test a reproducible build system is to build a binary twice in a row and see if the hashes are the same. If the hashes don’t match, then tools like Diffoscope can be used to figure out what the source of the reproducibility failure is. Now that Namecoin’s usage of rbm is reasonably stable (i.e. working binaries are produced for most of Namecoin’s software now), it’s a good time to look into how reproducible our binaries are.
Official anouncements will also be made on this BitcoinTalk thread.
Help keep us strong. You can donate to the Namecoin project here.