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.

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2021-04-18 Today, April 18, 2021, marks 10 years since Vincent Durham first released Namecoin. We’d like to wish a very happy birthday to the Namecoin community, and we look forward to the next 10 years (and beyond) of hijacking-resistant, censorship-resistant naming and PKI.

2021-03-11 We’ve released ncdns v0.1.2 for Windows. This release includes a fix for an upstream issue that impacted Windows service support. Binaries for non-Windows platforms are not yet available; we expect to release those soon.

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2021-03-07 Namecoin Core has been released on the Downloads page.

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2021-03-04 The Beta Downloads page now includes Nightly builds of ncdns (both the plain binaries and the Windows installer) and certinject. For the #reckless among you who want to help us test new features or identify bugs before a release, the Nightly builds are a great way to do so.

2021-02-16 Now that Namecoin Core’s Name Renewal GUI is complete (it’s been merged and will be in Namecoin Core v22.0), it’s time to move on to the name_update GUI. This forward-port was pretty uneventful, so rather than boring you with details, here’s a screenshot:

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2021-02-05 We’ve released ncdns v0.1 for Windows. The big new feature is system-wide TLS support on Windows. Now any application that uses Windows for certificate verification (no longer just Chromium) will accept Namecoin TLS certificates, and will reject malicious certificates issued by public CA’s for Namecoin domains. Note that some Windows software, such as Firefox, does not use the Windows certificate verifier, and is therefore not supported by this feature.

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2021-02-02 In my previous post, I introduced improvements to certinject, which allow us to apply a name constraint to all certificates in a Windows certificate store, without needing Administrator privileges. Alas, there is a major issue with using certinject as presented in that post. The issue is that most of the built-in root CA’s in Windows aren’t part of any cert store!

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2021-01-15 In my previous post, I introduced the undocumented Windows feature for external name constraints, which allow us to apply a name constraint without the consent of a CA, and without needing to cross-sign the CA. I mentioned that the Windows utility certutil can be tricked into setting this Property on a certificate using the -repairstore command. Alas, abusing certutil to do this comes with some problems:

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2021-01-14 Name constraints are a little-known gem of a feature in X.509 certificates, which are used for TLS. A name constraint is a certificate extension, applied to a CA’s certificate, that contains a whitelist and/or blacklist of names (e.g. domain names) that the CA can issue certs for. There are 3 main reasons why a CA might want to have a name constraint:

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2021-01-01 I gave a talk on October 31, 2020, at the Grayhat 2020 Monero Village, entitled “Namecoin as a Decentralized Alternative to Certificate Authorities for TLS”. A video recording is below:

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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.


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.