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.
Namecoin Receives 30k EUR in Additional Funding from NLnet Foundation’s Internet Hardening Fund and Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
2022-03-07 We’re happy to announce that Namecoin is receiving 30,000 EUR (roughly 33,306 USD) in additional funding from NLnet Foundation’s Internet Hardening Fund. If you’re unfamiliar with NLnet, you might want to read about NLnet Foundation, or just take a look at the projects they’ve funded over the years (you might see some familiar names). The Internet Hardening Fund is managed by NLnet and funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Unlike our already-active funding from NLnet’s NGI0 Discovery Fund, which is focused on Namecoin Core and Electrum-NMC, this new funding is focused on TLS use cases.
The Namecoin Lab Leak (Part 2): How p11trustmod Vaccinates Against the Unmaintainable Code Omicron Variant
2022-02-26 In a previous post, I covered how splitting off p11mod from ncp11 improved code readability and auditability by using a higher-level API. Jacob Hoffman-Andrews’s p11 API is certainly more high-level than Miek Gieben’s pkcs11 API, but I wasn’t satisfied. Consider that most PKCS#11 usage in the wild involves encryption or signature algorithms that operate on public or private keys. In contrast, PKCS#11 modules like Mozilla CKBI or Namecoin ncp11 are strictly using the PKCS#11 API as a read-only database API, and only for X.509 certificates  – public and private keys are nowhere to be found. Given these limits on what usage Namecoin will need, we can construct a much higher-level (and much simpler) API than even the p11 API.
2022-02-18 Forgetting to renew a Namecoin name on time is rather catastrophic: it means that anyone else can re-register it and then hold the name hostage. In practice today, it is likely that such re-registrations will be done by Good Samaritan volunteers who are happy to donate the name back to you. However, as per the cypherpunk philosophy of “don’t trust, verify”, it’s not desirable to rely on those Good Samaritans, since they constitute a trusted third party. How can we improve this situation?
2022-01-29 Any P2P network has to deal with initial peer discovery. Bitcoin and Namecoin mostly solve this via DNS seeds: special domain names that return a large number of IP addresses corresponding to Bitcoin/Namecoin nodes. If you’ve used Namecoin Core, you’ve probably encountered the dreaded “no peers” symptom. This is because, unfortunately, the primary DNS seeder implementation used by Bitcoin (by Pieter Wuille) is neither Freedom Software (it’s under an All Rights Reserved license, so Namecoin cannot legally use it) nor memory-safe (it’s in C++). To help improve Namecoin peer discovery (and maybe Bitcoin too), I’ve submitted the following improvements to Lyndsay Roger’s Go-based DNS seeder (which is both Freedom Software and memory-safe):
2022-01-27 In a previous post, I covered p11mod and how it improves the auditability of Namecoin’s TLS interoperability with NSS and GnuTLS. Recently, I’ve expanded the subset of the PKCS#11 implementation that p11mod covers; p11mod can now:
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.
Official anouncements will also be made on this BitcoinTalk thread.
Help keep us strong. You can donate to the Namecoin project here.