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Original Namecoin Logo.png
Date of introduction18 April 2011; 1st fork of Bitcoin[1][2][3][4]
Production21 million Namecoins are released as a geometric series, every 4 years the rate is halved.[5]
 SourceNamecoin Statistics
10−3mNMC (Milli Namecoin)
10−6μNMC (Micro Namecoin)
10−9nNMC (Nano Namecoin)
Symbol, NMC

Namecoin (Symbol: or NMC) is a cryptocurrency and the first fork of the Bitcoin software.[1][3][2][4] It is based on the code of Bitcoin, it uses the same proof-of-work algorithm and is limited to 21 million coins.[6]

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.[7] Due to possible difficulty of scaling with this approach[8] a shared proof-of-work system was proposed to secure new cryptocurrencies with different use cases.[9]

Namecoin's flagship use-case is the censorship resistant top level domain .bit, which is functionally similar to .com or .net domains but independent of ICANN, the main governing body for domain names.[10]

Namecoin Records

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.[11]

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.[12]


Proposed potential uses for Namecoin besides domain name registration include:


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.[22][23][24] A reward for implementing BitDNS was announced at the Bitcoin Forum in December 2010.[25] The main developer Vincent Durham (vinced) decided to implement this idea to earn this reward.[25][26] 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.[27] WikiLeaks mentioned the project via Twitter in June 2011.[28]

Two years later, in October 2013, Michael Gronager, main developer of libcoin,[29] 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).[30][31] 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.[32] 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.[33][34] 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.[35]

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.[36]

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Isgur, Ben (2014-07-16). "A Little Altcoin Sanity: Namecoin". CoinReport.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Namecoin – Next Generation Domain Name System". CoinJoint. 2014-06-05.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Buterin, Vitalik (2013-10-26). "Bitcoin in Israel, Part 3: Interview on Alternative Currencies". Bitcoin Magazine.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Brokaw, Alex (2014-08-23). "Crypto 2.0 Roundup: Bitcoin's Revolution Moves Beyond Currency". Coindesk.
  5. Gilson, David (2013-06-18). "What are Namecoins and .bit domains?". CoinDesk.
  6. Loibl, Andreas (2014-08-01). "Namecoin" (PDF).
  7. appamatto (2010-10-15). "BitDNS and Generalizing Bitcoin". BitcoinTalk.
  8. Nakamoto, Satoshi (2010-12-10). "Re: BitDNS and Generalizing Bitcoin". Bitcoin Talk.
  9. Nakamoto, Satoshi (2010-12-09). "Re: BitDNS and Generalizing Bitcoin". BitcoinTalk.
  10. Dourado, Eli (2014-02-05). "Can Namecoin Obsolete ICANN (and More)?". Theumlaut.
  11. "Namecoin DNS specification".
  12. "Namecoin FAQ".
  13. "Namespace:Identity". Dot-Bit.
  14. "Messaging System]". Dot-Bit.
  15. Namecoin block explorer, Archived here
  16. "Personal Namespace". Dot-Bit.
  17. Kirk, Jeremy (2013-05-24). "Could the Bitcoin network be used as an ultrasecure notary service?". Techworld.
  18., Archived page
  19., Archived page
  20. Phelix. "Coming up: Namecoin Stock Control". Namecoin forum. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  21. Phelix (2014-01-12). "ANTPY - Atomic Name Trading". Namecoin Forum.
  22. appamatto (2010-10-15). "BitDNS and Generalizing Bitcoin". Bitcoin Forum.
  23. IRC (2010-10-14). "IRC discussion about BitDNS 1/2".
  24. IRC (2010-10-15). "IRC discussion about BitDNS 2/2".
  25. 25.0 25.1 kiba (2010-04-12). "BitDNS Bounty (3500 BTC)". Bitcoin Forum.
  26. "vinced/namecoin". GitHub. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  27. vinced (2011-04-18). "[announce] Namecoin - a distributed naming system based on Bitcoin". Bitcoin Forum.
  28. "Twitter / wikileaks: Namecoin and Bitcoin will be ..." WikiLeaks, via Twitter. 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  29. "libcoin/libcoin". GitHub. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  30. Gilson, David (2013-10-28). "Developers attempt to resurrect Namecoin after fundamental flaw discovered". CoinDesk.
  31. libcoin (2011-04-18). "Namecoin was stillborn, I had to switch off life-support". Bitcoin Forum.
  32. Reyes, Ferdinand (2014-02-13). "FreeSpeechMe: The new anti-censorship and secure domain resolving Namecoin-based plug-in". Bitcoin Magazine.
  33. "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Identifier Technology Innovation - Draft Report" (PDF). ICANN. 2014-02-21.
  34. Hofman, Adam (2014-03-19). "Bitcoin and Namecoin Appear in Draft ICANN Report – U.S. Plans to Relinquish Remaining Control of Internet". Bitcoin Magazine.
  35. Rizzo, Pete (2014-03-27). "How OneName Makes Bitcoin Payments as Simple as Facebook Sharing". CoinDesk.
  36. Cawrey, Daniel (2014-05-15). "How Monegraph Uses the Block Chain to Verify Digital Assets". CoinDesk.