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

2018-08-14 If you’ve used ConsensusJ-Namecoin (our lightweight SPV name lookup client), you’ve probably noticed that we instruct users (on the Download page) to install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package. Failing to do this will result in the LevelDB library failing to load, which ends up causing some incredibly misleading error messages, after which namecoinj-daemon will terminate. Unfortunately, in the Real World™, users don’t reliably follow instructions. (Confession: I’ve failed to follow this instruction when setting up test VM’s before, and took quite a while to figure out what was broken.)

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2018-08-13 cross_sign_name_constraint_tool, as you may remember, is a Namecoin-developed tool that applies name constraints to a certificate authority, without requiring any permission from that CA. It can be used to prevent malicious CA’s from issuing certificates for Namecoin domain names, even if those CA’s are trusted for DNS domain names. cross_sign_name_constraint_tool (or its underlying library) is used by other Namecoin projects, such as tlsrestrict_nss_tool (which integrates cross_sign_name_constraint_tool with the NSS cert store used by Firefox and the GNU/Linux version of Chromium) and ncdns (which will soon make tlsrestrict_nss_tool easy to use on Windows). cross_sign_name_constraint_tool’s official binaries are produced using Go v1.10.x. Recently, I happened to notice a bug in Go v1.9.x (which is fixed in Go v1.10.0 and higher) that causes cross_sign_name_constraint_tool to fail with an error like this:

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2018-08-06 I previously wrote about making ElectrumX (the server) handle name scripts. Now that that’s out of the way, the next step is making Electrum-NMC (the client) handle name scripts as well. I now have Electrum-NMC deserializing name scripts.

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2018-07-23 Namecoin developer Jeremy Rand will attend Decentralized Web Summit 2018 in San Francisco, July 31 - August 2, hosted by the Internet Archive. Namecoin will be at the Science Fair and will give a Lightning Talk (schedule TBA). We’re also open to meetups and hacking sessions independent of the official DWS schedule, so if you’re attending DWS (or if you’re in the SF area) and would like to chat or hack, get in touch with us! We’re looking forward to the Summit!

2018-07-15 ElectrumX is the server component of Electrum. Unlike the client component, which requires forking to enable altcoins, ElectrumX has altcoin support by default, including Namecoin [1]. ElectrumX already supports the AuxPoW features of Namecoin (which is why only Electrum-NMC needed modifications for that), but name script support required some tweaks to ElectrumX.

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2018-07-12 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v3.2.2. Here’s what’s new:

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2018-07-09 Previously, I covered AuxPoW deserialization in Electrum-NMC. The next steps are on-disk serialization/deserialization, and verifying the deserialized AuxPoW. These are now implemented.

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2018-07-08 Recently, many Namecoin mining pools experienced an outage, causing transaction confirmation to slow down to 2.1 blocks/hour. We’ve fixed the issue, and mining is back to normal. This post summarizes what we know about the outage.

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2018-07-01 Namecoin’s merged mining, which allows miners to simultaneously mine a parent chain (usually Bitcoin) and any number of child chains (e.g. Namecoin and Huntercoin), is made possible by AuxPoW (auxilliary proof of work). AuxPoW is a clever trick (first proposed by Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, and first implemented by Namecoin founder Vincent Durham) that allows a block in the parent chain to commit to a block in any number of child chains, such that the child block can reference the parent block’s PoW and thereby prove that the PoW committed to both the parent and child block. AuxPoW doesn’t impose any changes for the parent chain’s consensus rules, but it does constitute a hardfork for the child chain (even for lightweight SPV clients of the child chain). As a result, making Electrum-NMC validate PoW properly requires patching Electrum to support AuxPoW.

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2018-06-07 We’ve released Electrum-NMC v3.1.3-beta1. This release supports Namecoin currency transactions, but does not yet support AuxPoW or name transactions. This release is based on work by both ahmedbodi and myself.

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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.