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.
2021-11-14 Good news: upstream btcd has merged the last outstanding patch that Namecoin was applying for our usage of btcd’s JSON-RPC client in ncdns. This means that Namecoin’s fork of btcd will be discontinued, and as of the next btcd release (v0.22.1), ncdns will switch to using an unpatched upstream btcd. Using unpatched upstream btcd will decrease our maintenance effort and improve code quality.
2021-09-25 We’ve released ncdns v0.2.2. This release contains multiple bugfixes, in particular a patch to
generate_nmc_cert that works around a CryptoAPI connectivity bug. We strongly recommend that all users upgrade. All domain owners who have TLS enabled will need to re-generate their TLS certificates and TLS records after upgrading.
2021-09-14 Now that the Manage Names tab in Namecoin-Qt (which lets you update existing names in your wallet) is implemented, it’s time to move onto the Buy Names tab. Like the Name Update GUI, this forward-port was pretty uneventful, so rather than boring you with details, here’s a screenshot:
2021-08-23 I’ve been improving the UX of decorations applied to transactions in Namecoin-Qt. For comparison, here’s what it looked like before the improvements:
2021-07-10 Every now and then, some mad scientists will get foreign government funding, routed through an intermediary NGO, to create something in their lab, with the expectation that their creation will stay in the lab – and then it escapes, potentially wreaking havoc. Oops. This is what happened to Namecoin in the months surrounding 35C3.
2021-07-05 When debugging TLS handshakes, it’s incredibly helpful to have a CLI tool that acts as a simple TLS client. For OpenSSL (the TLS library used by Python,
curl, and various other GNU/Linux things), the relevant tool is
openssl s_client. For GnuTLS (the TLS library used by GNOME Web,
wget, and various other GNU/Linux things), it’s
gnutls-cli. But did you know that there’s an analogous tool for NSS (the TLS library used by Firefox and the GNU/Linux version of Chromium)? If you didn’t know this, you can be easily forgiven – the Mozilla NSS documentation doesn’t mention that it exists, and there are almost no web search results for it! Yet it’s there.
2021-06-28 We’ve released ncdns v0.2. This release adds layer-2 TLS via Encaya, and overhauls the build system.
2021-06-09 rbm (Reproducible Build Manager) is a quite nice system for reproducible builds. rbm was originally created by Nicolas Vigier from the Tor Browser Team as a replacement for Gitian (which was previously used by Tor Browser and is still used by Bitcoin Core). rbm has since been adopted by other projects like Ricochet and Namecoin (in particular, we use rbm for building ncdns). Recently, I’ve been doing some mad science experiments with running rbm on Cirrus CI infrastructure.
2021-06-01 Lately, work aiming to simplify the RPC API for name management has been proceeding. This is done both for the sake of improvement itself, and to make it easier to write GUIs for Namecoin.
2021-05-26 Namecoin Core will, starting version 22.0, no longer require that a salt or TXID be provided in the
name_firstupdate RPC call. If no transaction ID is provided, the wallet will perform a linear scan over its unspent outputs to attempt to find a matching transaction. If no salt is provided, it will assume that it can be deterministically generated from the private key using the same scheme already implemented in Electrum-NMC.
Official anouncements will also be made on this BitcoinTalk thread.
Help keep us strong. You can donate to the Namecoin project here.