Q. What is MeowBit?
A. MeowBit is Free Software for Windows that allows you to effortlessly view Dot-Bit websites. It works on your entire system: ALL browsers, plus e-mail, instant messenger, FTP, everything on your computer. MeowBit is TRUSTLESS, i.e., you don’t have to trust a third party to ensure you are going to the desired site. That’s a good thing.
Q. What is Dot-Bit?
A. Dot-Bit (.bit) is a new top-level domain that, unlike Dot-Com, Dot-Net, Dot-UK, etc., is NOT controlled by any government or corporation. Dot-Bit works on the blockchain of Namecoin.
Q. How Does MeowBit work?
A. MeowBit relies on the NameCoin wallet resolve .bit domain names. A simple local DNS-bridge against the local blockchain data.
Under Windows 7 the DNS servers are replaced (and stored) when the system is enabled. On Window 8 the DNScache function allows for specific TLDs to be resolved by specified name servers, so the functionality is a lot cleaner. (More detail in the advanced section, below.)
The goal is ease of use for the end user, to be able to resolve .bit domains without having to trust a third party.
Q. How much do these domains cost? Are they hard to register?
A. You can register a Dot-Bit domain today using the inexpensive cryptocurrency, Namecoin (a derivative of Bitcoin). Dot-Bit domains currently cost about 7 cents US to register, and you don’t have to go through anyone else to do it.
It’s easy to do, and we’ve written tutorials on how to do it and where to get Namecoin.
Q. What are the advantages of Dot-Bit?
A. Dot-Bit domains are extremely resistant to being shut down or hijacked by governments, corporations or criminals. Dot-Bit domains are THE decentralized alternative to building your whole web presence on a Dot-Com or other top-level domain that can be shut down at any time for any reason by any government without due process.
MeowBit is also resistant to DNS or HTTPS hijacking, which are common and easy with normal top-level domains. DNS or HTTPS hijacking is when someone redirects your traffic to an impostor website, which allows them to steal passwords or install malware.
With our MeowBit free software, all that hassle and danger is eliminated. MeowBit doesn’t require changing anything, so your surfing stays fast and secure. You can now navigate from the regular Web to Dot-Bit sites and back, effortlessly and safely.
Q. So, is this just an idea? Or is it real?
A. It’s real. Here. Now. Today.
This isn’t vaporware. We already have a working version of MeowBit Free Software for Windows. You can download and start using them this minute. We’re raising money to further develop MeowBit, and to spread adoption of Dot-Bit websites. Because widespread adoption is instrumental to making this work.
And website owners don’t even have to start a new website. We’ve written tutorials on setting up a Dot-Bit domain for your Dot-Com or other top-level domain-website. Just give the .bit domain name out to your users and tell them about MeowBit. If anyone ever shuts down your Dot-Com domain, users will still be able to effortlessly get to your site using your Dot-Bit address and our MeowBit software.
And there are already some Dot-Bit websites. But for now, we need to get the widest user adoption possible for MeowBit, and educate many more Website owners on adding .bit versions of their sites. We’ve also written clear tutorials on installing and using MeowBit, and on registering Dot-Bit names with Namecoin.
Q. If the website you have registered first in .com is shut down, how do you continue to operate and update the .bit site without having access to the .com site?
A. Well, there are three basic ways a website can be shut down.
1. If a government or corporation tells ICANN to delete your Dot-Com domain, it will no longer work. Dot-Bit doesn’t have that problem, because it’s not controlled by ICANN.
2. If a government makes your web host delete the FILES for your website, with Dot-Bit, you’d just transfer the copy from your home computer to a new server anywhere in the world. Then you’d do a Name Update command in the Namecoin wallet, enter the new IP address or name servers in the transaction (which costs about ten cents to do), and within about 30 minutes, everyone in the world who has MeowBit would be able to see your Dot-Bit site again, automatically, serving from the new location.
The third way a website can be shut down is by hijacking the DNS to a different site (often a lookalike site to trick users into entering passwords and credit card numbers. This happened Feb 2014 with Facebook). This is very easy to do with a Dot-Com address, and next to impossible with a Dot-Bit address.
Q. How come you don’t have step numbers on your install page? Numbering the steps would make it a lot easier to describe something to you or someone else if I have a question.
A. We haven’t done that yet because we’re in beta, and I don’t want to have to re-number everything manually if I have to add a step with some future update, or if we realize we need to add a step to make things more clear. For now, you can just tell us or others “search for this text on this page” and give the URL and text to search so we’ll know where to look.
Q. How is MeowBit different from FreeSpeechMe?
A. FreeSpeechMe was created by Jeremy Rand. It was named and marketed by Michael W. Dean. It was the first-ever easy-to-use solution for surfing Dot-Bit websites. However, it is a plug-in limited to Firefox only.
MeowBit was created by Michael W. Dean and programmer Derrick Slopey. MeowBit works on ANY browser, and any aspect of the Windows system: e-mail, I.M, FTP, everything. MeowBit contains none of the code from FreeSpeechMe. MeowBit is NOT a plug-in. And we have a free tech-help forum! And you can log in! And it works!
Also, FreeSpeechMe didn’t always work, and does not currently work while using the Namecoin wallet. MeowBit works pretty much all the time, doesn’t have those two annoying CMD windows, and works WITH the Namecoin wallet.
Q. How is MeowBit different from that Chrome plug-in for Dot-Bit?
That plug-in is NOT trustless. It routes you through one guy’s DNS server, which can be hijacked, and is a but of a security risk on top of that. It’s like training wheels for Dot-Bit. MeowBit is the flying car for Dot-Bit.
Q. OK, sounds great. What’s next? How can I help?
A. MeowBit is a game-changing world-advancing leap for freedom. Please help us raise money to perfect MeowBit, spread its adoption and help save the Internet from the central scrutinizers of the world. Thank you!
And tell two friends about MeowBit, and they’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends…..
Q. Oh yeah, what’s with all the kitty photos?
A. That’s Michael Dean’s fault. He says “The Dot-Com web runs on kitties, that’s one of the good things about it. I’d like to continue that on the Dot-Bit web.”
Please consider Donating to the MeowBit team help out. Thanks!
MORE-ADVANCED TECH FAQ:
Q. Is Dot-Bit private and anonymous?
A. The pseudo-anonymous nature of the blockchain is misleading. You’re not “anonymous” just by using a cryptocurrency. Many people sold Bitcoin as “anonymous” because it sounds good in a headline. To even APPROACH anonymity with a cryptocurrency, one would have to use different VPNs, https, and a different address for each transaction, and send the addresses to known friends only, via Pidgin OTR. Or some of that, plus TOR.
Q. Is Dot-Bit really secure? I read an article here that said this:
“But while Dot-BIT may allow for an anonymous and relatively secure exchange of DNS information, it won’t necessarily prevent censorship by ISPs. If the .bit top-level domain becomes the target of laws like SOPA, it can be shut down pretty quickly by cutting off the head – its own internal DNS – either through port blocking or other filtering. And since it lacks the anonymizing routing abilities of “hidden” networks like Tor’s .onion domain, it won’t protect the identities of publishers and users who visit sites that use a .bit name.”
A. That’s a quite misleading claim; I’m guessing the author of that claim doesn’t understand how Dot-Bit works. A few points:
1. There are three types of Internet censorship: DNS seizures, DNS blacklisting, and active filtering. Dot-Bit is designed to be effective against the 1st and 2nd; this guy is talking about the 3rd case. Tor is ineffective against the 1st, and only somewhat effective against the 2nd, but it’s very effective against the 3rd case, so if you access the Namecoin network via Tor (which is quite possible) then you defeat all 3 methods.
2. Domain owners are not anonymous in Dot-Bit (due to blockchain analysis attacks). We have never claimed that they are. However, there is a way to make them anonymous, it’s called Zerocoin, and there is discussion of implementing it.
(Some pages on this site, and some parts of our promo video, contain some text from the FreeSpeechMe site. That site was written by MWD with some help from Jeremy Rand. That site is also licensed CC BY 3.0. MeowBit contains NO code from FreeSpeechMe. FreeSpeechMe is good code, but we started from scratch for MeowBit. And FreeSpeechMe only works for Firefox. MeowBit works for everything on your computer.)