Conventional wisdom is that a contextual naming system is needed for Internet scale. In a flat namespace, the “good” names will be immediately unavailable, and the rest of us will have to get some lame alternative that might as well be a DNS component.
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Currency of Identifiers II
Today, identity provider saml is always in the context of a DNS domain name. Registering your own domain is the only chance you have at privacy. However, domain name registration itself is privacy destroying.
After seeing a recent bit Coin info graphic, it made me think of an old blog I wrote a few years back about an idea for an Internet naming system based on bit Coin. DNS is surely one of the great achievements of standards based inter-operability. The mere mention of a naming system other than DNS is verboden in Silicon Valley. But why do we need these silly “dotted” hierarchical naming systems. Why can’t I just be “mike”?
Conventional wisdom is that a contextual naming system is needed for Internet scale. In a flat namespace, the “good” names will be immediately unavailable, and the rest of us will have to get some lame alternative that might as well be a DNS component. How many good Twitter IDs are going to be left after 100 years?
It always seemed that being a TLD registrar was just too sweet of a deal. Its a natural monopoly. Sure with standard registries, we have some competition… but we’ve accepted that we have not only have to pay these marginally valuable middle men, but we waste lots of time getting things right, and then get lots of spammy offers we don’t care about.
But if that’s not bad enough, how sweet it is to be the governor of the registries. One can only imagine the fringe benefits for board members of ICANN. And the announcement a while back that ICANN would auction new TLDs at market prices provides a new revenue stream for these technical pontiffs. Monash University is the first branded TLD. ICANN accruing the benefit of naming the Internet is the best we can do?
When the architects of the Internet designed DNS, there was no distributed transaction technology like bit Coin. DNS was a fabulous solution. But now that we have a more efficient alternative, we should use it.
My idea is that an “xCoin” would represent a globally resolvable identifier. X marks the spot. Like a dollar bill, the coin has a serial number. Unlike a dollar bill, it also has other attributes or “claims.” The xCoin rules can allow for these claims or the coins themselves to be transferred.
There is some precedent for using bit Coin for DNS: name Coin. Name coin allows you to: (1) Securely register and transfer arbitrary names (keys); (2) Attach 1K of data to each name; (3) Trade and transact in Name coins. All of this is done pseudonymously (data is linked to a randomly generated addresses) and in a decentralized manner which is strongly resistant to censorship. So it seems logical that we can add additional rules, performing in code the role of ICANN to govern the registries, to make an operational naming infrastructure that could supplement DNS.
In fact, with new naming requirements brought about by the Internet of Things, it could be really helpful to have an alternate naming infrastructure that has lower transactions costs for people. Should consumers register a DNS domain to control their own namespace? I don’t think this was the original intent of the design. I think we thought organizations would be registering DNS names, not people.