Namecheap has gone down in history as the first domain Registrar to accept Bitcoin!
Wow, these are extremely exciting times we live in. This means anyone, anywhere at all can now pay for a domain anonymously… Which was the last true hurdle people had to face when buying domains if they were seeking privacy.
Full Disclosure: I was a Namecheap customer with hundreds of domains for over 5 years. I left namecheap about 3 years ago because of their lacking customer support, and bulk domain lower prices I found elsewhere. They are far more scrupulous than a host like GoDaddy, however, so I hold no ill will towards them.
How are they handling the conversion? Namecheap is using Bitpay. From their add funds page:
“The USD amount you enter here will be converted to equivalent Bitcoins on BitPay.”
So basically when you go to recharge your namecheap account, there is a “USD amount to add” box there that will put the equivilent amount of USD credit inside your account once you’ve gone to the Bitpay site and sent them the amount of Bitcoin that they demand. Bitpay in turn, without prompting any sort of login, asks for the market rate of bitcoin at the moment, plus what I believe is a very small fee in my case at least. If it was there it’s really small, in the neighborhood of 0.005 BTC as far as I can see:
After sending in your BTC to that address, they instantly send Namecheap the $100 USD to credit your account with. Easy as pie, cake, or whatever bakery item you deem most simple.
Bitpay also has other good news on the near-term horizon: They have successfully integrated their service with Amazon’s “Fulfillment-by-Amazon” (FBA) web service. This little gem allows webmasters to place on their sites a little storefront-let that sells any amazon product from that point… And now customers can use Bitcoin to pay for those Amazon products! Effectively, this means that everything on Amazon.com that is for sale is now for sale in BTC!
Anyway, there is much to speculate on hearing the Namecheap news. First of all, being someone who values their privacy greatly, I had to find out exactly how anonymous one can remain buying a domain this way.
All you’d have to do really is set up a new account, perhaps through a VPS or Proxy, and then putting all fake contact information inside your account there. (Not technically legal, but easy and widespread, nonetheless.) After funding said account with Bitcoins and buying a domain with another set of fake admin contact info, the domain is yours to control just like normal. (Minus the need for Privacy Guard, no less!)
(That sound you hear off in the distance is the world’s community of malware makers, spammers, phishers, and pirates all jumping for joy repeatedly.)
Personally, I’ll be updating my anti-virus protection in a minute or two here… But I still count this as very good news in the fight for Liberty… News that may have me moving my business back to Namecheap one of these days.
Secondly, what should we expect this to do to the price of BTC? Clearly it isn’t just another normal merchant. Domains are a mind-bogglingly huge industry and now that Namecheap takes BTC, all of their competition will be at a HUGE disadvantage, because all kinds of people from hackers to liberty lovers to bitcoin users to everyday folks who simply value their privacy will be flocking to Namecheap. Basically, the entire domain industry will be forced to accommodate BTC before long.
According to Whois.sc, there are approximately 144,322,100 domains registered today. At a meager $10 each (It should be way over that price of course) that’s a new $1.44 BILLION USD open to be replaced by Bitcoin!
If we see a quick adoption by domainers, and of course if other registrars follow Namecheap’s example soon, then the new influx of BTC in exchange will double if not dwarf the existing bitcoin traffic!
That could easily bring about a $100-$300 BTC price.
Finally, what would this does this mean for our ongoing fight for freedom? I’m afraid that’s the tradeoff. Bitcoin will become attached in the public’s mind to another set of gray industries: Malware botters and spammers. This will mean more ammunition for the powers that be to rationalize their eventual attack.
ICANN could of course forbid the use of BTC at all registrars; but I see no reason now for them to get involved. Perhaps if spam and malware really grow out of control.
So for freedom’s sake, it appears to be good news now; & bad news later. I guess It was inevitable though… Bitcoin was always going to be used by these people no matter what the registrars do.