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1969 there was the ARPANet. The first decentralized network, built of four early computers from US Universities. More and more universities and governments connected to the network. 1973, Europe was connected. To standardize the connections, TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) was introduced in 1977, which finally replaced the ARPANet protocols in 1981. The term “Internet” was born. With RFC 882 in November 1983, Domain Names were introduced. In 1990, the network was finally opened to the general public. On September 30, 1998, ICANN was established, taking control of the Internet and becoming the highest hierarchical authority in the allocation of TLDs (Top Level Domains).

Domain expiration

In order to become independent of ICANN's regulation, Namecoin was created in April 2011 as a Web3 blockchain DNS. Other competitors followed. Questions arise regularly about alternative blockchain DNS projects such as Ethereum domains, Unstoppable domains or Handshake domains​ in comparison to Namecoin. First of all, generally all of these blockchain DNS projects are auction-based systems. Once you have an idea of your preferred domain, you have to share it publicly and compete with everyone from all around the world, and the prices for attractive domains are pushed like on eBay auctions.

Secondly, for instance Unstoppable domains are then registered for an indefinite period of time, Ethereum domains maybe for lifetime (depending on the payment). While this is attractive to a domain owner, the domain expiration of Namecoin domains after 36,000 blocks has a purpose at all. Without domain expiration, domains would be reserved indefinitely, even if they were no longer in use. No one else could ever use them again. That would make the entire blockchain DNS more or less useless within a decade.

Last but not least, accessing these alternative blockchain domains becomes a nightmare when browsing with a popular mobile browser or accessing SSL/TLS-protected websites in HTTPS mode.

Namecoin is a decentralized Domain Name System and crypto currency based on and secured by Bitcoin technology

Accessing expired domains

Discussions are regularly held about whether or not a Namecoin asset still exists after expiration and whether a subsequent re-registration would simply create a copy of the original asset. These arguments, of course, are coming mainly from the Ethereum nameholders who often prefer not to accept the fact that not their Ethereum NFTs, but actually Namecoin NFTs are the oldest assets in the crypto universe. Sim​ply because the Namecoin asset exists forever once it is created.

The name updates are simply updates to the data field of the existing key/value pair - regardless of whether it's a regular update, a name transfer, or a re-registration. The Namecoin asset can be considered as a shelf, while each name update just creates another plank of the rack, which can be easily seen in the history of the name, e.g. simply by using the name_history RPC command of the Namecoin Core wallet. When the Namecoin asset expires, the owner loses control over the asset and it becomes orphaned. Re-registration doesn't create a new asset, but only reassigns control and ownership of the existing asset. The expiration is simply a temporary flag assigned to the asset.

​See here how our browser add-on accesses an expired .bit domain without any issues, the target server redirects to a .us ICANN domain.

Domain trading policy

In a network like Namecoin, where it takes only one Namecoin Cent to create a domain, many domain traders are attracted, making it sometimes difficult to register common domain names. But there is a policy among professional domain traders: grabbing trademark domains is frowned upon and comes with legal problems. If a domain trader has taken a project's domain anyway and is asked to transfer it, he should transfer it for free or at least for a symbolic price of no more than 10 NMC as compensation for his reservation and transfer. It has been shown that professional traders regularly adhere to this policy.

Furthermore, it should be mentioned that may be all kinds of single words, names or brandable domains have been reserved in the d/ namespace, which is associated with the .bit TLD (top-level domain). However, project- or personal websites can use endless individual domain creations that could never all be pre-minted for trading. And with the new browser add-ons shown in action in the video intro, additional namespaces with the TLDs .crypto, .nft and .nmc are introduced. This relieves the .bit namespace and offers much more possibilities for new domain creations.

Namecoin is a decentralized Domain Name System and crypto currency based on and secured by Bitcoin technology