Namecoin is a protocol based upon the bitcoin protocol but developed for the specific purpose of providing a decentralized DNS and identity system. Namecoin is merge-mined with bitcoin and as such shares its mining properties. Namecoin is most notable for its .bit top level distributed domain system.


Unique Technologies and Attributes

Namecoin is a fairly unique protocol in it’s creation of a decentralized DNS and identity system.  This top level domain – .bit, while not officially recognized by ICANN is still accessible via a plugin from freedspeechme or via the OpenNIC DNS servers.  Domains are registered via a network transaction, and must be updated to stay valid every 200-250 days.  The specifics of this registration mechanism are discussed in more detail under <transaction fees>.

Namecoin also supports an ID system that allows users to register a unique ID much in the same way that they would a domain.  There few examples of this being implemented, including NameID a decentralized online identity system that uses Namecoin’s ID protocol.


Namecoin is merge-mined with Bitcoin and as such shares its mining characteristics, although both blockchains are independent. Right now it is estimated that about half of Bitcoin miners also mine Namecoin.

Transaction Fees

In Namecoin, names can be registered and updated. When a name is first registered the .01 NMC fee is destroyed in order to prevent miners from being able to register domains outside of the intended fee structure.  There is also a transaction fee of .005 NMC that is passed along to the miners, just as in Bitcoin.

Names expire after 36,000 blocks (between 200 – 250 days), and an update must be issued before the the last block. There is typically no fee for this update as long as it is not early on in the life of the domain registration period.


Namecoin was originally launched as an independent proof-of-work network via a post on Bitcointalk by Vinced on April 18, 2011.

Community / Founders

Namecoin was originally proposed during an IRC talk in 2010 which inspired a follow up discussion on Bitcointalk around a “Bitdns” system. This thread attracted the attention of both Gavin Anderson and Satoshi Nakamoto who participated in and encouraged the discussion and development.

Namecoin itself was first introduced on April 18, 2011 by Vinced.

Newsworthy Events

Namecoin moved to a merged-mining protocol with Bitcoin.