WNS - The Wallet Name System

“Basically what is needed is some way to judge the trustworthyness of signatures by people you don't know.“

Hal Finney : PGP Web of Trust Misconceptions 1994

The recent invention of Distributed Ledger Technologies and systems have given users an opportunity for safer, less complex e-commerce transactions, by removing the need for multiple parties to facilitate them. But the benefits of these systems are largely lost when complex steps are made necessary to adopt them.

Namespaces reduce complexity for users and now drive most economies on the Internet. A peer-to-peer Wallet Name System (WNS) allows networked namespaces and addressing schemes to interact directly with Distributed Ledger Technologies, negating the need for a third party service provider or platform. We achieve this by 'aliasing' human-readable namespaces to the machine-readable public-key 'wallet' strings used in Public Key Infrastructure, through the issuance of a cryptographically signed proof or 'certificate' that is issued via a consensus of authorities. Our method retains privacy where desired and allows for verifiable public registries of wallet information to exist.

The WNS allows a user to alias their public-key wallet string with familiar addressing schemes like (but not limited to) domain names, email addresses, social handles and phone numbers, in a distributed peer-to-peer metadata directory called the 'Alias Space'. People can then judge how trustworthy the wallet information they are receiving is by querying available 'sources of truth' that can return a reference for that Alias within the Alias Space.

Why would a Wallet Name System be useful?

The growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web can be largely attributed to the dominance, uniformity and interoperability of the hierarchical naming scheme called the Domain Name System or DNS. (RFC 1034). The Wallet Name System is being built to serve the same features of uniformity, stability and interoperability for computer systems connected over peer-to-peer networks.

“There is no getting away from the unique root of the public DNS.”

RFC 2826

Since that declaration was made in May 2000, the Internet has grown to host tens of thousands of autonomous internet systems that co-ordinate traffic over a complex network, enabling billions of users to share information in many languages. DNS simplified and created a frictionless access point for hosted website information which led to the creation of the World Wide Web. WNS simplifies the access point for wallet information and is a useful tool in enabling frictionless, global, peer-to-peer trade.

© Paul Harwood, Wallet Systems (paul at wallet.systems) 2018-2021