dns – Stay N Alive

Bitcoin Use-cases: Turning Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, and the Blockchain into a Fully Functional Peer-to-Peer Internet

A lot of non-Bitcoin investors and people with little knowledge of Bitcoin are freaking out right now about the fall of Bitcoin’s value in the last 24 hours due to China forbidding deposits into their main Bitcoin exchange. I’m actually kind of excited about it, because I think of Bitcoin as more a protocol than I do a currency. This means it has long-term sustainability. It also means my investment into it is a much more long-term investment into the future of the internet, as a whole. It means I now have an even greater opportunity to buy until the world grasps onto this concept. One of these use-cases is the possibility of completely replacing the internet as we know it. Let me explain.


Let me start with an example. An exact duplicate of the Bitcoin protocol with a separate blockchain, Namecoin (read all about it here), was created to prove some of the points I’m making here. Namecoin was invented to allow the use of its own Blockchain (remember, the worldwide, public accounting ledger for tracking transactions) to track ownership of domains on the .bit namespace.

Domains and DNS are in essence based on a peer-to-peer network of their own, with one major flaw. They rely on a central authority called the Internet Consortium for Assigned Names and Numbers (or ICANN) to tell other DNS nodes who owns the domain being queried. When you type in a URL into your browser, it likely searches your ISP’s DNS servers (your computer is in essence itself a DNS node that knows to talk to your ISP and other DNS nodes on the internet). Those DNS servers communicate with other DNS servers and so on until they find out who the owner of the domain is. Once the owner is determined through ICANN, your browser knows to pull content from “X Server” and you are delivered a webpage from that server. With Namecoin, however, ICANN isn’t needed because the ownership is recorded on the blockchain.

Namecoin, in essence, is replacing the need for ICANN in domain distribution for the .bit top level domain. They do it by storing the domain names in digest form on the blockchain (and suggest you can do this with other types of documents and text, as well), giving a permanent place to look up ownership with guaranteed authenticity. Currently they’re integrating this with existing DNS architecture, providing translation of those blockchain records in a way ICANN can understand, but in the future, the DNS protocol could be updated to accept blockchain records as sufficient ownership as well. This could be done with something as simple as a browser extension or plugin on most current browsers that overrides the browser looking at DNS servers for ownership, instead looking at the blockchain for ownership.

This is a powerful concept, which shows one use-case in this potential “internet replacement”. And it’s already in place, and it’s already working! You can invest in Namecoin now, and even convert your Bitcoin into Namecoin through exchanges like btc-e.com. (and guess what, the Chinese now don’t have this opportunity, at least not to the scale they used to!)


So now we have a way to tell where to retrieve content on the internet through a peer-to-peer, Bitcoin protocol-based architecture. Now we just need a way to deliver that data in a distributed manner. What if you could use Bittorrent as the storage for a Bitcoin-powered internet? We’re already headed there.

Recently, a bittorrent client called Frostwire announced they’re working to integrate Bitcoin into their Bittorrent client, allowing seeders of Torrents (which don’t all have to be illegal, by the way – Bittorrent, too, is just a P2P protocol, this one focused on storage) to pay and receive Bitcoin for files. I think this could go further though. What happens when you can associate something like Namecoin with an address of an HTML file on the Bittorrent network? Now, entirely server free, a document can be served (no server-side code required in this case – JavaScript has become quite powerful of recent on client machines, and could be extended even further to more powerful functions within the browser itself to embrace the blockchain and even bittorrent for more info) across a peer-to-peer network delivering documents to your browser at speeds potentially even faster than your current internet can.

As for a database, there are already distributed, file-based databases (see Hadoop, for instance). Instead of owning your own servers to store those files, why not store them across the P2P Bittorrent, or similar network? There are details to be worked out, but the technology is definitely almost there.

The Network Infrastructure

Now the only thing left is the ISP, and infrastructure for giving you bandwidth and access to your internet. What if we made this peer-to-peer as well? There are already many plans in foreign countries for “mesh” wireless networks. What if we took a concept like this, allowing anyone who wanted internet access to set up a wireless receiver of some sort, and that receiver would “pay” into the network to get access using Bitcoin or similar. These payments (this would be the equivalent of “mining” in current Bitcoin) would then go to those willing to provide longer distance wireless access using things like Ham Radio towers and the like to provide access over this entirely wireless, peer-to-peer internet. The bandwidth each node provides to the network would in essence “mine” new tokens and recycle those paid into the network in the process.

Of course, details of how all this can work still need to be worked out. Hopefully now you can see the potential though, and we’re really not that far from something like this happening with very little needing to be done by any central entity (perhaps wireless laws in the USA and other countries would need to be opened up a little to the public). Many of these protocols are already being used. But once they’re all put together, we have an internet that works without central authority, no need for ISPs, no need for server hosting. The entire internet experience is 100% controlled by the user, and companies will need to adapt to this.

This will all lead towards new forms of commerce. My friend Jeremiah Owyang talks about “The Collaborative Economy“, which is already occurring. The idea is that the future of commerce is moving towards more social, consumer-to-consumer models instead of business-to-consumer. Businesses now become facilitators of these transactions instead of sellers of a single product that a consumer can buy.

In “The Chain” era it works the same way – no longer will we need DNS, hosting, or even storage. Ownership records will all be stored on “The Chain”, all delegated to the proper owners of the content and storage and names. Businesses will need to start preparing for this in order to adapt to this new model – I’m actually seeing some of the smart ones do this now, which I’ll talk about later on this blog.

Bitcoin is not just a currency as you can see. If you’re seeing it as just a currency that goes up and down, you’re looking at it wrong. Instead, you should be looking at it as a new paradigm. It’s a paradigm shift in not just currency, but the entire internet as we know it, and you should be looking to hop on, pay in, and get on board. Those that do so now will be the leaders of this new era in the next 5 years.

My company helps businesses adapt to these new paradigm changes such as Bitcoin, strategizing new innovation and marketing shifts to gain an edge on their competitors. If you think we can help, contact us (contact@staynalive.com) – we even take Bitcoin!

Like this article and want more like it? Consider a donation! Here’s my Bitcoin address:

Address: 19AdCAbjshRuEFhx4py1Ny7i48s1d6RFi

DNS is the New Browser War

googleToday Google decided to go head-to-head with a smack to OpenDNS, announcing their own “Public” DNS which users could integrate to bypass their own DNS provider, get faster speeds, and “improve the browsing experience for all users.”  The announcement comes head-to-head with their announcement a couple weeks ago that they were creating their own operating system built around the browser.  Let’s make no doubt about it that this is a play by Google to take one more step to having their hands in every bit of the internet experience for users that they can.  This is just one more “building block” for them.

The move sounds eerily similar to that of Microsoft’s early days, who, with Windows 98 (or was it 95?), started bundling Internet Explorer as the default browser for the OS, making it impossible to uninstall, and difficult to replace as the default browser.  Anti-compete lawsuits ensued from the likes of Netscape and eventually Novell and other companies seeing similar moves.  Microsoft’s browser is still in place as the default today.  Becoming the “default”  and controlling the experience is a natural move for any company building an operating system, except that this one has the internet as its foundation.

While at the Kynetx Impact conference a couple weeks ago (ironically during the Google Chrome OS announcement), Kynetx had set up their rule engine on the network so that everyone who joined the network would have their internet experience customized to brand Kynetx into the experience.  Every page I visited had a little link I could expand to view the schedule for the conference.  Every time I visited Facebook.com a little piece of code popped up on Facebook asking me to fan Kynetx, and also showed the latest Tweets for the conference.  All of this was built on the Kynetx engine.  It was pretty cool to see the potential!  The advantage of Kynetx was that it was all dependent on users installing the code to customize the experience.  While maybe untrue for the conference as a whole, it wasn’t intended to be controlled by one single entity over the entire internet.

Now that you see the potential for controlling the network, you realize that on the “open web”, he who controls the network controls the entire internet.  That’s powerful from a monetization and marketing, and especially advertising standpoint (which Google has a vested interest in).  When one company controls DNS, that company has the potential to control those that connect through that DNS.  Now what happens when Google makes this “Public DNS” the default DNS for its users of the Chrome OS?  Now, not only will Google have an edge in the desktop market, but they also now have an edge on the internet itself.

I predict DNS will become the new Browser War.  Now that we have the players in the window to the internet (IE, Firefox/Mozilla, Chrome, Safari), the competition is now shifting to the internet itself, and who controls the actual browsing experience for the user.  You’ll see players like Microsoft and maybe Apple, and maybe even Facebook enter this race.  Let’s hope Google continues to follow its model, “Do no evil” as they approach this.  I hope they build open architectures allowing users to control their data and control the experience rather than Google itself.  I hope Google stays competitive, rather than knocking services like OpenDNS out of service.  I hope they find ways to work with others as they do this.

There’s a new “war” a-brewing and we’ve moved beyond the browser to who controls the web itself.  Does Google get first-mover advantage?