[Bitcoin-development] [BIP 15] Aliases

Khalahan khal at dot-bit.org
Fri Dec 16 17:23:36 UTC 2011

Namecoin is a peer-to-peer generic name/value datastore system.
Don't forget it's not limited to .bit usage ! So, directly mapping
things to .bit url would not be the optimal way of using namecoin.

Namecoin is *specificaly designed to map things to names* in a fully
decentralized way. So, it's the perfect starting point to map names to
other things (a public bitcoin address, an url, etc)
You won't have all the advantages of namecoin when using other systems
like DNS and HTTP(S) as the first entry point.

What is namecoin ?

* proven technology :
- do not mix the namecoin technology and the dot-bit namespace with .bit
domains (dot-bit domains needs dot-bit compatible dns servers or proxies
+ namecoin and have a small visibility due to the nature of
top-to-bottom domain name system controlled by ICANN, namecoin needs
only namecoin to store data !)
- as proven and secure as bitcoin
- merged mining provides a secure network

* decentralized :
- a lot of nodes, and you can have your own node
- everybody can register his own name, by itself with the namecoin
software (bitcoin could even allow registration directly from it,
easily) or by using a name provider
- everybody can become a name provider (register for your friends and
resell names).

* no single point of failure :
- DNS and HTTPS have several limitations (Man in the Middle attacks, no
reliable authority of certifications, domain seizure, ...)

* designed for that :
- namecoin uses a system of namespaces to separate each usages :
For example, the "personal namespace" draft
(http://dot-bit.org/Personal_Namespace) could be extended to support
mapping to a bitcoin address, or a dedicated namespace can be used if
prefered (the "bitcoin/" or "alias/" or "map/" prefixes for example).

* easily connectable to bitcoin
- they both use RPC and json to exchange informations, so connecting one
to the other is really easy
- bitcoin could even allow registration of names by sending an RPC
request to namecoin

* extensible and not limited :
- you are not forced to store a bitcoin address directly in namecoin,
you can also store an url or a domain name
- allows additional security : add a certificate fingerprint combined
with an https url (so, using DNS or HTTP(S) is not a major problem
anymore if the first point of entry is really secure and configurable
[and you use and self-signed certificate])
- really easy to update
- simple for simple cases
- possibility to use a nick, an email address or a domain as name
- other methods to get bitcoins addresses can be added later, protocol
is extensible

Examples of possible registered names in namecoin with the "personal
namespace" (with the "p/" prefix) :

* An individual person with well known public addresses :
    "email": "khal at dot-bit.org",
    "bitcoin": "1KHAL8bUjnkMRMg9yd2dNrYnJgZGH8Nj6T",
    "namecoin": "N1KHAL5C1CRzy58NdJwp1tbLze3XrkFxx9"

* Another individual person with well known public addresses :
"p/*khal at dot-bit.org*":
    "bitcoin": "1KHAL8bUjnkMRMg9yd2dNrYnJgZGH8Nj6T",
    "namecoin": "N1KHAL5C1CRzy58NdJwp1tbLze3XrkFxx9"

* A merchant accepting payments in bitcoin, namecoin, paypal or
othercoin (to show you how the whole namespace could be used) :
    "bitcoin": {
        "url": "https://payto.mymerchant.com/bitcoin/",
        "fpr": "54FFA829023FC4DEF26B9339E07F7A743DF9F926"
        "cert": "https://payto.mymerchant.com/certificate.pem",
    "namecoin": {
        "url": "https://payto.mymerchant.com/namecoin/",
        "fpr": "54FFA829023FC4DEF26B9339E07F7A743DF9F926"
    "paypal": "xxxxxx at yyyyyyyyy.zzz",
    "othercoin": "oxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"

* A merchant with a public address, an url to generate custom addresses
and a domain name (not sure if this case is really usefull, maybe as
    "bitcoin": {
        "url": "https://payto.mymerchant.com/bitcoin/",
        "fpr": "54FFA829023FC4DEF26B9339E07F7A743DF9F926",
        "dns": "_bitcoin.payto.mymerchant.com",
        "address": "1KHAL8bUjnkMRMg9yd2dNrYnJgZGH8Nj6T",

* How to use it in bitcoin ?

Several possibilities of address syntax :
- khal, khal at dot-bit.org, mymerchant.com, mymerchant2 : no syntax limit
- mymerchant2 at bitcoin : will conflict with names already containing a @
- mymerchant2 at namecoin : same
- namecoin:mymerchant2 : strange syntax, confusing with the "uri scheme"
- namecoin://mymerchant2 : same
- other ?

Here is how things would be processed when people put an address to pay
to in the bitcoin client :

* address : khal
-> RPC to namecoin for "p/khal"
-> json processing for "p/khal->bitcoin"
-> result : 1KHAL8bUjnkMRMg9yd2dNrYnJgZGH8Nj6T

* address : khal at dot-bit.org
-> RPC to namecoin for "p/khal at dot-bit.org"
-> json processing for "p/khal at dot-bit.org->bitcoin"
-> result : 1KHAL8bUjnkMRMg9yd2dNrYnJgZGH8Nj6T

* address : mymerchant.com
-> RPC to namecoin for "p/mymerchant.com"
-> json processing for "p/mymerchant.com->bitcoin"
-> json processing for "p/mymerchant.com->bitcoin->url" and
-> https request to "https://payto.mymerchant.com/bitcoin/"
-> result : 1xyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxy

* address : mymerchant2
-> RPC to namecoin for "p/mymerchant2"
-> json processing for "p/mymerchant2->bitcoin"
-> json processing for "p/mymerchant2->bitcoin->url" and
-> https request to "https://payto.mymerchant.com/bitcoin/"
-> result : error (website unavailable, page not found, timeout, etc)
-> json processing for "p/mymerchant2->bitcoin->dns"
-> dns request for "_bitcoin.payto.mymerchant.com"
-> result : 1xyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxyxy

Le 15/12/2011 20:59, theymos a écrit :
> Bitcoin already has code and a protocol for transactions to IP
> addresses. Why not reuse that for dynamic address lookup? Just a few
> changes are necessary to enable complete user at server.com handling:
> - Extend the protocol so that "reply" messages can be signed by a fixed
>   public key
> - Extend "checkorder" messages so they can specify an account to
>   send BTC to. Or standardize on how to put the account into the
>   message field.
> - Enable DNS lookups for IP transactions. The DNS-only proposals could
>   also be used here to avoid having to use the IP transaction protocol
>   sometimes. The public key for signing "reply" messages can be gotten
>   from TXT records. This will be safe with DNSSEC and Namecoin. With
>   plain DNS Bitcoin could take a SSH-like approach and ask the user to
>   verify the public key the first time it is used, remembering it later.
> DoS attacks are already handled by the IP transactions code: the same IP
> address is always given the same bitcoin address until it pays to that
> bitcoin address.
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Best Regards,

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