Daniel Ternyak, CEO and Founder of “no nonsense” .bit domain name registrar GetDotBit, launched its project on April 23. Since then, he has been offering his customers free registrations for their first domain name. More than 700 .bit domains have been registered so far, and he says an end date for free registrations is “not yet” planned. He keeps on:
“Anyone who is even remotely interested in Namecoin should go get [a .bit domain].”
Cointelegraph spoke to Ternyak to learn more about the benefits, in addition to little to no financial cost for registration, of owning a .bit website.
Cointelegraph: How would you describe GetDotBit to someone who may not be familiar with .bit domains?
Daniel Terniak: GetDotBit makes it easy to buy .bit domain names. The .bit extension is similar to .com, except it runs on a blockchain network. It’s the bitcoin of the DNS [domain name system].
CT: How many people have actually created a .bit website after registering a domain name?
DT: Most people didn’t. .bit is difficult to configure. There are less than 30 actual websites built on the .bit TLD [top-level domain]. We have 707 registered domains and 698 users. There is no way to know how many websites are configured, only how many are found. The same goes for regular extensions, but Namecoin isn’t exclusively for registering .bit domain names, so that’s okay.
CT: What else can Namecoin be used for?
DT: Namecoin is also used for transferring value and storing other information in a blockchain. Some people store contact information, for example.
“There have been a few instances of domain seizures and the like, but the existing TLD system has been pretty decent (apart from the high fees). If and when that changes, .bit will gain popularity.
CT: From what I understand, even with your service, the process of creating, using, and finding a .bit domain is still quite complex. How motivated should someone be to create one, especially if they’re not technically inclined?
DT: It’s still a fringe idea, and frankly, there’s no need to use it until it’s there. There have been a few cases of domain seizures and the like, but the existing TLD system has been pretty decent (aside from the high fees). If and when that changes, .bit will grow in popularity.
CT: What is the size of your clientele?
DT: Right now, my customer base is anyone with an existing .com, .net, .org, or the multitude of others (.sucks, .rich, etc.) who also want a decentralized and secure TLD. Everyone gets one for free, so there’s no reason not to go and book one, even if you’re not building a site.
CT: Does CoinFire mirror their site with a .bit, since they have suffered so many attacks? I wondered about the value of Namecoin when the attacks came to them.
DT: I’m not sure, but it sure would be smart of them, if they’re not doing it already. I know there have been some issues with GAW DDosing. In this case, the alternate TLD isn’t very useful, but it would be very useful in stopping domain theft, like how they lost coinfire.cf.
CT: Could someone DDos a .bit site?
DT: Yes. the .bit is just the name you type. The DDos attacks the server to which the name resolves. Thus, the server could be taken offline. It doesn’t matter which TLD you use.
CT: Why should someone come to you for a .bit site?
DT: The reason they would want to come to me is twofold. They don’t have to wait for the boring blockchain to sync, or use cumbersome Qt software (ever used Bitcoin Core?).
FreeSpeechMe provides an extension that you can install in your [Firefox] browser so you can resolve .bit domain names. If you used Bitcoin Core, Namecoin-Qt is the official tool to use to register domain names. To do this, you must be synchronized with the blockchain. Bitcoin Core is also the “go-to” client for transacting in BTC.
They handle the part where you type example.bit and you can connect to the server. But they don’t handle the part where the .bit domain is purchased and set up. This is the part that I manage.
“Bitcoin, and Namecoin by extension, represent a decentralized and democratic approach that I believe should be given 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 intensive work weeks (over 40) to get this started. That said, the site is unlikely to be financially successful enough at $1.00 per domain. [the price after registration of the free one] to cover my time spent at the average salary of a programmer. Therefore, my motivation is not so much financial as idealistic. Bitcoin and Namecoin (by extension) represent a decentralized and democratic approach that I believe should be given the attention it deserves.
“No government can seize the domain name if they don’t have the private key, just like in Bitcoin.”
CT: Do you recommend anyone with a traditional website to have a .bit mirror of their site for security purposes, in case the government decides to take down their site or something else happens? Would something like Silk Road work as a .bit?
DT: Yes, that’s a good example. You can’t censor .bit, other than it’s technically hard to set up in the first place. Once he’s gone up, he’s gone up. No government can seize the domain name if they don’t have the private key, just like in Bitcoin.
CT: The Pirate Bay has found other alternatives.
DT: I think their plan has been to switch between domains each time a domain is entered, 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. This wouldn’t be the case if they had a .bit domain as their referral site.
CT: What do you think it will take for .bit usage to become more mainstream?
DT: The use of .bit will come with more interest in decentralized networks, just like with Bitcoin. Or, if the existing DNS system begins to fail. You can see the cracks by how ICANN started making a profit out of it by selling TLDs. For example, do we really need .sucks or .rich?
CT: Do you know of any other developers who are working on projects that might help things along?
DT: DNSchain facilitates .bit resolution. Bitcoin developers are improving the Bitcoin codebase from which Namecoin is derived, so any improvements could also be merged into Namecoin.
CT: What attracted you to Namecoin?
DT: I’ve been interested in cryptocurrencies for a few years, but I’ve only been interested in Namecoin fairly recently, in the last year. It seemed underdeveloped compared to the interest of technology, so I wanted to shake things up. .bit solves problems 20 years ago — the same problems that have never been fully resolved.
CT: Michael Dean recently said that “Namecoin is dead”. Do you have an answer?
DT: The months of work I’ve spent on this project is proof that at least one person doesn’t think it’s dead. Namecoin being an open-source and decentralized entity, nothing one person says makes it or breaks it. If even a miner is still running, the network is active.