Daniel Ternyak, CEO and founder of the “no nonsense” .bit domain name registrar GetDotBit, launched his project on April 23. Since then, he has offered no-cost registrations to his customers for their first domain name. Over 700 .bit domains have been registered so far, and he says an end date for the free registrations is “not yet” planned. He continues:
“Anyone even remotely interested in Namecoin should go grab [a .bit domain].”
Cointelegraph spoke with Ternyak to find out about the benefits, besides little to no financial cost for the registration, of owning a .bit website.
Cointelegraph: How would you describe GetDotBit to someone who might not know about .bit domains?
Daniel Ternyak: GetDotBit allows for easy purchase of .bit domain names. The extension .bit is similar to .com, except it runs on a blockchain network. It’s the Bitcoin of DNS [domain name system].
CT: How many people have actually created a .bit website after registering a domain name?
DT: Most people haven’t. .bit is tricky to set up. There are less than 30 actual websites built on the .bit TLD [top-level domain]. We’ve got 707 domains registered, and 698 users. There’s no way to know how many websites are set up, only how many are found. This is the same for the regular extensions, but Namecoin is not exclusively for registering .bit domain names, so that’s not a big deal.
CT: What else can Namecoin be used for?
DT: Namecoin is also for value transfer, and for storing other information in a blockchain. Some people store contact information, for example.
“There have been some cases of domain seizures and the like, but the existing TLD system has been fairly decent (aside from the high fees). If and when this changes, .bit will grow in popularity.”
CT: From what I understand, even with your service, the process of creating, using and finding a .bit domain is still quite involved. How motivated would someone have to be to create one, especially if not technically inclined?
DT: It’s still a fringe idea, and frankly it’s not going to be necessary to use, until it is. There have been some cases of domain seizures and the like, but the existing TLD system has been fairly decent (aside from the high fees). If and when this changes, .bit will grow in popularity.
CT: How big is your client base?
DT: Right now, my client base is anyone with an existing .com, .net, .org or the multitude of others (.sucks, .rich, etc.) who also want a TLD that is decentralized and secure. Everyone gets one for free, so there’s no reason not to go reserve one, even if you don’t set up a site.
CT: Does CoinFire mirror their site with a .bit, since they've experienced so many attacks? I wondered about the value of Namecoin when the attacks were happening to them.
DT: I’m not sure about that, but it would definitely be smart of them, if they don’t already. I know there were some issues with GAW DDosing them. In that case the alternative TLD is not of much use, but it would be of great use in stopping a domain theft, like how they lost coinfire.cf.
CT: Could someone DDos a .bit site?
DT: Yes. the .bit is only the name that you type in. The DDos attacks the server that the name resolves to. So the server could be taken offline. It would not matter what TLD is used.
CT: Why should someone come to you for a .bit site?
DT: The reason they would want to go to me is twofold. They do not have to wait for the annoying blockchain to sync, or use the bulky Qt software (ever used Bitcoin Core?).
FreeSpeechMe provides an extension you can install into your [Firefox] browser so you can resolve to .bit domain names. If you have used Bitcoin Core, Namecoin-Qt is the official tool to be used for registering domain names. To do that, you need to be synced to the blockchain. Bitcoin Core is similarly the “reference” client for transacting in BTC.
They handle the part where you type in example.bit and you can connect to the server. But they don’t handle the part where the .bit domain is bought and configured. That’s the part that I handle.
“Bitcoin, and Namecoin by extension, represent a decentralized, democratic approach that I believe should have the attention it deserves.”
CT: How long did it take you to develop the idea for GoDotBit, and what were your motivations?
DT: It took several months of high-hour work weeks (40+) to get this off the ground. That said, the site is not likely to be financially successful enough at US$1.00 a domain [the price after registration of the free one] to cover my time spent at the average programmer’s salary. Therefore, my motivation is not financial so much as idealist. Bitcoin and Namecoin (by extension) represent a decentralized, democratic approach that I believe should have the attention it deserves.
“No government can seize the domain name unless they have the private key, just like in Bitcoin.”
CT: Do you recommend that everyone with a traditional website have a .bit mirror of their site for security purposes, in case the government decides to take their site down, or something else happens? Would something like Silk Road work as a .bit?
DT: Yes, that is a good example. You can’t censor .bit, aside from it being technically difficult to set up in the first place. Once it’s up, it’s up. No government can seize the domain name unless they have the private key, just like in Bitcoin.
CT: The Pirate Bay has come up with other alternatives.
DT: I think their plan has been to jump between domain’s every time one is seized, which is also a successful approach given the popularity of the site. However, the downside is that people have to find the new domain every time this happens. That would not be the case if they had a .bit domain as the go-to site.
CT: What do you think it will take for .bit use to become more common?
DT: The use of .bit will come with more interest in decentralized networks, just like with Bitcoin. Or, if the existing DNS system starts to fail. You can see the cracks by the way ICANN has started to turn it into a money-making scheme by selling off TLD's. For example, do we really need .sucks or .rich?
CT: Do you know of other developers who are working on projects that may help things along?
DT: DNSchain is making it easier to resolve to .bit. Bitcoin developers are improving the Bitcoin codebase from which Namecoin is forked, so any improvements there could be merged into Namecoin as well.
CT: What attracted you to Namecoin?
DT: I have been interested in cryptocurrencies for the last few years, but only interested in Namecoin fairly recently, within the last year. It seemed underdeveloped compared to how interesting the technology is, so I wanted to shake things up. .bit solves problems going back 20 years — the same problems that have not ever been fully solved.
CT: Michael Dean recently said "Namecoin is dead." Do you have a response?
DT: The months of work I have spent on this project is proof that at least one person doesn’t think it’s dead. With Namecoin being an open-source and decentralized entity, nothing one person says makes or breaks it. If even one miner is still running, the network is alive.