A major Chinese university is proposing blockchain technology as a better way to manage web domain names.
According to a patent application published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Shenzhen Graduate School at Peking University is examining how a “consortium blockchain” can improve security and efficiency in managing top-level domains (TLDs)
While the currently standard internet domain name system is already based on a distributed system, there are “technical problems,” the team contends.
For example, the current distribution of root name servers is unevenly around the world. As a result, the filing states:
“Internet users in Asia enjoy a significantly slower domain name resolution speed than users in North America do, and when a root name server in Asia malfunctions, more than 20 million Internet users’ requests for domain name resolution will be affected. It also results in a significantly lower reliability in Asian domain name resolution.”
As the blockchain “invention” shares data in a “public and immutable way,” it says, “trusted agencies and even individuals can access information on blockchain and build a corresponding seed file database to store the mapping relations between the top-level and sub-domain name system.”
As a result, all regions can set up domain name servers according to their real-world needs “in order to ensure the speed of internet access without being limited by other institutions.”
The proposed system also separates the domain name system into two layers, each corresponding to a sub-domain name system, it goes on. How the sub-domain system is designed is decided by the holder of the TLD. “Therefore,” the filing states, “the sub-domain name system can be designed as either centralized system or decentralized system according to the institutions’ wishes.”
An additional claimed advantage is that, being based on a system of distributed nodes, no “consortium or small group” can control the entire process. While cryptocurrencies are potentially prone to what’s called a 51 percent attack (in which an entity that controls more than half of the network can rewrite transactions in their favor), only allowing “trusted” nodes means the proof-of-work mechanism by which miners secure a network “is not required,” the filing says.
The team further touts the system as “completely compatible with the existing internet.” While a “more concise and efficient consensus mechanism,” brings security and reliability, and a layered structure “ensures the efficiency and portability of the system.”
Peking University west gate image via aphotostory / Shutterstock