The idea of a blockchain-based DNS system has been around almost as long as bitcoin. Blockchain name registration uses the same immutable ownership ledger system that has protected bitcoin as money for 6 years, and can be extended to make ownership of domain names immune from censorship, man-in-the-middle attacks, and domain hijacking. This technology can substantially improve internet freedom and security if it is broadly adopted.
Namecoin was specifically created to enable such a blockchain DNS system, but substantial technical knowledge is required to turn this into a fully functional DNS solution. A few centralized DNS services exist which allow access to the Namecoin .bit address space, the most notable being dotbit.me, but much of the security and anti-censorship benefits of blockchain DNS are lost when the the server is accessed remotely. The best place for a blockchain DNS server is within a home or office network.
Bitseed is developing a simple, low-cost, plug & play Namecoin DNS server that will give users the ability to seamlessly add blockchain secures .bit domain access to their web browsing and other internet services. The device, based on the Bitseed Personal Server hardware, will make .bit domains easily available to everyday users.
The Namecoin DNS Server Stack
The Bitseed Namecoin DNS Server uses open source software developed by the okTurtles Foundation (okturtles.org and oktutles.bit). The key elements are:
- Namecoin – stores names and associated addresses
- DNSChain – resolves names on the blockchain, and forwards standard DNS requests to the legacy DNS system
- PowerDNS – a widely used open source DNS server
A full description of the DNSChain software, as well as source code, can be found on Github.
Using the Server
- Plug it in to power and an Internet router
- Allow a few hours for the Namecoin blockchain to sync
- Identify the server IP address via your router control panel, and have the router assign a fixed IP
- Add the router IP address to the DNS lookup fields on the ipv4 home network/wifi settings of your computers and wifi devices.
- Browse normally. Test by going to okturtles.bit. All other standard URLs will work normally.
Personal DNS Server Project Status 6/30/2015
- The full server is now running in our office and we are using it for every day DNS resolution
- The device fully auto-starts when plugged in
- There is no GUI yet. CLI only
- There are not yet any setup or Namecoin registration scrips
- .bit domains fully accessable
Alpha units are available now for purchase by developers. These units are functional but have no GUI and can only be accessed via SSH command line. Use of a DNS server requires an understanding of how to configure other devices to use the server.