Namecoin does not exactly have a high-profile in the cryptocurrency community. However, it does hold a special part in it. This is because it is supposed to be the basis for a decentralized domain name system (DNS) which could put a stop to Internet censorship. Capped at 21 million tokens, it is not as successful as it bigger brother Bitcoin but it has gained a loyal following among users of altcoins.
Originally conceived in 2010, NameCoin started out as a hypothetical system called BitDNS and generalizing Bitcoin. A lot of interest was put into it and a bounty was posted. By 2011, someone had implemented the basics of NameCoin. This made it one of the first forks of the original Bitcoin protocol. The main idea behind it is that it would assist in decentralizing the domain name system so that an online site would never be shut down or censored.
The Domain Name System is what made the Internet so easy to navigate. Originally, people used IP addresses like 126.96.36.199. Domain names simplified this by letting words replace the numbers. However, all such URLs are dependent on a top-level domain (TLD) like .com, org, and more. Those in control of TLDs can potentially affect whether a website can be viewed or not
What Namecoin does is allow for a decentralised DNS system with TLDs that are not owned by anyone. All of it would be based on a peer-to-peer system. This means that nothing short of seizing the physical servers can stop them from operating. Namecoin’s job is to allow for such a peer-to-peer system to exist.
What to use it for
The NameCoin network can be used for three things: registering a new domain, updating a new domain, and reserving a domain name. All of these cost varying levels of NameCoin. Namecoin.com claims to have registered at least 450 domains. There are around 77,000 registered .bit domains in total and the number is growing. The .bit domain is not exactly standard and will require proxy web servers to be accessed though.
Most people will no need to make create a .bit website or service. However, it does give people an option in the future. With various threats to free speech emerging as new technologies are developed, it is good to have additional options. For people interested in getting Namecoins, the best option for them is to do merged-mining. This means that the Namecoin cryptocurrency is generated as a by-product of normal Bitcoin mining.