|Date of introduction||18 April 2011; 1st fork of Bitcoin|
|Production||21 million Namecoins are released as a geometric series, every 4 years the rate is halved.|
|Page Template:Nobold/styles.css has no content. Source||Namecoin Statistics|
|Page Template:Nobold/styles.css has no content. 10−3||mNMC (Milli Namecoin)|
|Page Template:Nobold/styles.css has no content. 10−6||μNMC (Micro Namecoin)|
|Page Template:Nobold/styles.css has no content. 10−9||nNMC (Nano Namecoin)|
Namecoin (Symbol: ℕ or NMC) is a cryptocurrency and the first fork of the Bitcoin software. It is based on the code of Bitcoin, it uses the same proof-of-work algorithm and is limited to 21 million coins.
The primary difference from Bitcoin is that Namecoin offers the ability to store data within its blockchain. The original proposal called for inserting data into Bitcoin's blockchain directly. Due to possible difficulty of scaling with this approach a shared proof-of-work system was proposed to secure new cryptocurrencies with different use cases.
Namecoin's flagship use-case is the censorship resistant top level domain
.bit, which is functionally similar to
.net domains but independent of ICANN, the main governing body for domain names.
Each Namecoin record consists of a key and a value which can be up to 520 bytes in size. Each key is actually path, with the namespace preceding the name of the record. The key
d/example signifies a record stored in the DNS namespace
d with the name
example and corresponds to the record for the
example.bit website. The content of
d/example is expected to conform to the DNS namespace specification.
The current fee for a record is 0.01 NMC and they expire after 36000 blocks (~200 days) unless they are updated or renewed. Namecoins used to purchase records are marked as used and destroyed as giving the fee to miners would enable larger miners to register names at a significant discount.
Proposed potential uses for Namecoin besides domain name registration include:
- Identity systems
- Messaging systems
- Personal namespaces
- Notary/timestamp systems
- Alias systems
- Issuance of shares/stocks
In September 2010 a discussion has been started in the Bitcoin forum about a hypothetical system called BitDNS and generalizing Bitcoin, which is based on a talk at IRC at 14 November 2010. Gavin Andresen and Satoshi Nakamoto joined the discussion in the Bitcointalk forum and supported the idea of BitDNS. A reward for implementing BitDNS was announced at the Bitcoin Forum in December 2010. The main developer Vincent Durham (vinced) decided to implement this idea to earn this reward. On April 18th, 2011 Namecoin was introduced by Vincent Durham (vinced) as a multipurpose and distributed naming system based on Bitcoin. It was inspired by the BitDNS discussion in the Bitcoin Forum. WikiLeaks mentioned the project via Twitter in June 2011.
Two years later, in October 2013, Michael Gronager, main developer of libcoin, found a security issue in the Namecoin protocol, which allowed modifying foreign names. It was successfully fixed in a short timeframe and was never exploited (Exception: bitcoin.bit as a proof of existence). In February 2014 FreeSpeechMe was released: a Windows/Linux Firefox plug-in, which allows automatical resolution of .bit addresses by downloading the Namecoin block chain and running it in the background. Besides Namecoin was mentioned by ICANN in a public draft report. Highlighting the future of the Internet not controlled by the US Government, the organization underlines, that an emphasis of distribution of control and privacy has surfaced with Namecoin as the most well known example. One month later, in March 2014, OneName was released - a decentralized identity system built on top of the Namecoin protocol. As an example, OneName can be used for simplified Bitcoin payments.
Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash introduced Monegraph in May 2014 - an innovative system using the Namecoin protocol. Monegraph is used to sign and publish digital graphics, to proof and verify authorship of these assets.
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