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What is OpenAlias and what is its relation to Monero and its core development team?

How does OpenAlias compare with other aliasing systems?

Which other open source projects have implemented the OpenAlias system?

Is there a way to use OpenAlias with Monero if I do not own my own domain name?

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OpenAlias is an alasing system designed to map a domain name to a cryptocurrency address, so that it becomes possible to use those user friendly domain names as addresses.

The basic idea is that domain names are easy for people to remember and map to a particular person/entity. A DNS TXT record (a particular type of data attached to the registration data for a domain) is used to advertise a set of cryptocurrency addresses. A wallet implementing OpenAlias (eg, Monero's simplewallet) will lookup that domain name, find the TXT record, and see the Monero address in it.

The advantages of the DNS route are: - more user friendly than raw addresses - registration does not need a blockchain transaction like, for instance, Boolberry's alias system - prevents "spammy" registration (ie, someone goes and register every single first name) - support for DNSSEC for authentication and privacy - an alias can be discontinued or changed - cross blockchain (ie, you can set up a TXT record with both monero and bitcoin addresses)

Currently, OpenAlias is implemented for Monero (it was originally designed by the Monero team) and Bitcoin (in Electrum). However, it is not intrisically limited to those and could be easily implemented by other currencies.

If you do not have a domain, and cannot add a TXT record to a domain directly, you can apply to an OA service, which allocate you a hostname and associated TXT record. There were two in the past (xmr.link and another I can't recall), but I think they're both inoperative. Maybe a business opportunity ?

See http://openalias.org/ for details.

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One major benefit of OpenAlias is the degree that it can make a Monero address human meaningful

Zooko's Triangle

Zooko's triangle is a diagram of three properties that are generally considered desirable for names of participants in a network protocol:

  1. Human-meaningful: Meaningfulness and memorability to the users.
  2. Decentralized: No need of a centralized authority for determining the meaning of a name.
  3. Secure: There is one, unique and specific entity to which the name applies.

Without open alias, Monero addresses are very long and lack meaning. Anyone can choose their own meaningful OpenAlias name (subject only to availability and control of the related domain name).

Using an open Alias Service to license you an OpenAlias name and related TXT record for a DNS you do not control is possible, but would weaken both the decentralization and secure corners of Zooko's Triangle above

Open Alias is currently implemented by:

Electrum, lightweight Bitcoin wallet (from 2.0 onwards)

MyMonero, a web-based Monero account/wallet management system

Monero Core, including the simplewallet and rpcwallet applications

Coin.Space, a web-based Bitcoin and Litecoin wallet

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