Namecoin (NMC)

Namecoin (NMC) is yet another cryptocurrency based on Bitcoin, but like other alternative virtual currencies, it has some differences. The big thing that makes Namecoin different is that it also acts as a decentralized DNS system. This could help with domain name censorship by forming a top level domain that’s outside of ICANN control – something many people think is a really good thing.

Like Bitcoin, there is a limit of 21 million namecoins that will be created because it uses software that’s very similar to what runs the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network. According to sources online, as of January 2014, 123,616 bit domains were registered around the world – quite an impressive number but still far away from the total number of domains in operation today.

First described as BitDNS back in 2010, it was officially launched on April 18, 2011, although at that time they had no GUI (graphical user interface) for the software. That made it difficult for average everyday people to interact with the system. However, the software has gotten better (more user friendly) and Namecoin is quickly becoming a popular alternative to Bitcoin – especially for those who believe in Internet freedom.

While Namecoin can be used as a currency, it’s main reason for existence is to provide a decentralized DNS system for the Internet that isn’t tied to one organization – like ICANN. Domain names purchased for 0.01 NMC must be updated every 250 days or they expire. Other measures were put in place to stop spammers from abusing the system. Whether or not it will work remains to be seen, but it’s still an interesting alternative to Bitcoin.

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