What is Namecoin?
Cwith the output of BitcoinMany people saw that the world was facing a technology that could revolutionize everything. The ability to create completely decentralized, secure and non-objectionable systems opened up the possibility for unique creations. All of them interconnecting and opening services to users around the world in a secure way.
As a result of this, Namecoin was born in April 2011. A project derived from Bitcoin that had a goal beyond creating another cryptocurrency. Namecoin was devised for the purpose of creating un domain name service (DNS) based on blockchain. The result of the project was a complete success. This led to the publication of the source code and its subsequent improvement and evolution. What has allowed Namecoin to have an active community. It has also shown that blockchain technology has the ability to handle different use cases and evolve beyond economic systems.
One of its main developers today is Daniel kraft. Kraft is in charge of maintaining the Namecoin Core along with the development of the utility of sovereign identity, NameID.
After Bitcoin's departure in 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto y Gavin Andresen They proposed to transform Bitcoin into an effective domain name service or DNS. This proposal was originally called BitDNS. With it they seek to create a completely decentralized and secure DNS system.
In order to understand a little more the impact of what Nakamoto and Andresen proposed, we must know a little more about DNS.
DNS servers, They are responsible for all the infrastructure that facilitates access to Internet resources.. These function as a kind of phone book relating the IP addresses of the servers, with an easy to remember name. In this way, to access a website, for example Facebook, you just have to enter your address (facebook.com) and not your IP address (220.127.116.11). This makes Internet use easier for users around the world. Nevertheless, These servers work centrally, making them susceptible to censorship, espionage or other computer attacks.. In fact, it is the simplest way used by governments to censor or spy on citizens.
Faced with this fact, the decentralized structure proposed in BitDNS radically changed this situation. BitDNS ensured that no government or person could censor or attack this service. This translated into an improvement in the quality of the service, providing security and privacy.
The first proposal
The first proposal for the construction of this system came from the user appamatto from the Bitcointalk forum. His first speech talking about a decentralized DNS system was God on November 15, 2010. Back then, appamatto laid the first real theoretical foundations for this new system. At that point, his idea mainly wanted to address the problem of "authority" or centralized control.
Among the initial ideas of appamatto stand out:
- Each block had a payload that was related to the domain name. In this way, once a domain was created, it was protected in a block and it was impossible to manipulate it.
- Duplication of names in the string was not allowed. This prevented spam attacks, but also manipulations to the routing system, eliminating the possibility of making phishing attacks.
- There is a clear separation between domain data and the operation of applications. In this way, a transparent system of use is created as it exists in the current DNS infrastructure.
- The miners made a profit, not only by mining but also by creating domains that they could sell at a good price.
The Namecoin announcement
After the presentation of the appamatto theories, the user kira, started a reward program for the development of BitDNS. In the program, managed to raise over 3500 BTC for the realization of this system (about $ 7000 USD at that time).
What was not known to the community is that the work was already underway. Thanks to this, on April 18, 2011, the user come announced the launch of Namecoin. This announcement took the crypto community by surprise, as no one had responded positively to the reward program. In fact, vinced himself stated that he was willing to request it if the community agreed to review and test Namecoin's functionality.
Since then, Namecoin has evolved as a project allowing to build a completely decentralized identity and domain name system.
Technically Namecoin is a Bitcoin clone in every way. For example, Namecoin uses the consensus protocol of Proof of Work (PoW) next to the algorithm SHA-256 in your mining. At this point, Bitcoin miners can also mine Namecoin, using a feature called joint mining.
Regarding the limitation of currency issuance, Namecoin also complies with the limit of 21 million, which has the Bitcoin. In addition, Namecoin also uses the same network synchronization and message sending system. At this point we can say that Namecoin and Bitcoin are two drops of water technically speaking.
However, this is where its similarities come from, as Namecoin has its own blockchain and cryptocurrency, Namecoin. This is so, because Namecoin implements a series of fields in its blocks that are not entirely compatible with the Bitcoin blockchain. This was the reason why the system was not applied directly on the Bitcoin blockchain as Nakamoto and Andresen suggested.
These new fields are those dedicated to storing the information of the domains and identities protected in Namecoin. Allowing you to provide a decentralized DNS infrastructure that escapes the possibilities of Bitcoin and many other options such as OpenNIC o EmerDNS.
As we have already mentioned the functionalities of Namecoin are: providing a decentralized DNS system and managing cryptographically secure identities. To understand both functions, we will explain each of them and give some simple examples:
DNS over Namecoin
This is the main functionality of Namecoin and the origin of its birth as a project. The reasons for creating a decentralized DNS system of these characteristics are:
- Avoid censorship by Internet providers, companies or governments.
- Threats like phishing, DNS swapping, or DNS poisoning can be avoided with this system.
- Create a decentralized structure controlled by its users to register new domains in a simple, fast and economic way. This seeks to create a decentralized and secure structure that can be complemented with services such as TOR or I2P.
To achieve all these points, Namecoin's DNS operation is very simple and secure. Users can register the domain name they want, as long as it is not in use. To these domain names, the termination is assigned .bit. These records have the entire data structure of a normal DNS domain, with the added bonus that a cryptographic identity is created for that domain. This unique brand serves to differentiate the different registered domains and avoids duplications.
Once the domain is created, it is transmitted to the entire network so that its location is decentralized. In this way, it is ensured that the domain will always be available on the network, regardless of blockages or applied censorship.
So that users can use these DNS, just point to proxy services or have a Namecoin client node to search for successfully registered domains.
Sovereign Identity over Namecoin
This is a recent Namecoin project and is still under development. It takes advantage of Namecoin's ability to manage domain names (which are digital identities) to create a simple functionality sovereign identity system. To understand a little more about this Namecoin functionality, we must know what sovereign identity is. Sovereign identity, It is a form of digital identity in which the user has full control of their data and how they share it with third parties.
To achieve this, its developers created a new type of record to store identities. These records can safely store data such as user name, nickname, public keys for GPG o PGP, direction of Bitmessage or other OTR services, among other things in their value field. In this way, the user who has created an identity should only share their nickname to give others access to said data in a secure way.
However, this is the simplest identity system utility that Namecoin can deploy. In order to test its flexibility, the developers created NameID, a project to unite the identities of Namecoin with the identities of OpenID. OpenID, is a federated identification service widely used today on the Internet.
With NameID, the developers wanted to create, the first sovereign identification system to access web services, without the need to log in using a username and password. Just use the Namecoin crypto identity to access the service. This scheme adds a higher level of security than that provided by the username and password pair that we are used to using in these services.
How to register DNS domains in Namecoin?
To register DNS domains in Namecoin, users have two options:
- Create a full Namecoin node and mine to pay the registration fees. This is the most expensive option of all, since mining Namecoin is expensive due to its high difficulty, requiring equipment ASIC to perform it
- Use Namecoin domain registration web services. These services guarantee the registration and management of your domain names. It is the cheapest and easiest option to use for people who are only concerned with registering their domain. Among these services are Peername y Blockchain-DNS.