Welcome to the 36C3 Namecoin / Tor Browser Workshop. We’ll walk you through the steps below, feel free to follow along in this document.


You’ll need a GNU/Linux system to run Namecoin in Tor Browser. Either bare-metal or a VM is fine. Note that Tails, Whonix, and Subgraph OS will probably not work.

Download Tor Browser

If you don’t already have Tor Browser, you’ll need to download and install it. https://www.torproject.org/download/

Download Tor Browser Nightly

Tor Browser Nightly builds are available via an onion service managed by boklm from Tor: http://f4amtbsowhix7rrf.onion/tor-browser-builds/

Proof of authenticity (if you trust public TLS CA’s and DNS): https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/TorBrowser/Hacking#NightlyBuilds

Download and install the latest Tor Browser Nightly release. You want either nightly-linux-i686 or nightly-linux-x86_64 depending on whether your GNU/Linux machine is 32-bit or 64-bit. You want the .tar.xz archive, not the .mar archive.

Run Tor Browser Nightly

Verify that you can visit regular websites in Tor Browser Nightly, e.g. https://www.torproject.org/

Then close Tor Browser Nightly.

Run Tor Browser Nightly with Namecoin enabled

Run Tor Browser Nightly with the environment variable TOR_ENABLE_NAMECOIN=1.

If you don’t know how to set environment variables, there are (at least) 3 ways you can do this (only do 1 of the following):

  1. Persistently enable Namecoin (unless you revert the setting).

    Run the following:

    echo "export TOR_ENABLE_NAMECOIN=1" >> ~/.profile

    Then reboot your machine, and run Tor Browser Nightly as usual. ``

  2. Enable Namecoin for one terminal session.

    Run the following in a terminal:


    You can now start Tor Browser Nightly from that terminal session like this:


  3. Enable Namecoin for one Tor Browser session.

    Start Tor Browser Nightly from a terminal like this:

    TOR_ENABLE_NAMECOIN=1 ./start-tor-browser.desktop

Try some Namecoin onion services

All of the following Namecoin onion services should work in Tor Browser Nightly:

Try viewing the circuit display in Tor Browser while on a Namecoin site. It will show the real .onion domain next to the .bit domain.

You can use either .bit or .bit.onion suffixes. They currently have identical semantics, though .bit might be capable of pointing to IP addresses in the future. .bit domains won’t show up as having a secure origin (.bit.onion correctly is marked as secure); this is a bug in the Namecoin Tor Browser integration that will be fixed later.


  • What do you think?
  • What should we improve on?
  • Let us know your questions, comments, etc.