The proliferation of cryptocurrencies working on decentralized TLDs has spurred a narrative of competition with Namecoin. However, the distance between our communities is small, and the competition is friendly. The free software movement has shown us that multiple approaches strengthen the ecosystem. Competition is not the zero-sum game fundamentalist Chicago-school economists make it out to be.
This blog post is based on a forum thread from September 21st.
The title of this post is a reference to the Internet Explorer and Firefox tradition of sending celebratory cakes for major releases. While the two teams are competitors, this competition has pushed them to create better products. We believe the same is true of cryptocurrencies.
Namecoin developers are in this game to win it, but “winning” is the creation of decentralized, secure, and usable naming systems for the internet. Gaining acceptance with the IETF, building more secure registrars, lightweight clients, usable browser integration, and dynamic domain pricing are just a few challenges facing cryptocurrencies looking to add a decentralized TLD.
From proof-of-work to funding models and governance styles, Namecoin is very different from BitShares, Ethereum, or CounterParty. Sticking to our academic background allows us to build more robust security models and better defend ourselves from political and legal attacks. However, it also means we have to apply for public funding and struggle to build consensus. We believe that this diversity ultimately strengthens the community as a whole.
The bottom line is that we wouldn’t be working on Namecoin if the technology and solutions we are building were not reusable. BitShares has already benefited greatly from our work, borrowing our namespace specifications, adopting our protocols, and more. Building a usable censorship resistant web will require significant blood, sweat, and tears from lots of smart people. We are happy to do our part, and we are looking forward to the contributions that comes from competition and cooperation with the other cryptos.
This post was slightly edited from its original version upon import to Jekyll, to more accurately reflect consensus among the Namecoin development community.