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.

More Information


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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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2020-12-09 I will present at the webinar “Next Generation Internet projects’ contribution to technological developments of DNS and naming systems” hosted by NLnet Foundation.

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2020-12-05 Now that Namecoin Core’s name_list GUI is merged to master branch (it’ll be in the v22.0 release!), it’s time to move on to renewing names. As with the name_list GUI, I’m trying to follow the principles of (1) keeping PR’s small, and (2) keeping all the interesting logic in the RPC method rather than the GUI.

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2020-12-04 Namecoin Core will, starting version 0.21, no longer require for a value to be provided in the name_update and name_firstupdate RPC calls. If no value is provided, Namecoin Core will use the last known such. If none exists, the empty string will be used. This change has no adverse impact on existing workflows, since it only makes previously required parameters optional. However, it does make it easier to update names. If no change in the value is desired, users will be able to directly issue an update for the name, without having to interrogate the present value with name_show. This simplifies a common workflow.

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2020-10-21 Namecoin would like for Tor Browser to support .bit domains. The only mature, lightweight way to do this is to use the wallet qua name resolver Electrum-NMC. It is written in Python. To run Python software, you need an interpreter, like CPython.

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2020-10-09 As you no doubt remember from 36C3, the GNU/Linux version of Tor Browser Nightly comes with Namecoin support included. While we’ve received significant test feedback (overwhelmingly positive), it’s been pointed out that supporting Windows would enable additional test feedback, since not everyone has a GNU/Linux machine to test things on. So, I’ve been porting the Namecoin support in Tor Browser Nightly to Windows.

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2020-08-23 Namecoin Core’s name management GUI has always been a bit neglected. While we do have a GUI that works reasonably well, it’s been stuck in an old branch that is nontrivial to forward-port. The main reason that it’s been hard to maintain is that it depends on internal API’s that often get refactored, which breaks the GUI unless someone volunteers to constantly test the GUI whenever upstream refactors get merged (which is not a great use of anyone’s time). GUI code is also hard to test on Travis CI compared to CLI-accessible code, which compounds the problem.

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2020-08-22 Namecoin Core will, starting version 0.21, change the default behavior of the name_show RPC API call in the presence of certain errors to better match the documentation, the behavior of Electrum-NMC, and the behavior expected by users.

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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.