A large number of unofficial social media accounts have been making false claims about Namecoin. While we wish to encourage a healthy community and decentralization, we take user safety very seriously. Content posted through these accounts may pose a threat to average users, and the Namecoin development team has established official social media accounts in an attempt to help protect users.

The most serious issue, by far, has been claims about Namecoin being anonymous. We know that if a product is advertised as anonymous, it will be used in high-risk situations. If the product turns out to not actually be anonymous it can end up killing its users.

There are a large number of unofficial accounts [1] that have actively posted claims about anonymity to Facebook and Twitter groups related to WikiLeaks, Anonymous, Whistleblowing, Occupy, and Tor. The Namecoin client has not been audited (even a little bit) for security over Tor, and a recent proxy leak issue was fixed in Namecoin-Qt after these postings occurred. If someone living under an oppressive regime had tried to use our software in conjunction with Tor, that proxy leak could have gotten them arrested, tortured, or killed as a result.

Namecoin transactions, including domain name purchases, are not anonymous. Namecoin, being based on the Nakamoto blockchain used in Bitcoin, inherently leaks large amounts of information about its users’ identity. In one early example, researchers Reid and Harrigan were able to trace stolen Bitcoins to a bank account where the funds were deposited, despite the thief using sophisticated attempts to anonymize the funds. In a later example, researchers Meiklejohn et. al successfully identified the cluster of most WikiLeaks donations, even for donors who utilized single-use addresses. As the graph theory and data mining experts take over from the cryptography experts, and as the financial incentive for targeted advertising increases, these attacks will only get more effective.

We have asked the owner(s) of these accounts to stop posting false assertions about Namecoin on multiple occasions. They have consistently disregarded our requests, sometimes claiming that it’s “just marketing” and that we “are not very good marketers.” After two of our developers criticized this behavior on the forum, they were banned from one Facebook group for “trying to make trouble”.

This reckless “marketing trumps accuracy” attitude is dangerous for Namecoin’s users and harmful to Namecoin’s and our professional reputations. We recognize the importance of anonymity and are working towards a client specifically designed to be used with Tor as well as adopting methods from ZeroCash for anonymously purchasing records (such as ‘.bit’ domains and ‘id/’ identities) on Namecoin [2].

At Namecoin, we try hard to avoid unnecessary drama and focus on development. We really wish we could trust these unofficial accounts to represent us on social media platforms, but they have unapologetically put Namecoin users at risk. We would like to welcome everyone to migrate from the unofficial accounts to the official ones listed below. We will delegate posting rights to community members that demonstrate competency and a respect for user safety.

[Jeremy edit 2017 05 10: social media accounts are now listed in the footer of every page on Namecoin.org.]

Stay safe,

- The Namecoin Development Team

[1] We won’t be linking to these accounts, since we don’t want to boost their PageRank. However, they are unfortunately very easy to find on the various social networks.

[2] Ironically, the owner of the social media accounts has cited development discussions regarding these features as evidence that his claims of anonymity are correct.