The startup Onename made a big announcement on September 12 at the Blockstack Summit 2015. Co-founder, Muneeb Ali, revealed during his lightning presentation that the Namecoin network is not decentralized and the mining group Discus Fish controls 60-70% of its hashing power. In result, Onename will be switching from Namecoin’s blockchain to Bitcoin.
To the strongest blockchain go the spoils
During the Blockstack summit, Ali revealed this information to the crowd and explained the company's decision to the audience to move the project and its “32,000 uses” from Namecoin to the Bitcoin blockchain.
Onename is a tool that had used the Namecoin blockchain to work with decentralized identity systems (DIS). It uses a unique way to create a ‘name’ or unique profile to accompany your online blockchain verified identity. The open-source identity provider began its project in March 2014 with the ability to create a name instead of a binary number solution or a Bitcoin address.
In November 2014, when the company announced it closed its first seed funding round backed by Union Square Ventures, it also acknowledged at that time that getting developers to support its project via the Namecoin blockchain would be a difficult task.
However, the primary reason for the switch was a large China-based mining operation Discus Fish, which has been noted to be controlling a majority of the Namecoin blockchain.
Ali’s partner and Co-founder, Ryan Shea explained:
“A single mining pool has 67% of the hashpower on Namecoin. Namecoin is not decentralized and not secure.”
Many from the community seemed ecstatic about this move and tweeted the news and posted commentary on reddit. One twitter comment stated “To the strongest blockchain go the spoils.”
Namecoin ‘not secure’
Namecoin, the blockchain-based Domain Name System (DNS), was one of the first large-scale altcoins introduced in 2010. The team envisioned a simple decentralized interface that operated as a readable naming system. Unfortunately for Namecoin, Muneeb Ali and his team don’t feel its blockchain is “not secure.” However, they do give credit for their growth to the protocol.
“Namecoin deserves full credit for originally solving naming on blockchain. But in the long run, you need to be on the most secure blockchain”.
But while, some in the Namecoin community member don’t think the mining problem is a big deal with one redditor saying: “Because Namecoin is merge-mined it will only take one more large Bitcoin pool to include it and 51% would likely not happen again.” However, despite this reasoning, the Onename team feels that the Namecoin blockchain has been compromised.
Ali added that next week the startup will post a blog with more details on this news. There has been no commentary as of yet from the Namecoin founders.