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Will ICANN change the internet forever by using Bitcoin algorithms?

by Benjamin Guttmann, author of "the Bitcoin Bible"

Many domainers are big bitcoin fans, looks like even ICANN is now in the Bitcoin fever.

In a draft ICANN Report released late last month, the organization spokeof algorithms like Bitcoin and the future ofan Internet not controlled by the US Government. This could mean that theorganization is exploring the possibility of a global multi-stakeholder accountability process instead of thecurrent situation of the United States Government in the Internet’s uniqueidentifier system, meaning the US Government would relinquish their remainingcontrol of the Internet, and transfer important technical functions of theInternet to the global Internet community.

Presently, the government’s current responsibilities include the role ofadministering changes to the Domain Name System’s (DNS) root zone file, whichis the database of top-level domains (.edu, .gov, .mil). Additionally, the USGovernment also oversees the historic data regarding unique identifierregistries for Domain names, IP addresses and protocol parameters.

The solution might be to use similar protocols as in the encryption of Bitcoin transactionsand the idea of an undependable “blockchain”. 

This would transfer all power to the users.

from the ICANN draft:

“Is there a technical way to think aboutsharing control over the root? Some theories have been advanced. One school ofthought is that data should have N multiple signatures. And thenM/N, signatures are required to authenticate the data. Of course there arearguments about M and N, and whether different crypto is needed/desirable.

It’s not our intention to argue for aspecific system here, but we do feel that a good design could allow thepolitical process of deciding how control should be shared to start. Our visionis the creation of a toolbox for shared zone control, not only for the root,but also for other zone coordination problems.

We note that the DNS Operations (DNSOPS)working group in the IETF has two proposals for coordinating DNSSEC signinginformation, but wonder if it might be better to create a general facilityrather than a solution to this point problem. Coordination of forward andreverse addresses might be another application.

The participants could then each do astandard algorithm to generate consistent state. This might seem like afantasy, but Byzantine algorithms like Bitcoin [Andreesen 2014] and Namecoinshow that such systems are possible today.

(Note that we aren’t proposing the rules,just a distributed system for implementing whatever rules the community wants.)” 

More about this at ICANN


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