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Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:57 pm
by justinwnewton
I am the co-founder and CEO of Netki, creators of Wallet Name Service. After 20 years in the Internet startup scene, my co-founder and myself took our experience from the early commercialization of the Internet and applied it to the Bitcoin ecosystem, looking for barriers to mass market adoption that needed to be solved across the industry rather than with a point solution like a wallet or exchange. Wallet Addresses were the first hurdle that we ran into. Wallet Name Service allows you to use easy to remember names, such as "" in place of cumbersome Wallet Addresses such as "1CpLXM15vjULK3ZPGUTDMUcGATGR9xGitv". We plug in to HD Wallets to provide a unique address per transaction, to ensure user privacy is protected. Additionally we support Payment Requests, allowing a user to validate the identity of who they are sending to, before finalizing the transaction. This increases both usability and user security.
We are dedicated to creating solutions that ease the use of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies while simultaneously increasing privacy and security. More coming soon :)
In the past, I co-founded what became the largest trade association for Internet Provider's and served as its Public Policy Director, helping to pass the Internet Tax Moratorium, as well as protecting online anonymity as various anti-spam bills tried to make it illegal. I led technology teams at 3 $1B+ IPO's, and created early standards around networking and DoS attack prevention.
In my free time I am an avid trail runner and SCUBA instructor. Pre-startup I spend a lot of time gardening, but at the moment my raised beds are full of weeds.


Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:32 pm
by rogerver
HI Michael,

I'm always amazed by the backgrounds of the people involved in Bitcoin. (Three $1B+ IPO's!!!!)
Yours shows again that the best and brightest are already directly involved in Bitcoin!

Are there any wallets available that we can test out today to see your service in action?

Can you explain the differences between what you are doing, and similar services like

Thanks so much for getting involved!

Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 6:46 pm
by justinwnewton
Hi Roger, thanks for the kind words and question.

Some places where you can use Wallet names to send today are and .

In a few days we will be releasing a Chrome extension that will allow you to use Wallet Names to send from any web based bitcoin or blockchain application. I am just testing the alpha version of it now, and I have to say, I kind of love it.

In terms of the differences between us and Onename, the differences are fairly large, and I would say that we are only superficially similar. Let me start out by saying that I am a huge fan of the work Onename is doing, both in terms of their customer facing product, and back end technology work. They are solving important problems that need to be solved, but different ones than we are solving at Netki.

I always hesitate to describe someone else's product, but if I were to describe Onename they are building a service that allows you to validate your social identity as well as providing a decentralized signature based login service. They do allow you to record a single wallet address in your profile, but it is not something I view as the main thrust of their service. I would love to see Onename support Wallet Names in their profiles as it would give users a fantastic total solution.

Wallet Names were built to make it easy to share your payment details without giving up your privacy.

By being both decentralized and distributed, someone only knows your Wallet Name if you share it with them, and there is no public ledger to troll to try and tie your identity and transactions together.

We also built in HD Wallets and Payment Requests in from launch. HD Wallets allow us to return a unique address per transaction, so that even if you give your wallet name out to 100 people, they can still only see the transactions that they were involved in. In order to make HD Wallets more accessible to developers and mobile wallet users, we released Addressimo: an Open Source server that will generate these unique addresses.

We also support multiple addresses for multiple currencies or assets so you can give out a single Wallet Name that supports dozens or hundreds of different currencies and the computers figure out the right address to send to.

The combination of HD Wallets and multiple currencies or assets leads to a huge mental accounting issue around tracking and sharing addresses, as well as real opportunities for human error where sending to the wrong address can lead to a lost asset. By automating and taking this out of the user's hands and just "doing the right thing by default" we have built a system where a user does what is easiest for them, and we take the steps to ensure their privacy is protected and the right asset gets to the right destination.

Our solution also allows developers providing services in the space to auto-register names for their users underneath their own domain. The integration we did with ChangeTip uses their "" domain to provide free wallet names for their users. If you type "" into your web browser, you go to a page on ChangeTip's site about my tipping profile. If you type the same thing, "" into a partnered wallet or service, you send money to my ChangeTip account. I would happily encourage any of you that want to test it out to send me money now :)

Well, it looks like my answer is getting a little long winded, so I am going to wrap it up here!



Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 7:55 pm
by BitGiveOrg
Hi Justin,

Thanks for coming on to the AMA. I really admire your work and your experience from the early days of the internet and success stories that we could all learn from. The bitcoin industry is young and your seasoned perspective is incredible valuable.

What are your the top lessons learned from the early days in the 90s that you have found are particularly relevant and critical to keep in mind now as you venture into this new industry?

Thanks, Connie

Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:39 pm
by justinwnewton
Thanks for the question. A few thoughts:

1> Build products and services that solve a compelling problem for people, and do it in an intuitive and comfortable way. Users don't care about the epic world changing power of bitcoin, they want it to solve a problem that they have in a way that is better than how they do it currently.

2> We are much better of self regulating and coming up with our own standards for the right way to do things than to allow things to be completely unconstrained and invite regulators in. No matter what your view of the role of regulation, if the platform is used for crime or to defraud people, regulators will get involved. And regulators will be the first ones to tell you that you will always be better off with the solution that you propose than if they have to propose one for you.

3> Do the right thing by default. I wish we had encrypted everything on the Internet at the transport layer from day one. This would have, in one step, prevented or at least greatly retarded online mass surveillance attempts. In the same way we have to ensure that the products that we are building to the right thing by default when it comes to the security and privacy of our users. If we expect users to take an extra step to protect their own privacy, for example, most won't. If we build a system that does the right thing by default, without them thinking about it, we are doing our part to build the future we want to live in. Designing in doing the right thing is always easier to do up front than to have to retrofit.

4> Now is the time to collaborate more than compete. There is more than enough that needs to be done in this ecosystem, and as such we should all be looking at ways to focus on our strengths, and partner with others who can focus on theirs. Put another way, if we all try and slice up the pie right now, we are all going to be pretty hungry, no matter who gets the biggest slice. If we all focus on growing the pie together, there will be plenty to eat for all of us, again no matter how we slice up the pie.

5> Last (for now, I can go on forever on this topic), remember to not get too far ahead of yourself. Its easy to imagine what the world will look like when nirvana is reached and a product has reached full scale. If you can't also figure out what the world looks like and how you grow when you have 0, 10, 100, and 1,000 customers, re-think your plan.


Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:50 pm
by notig
Is onename a competitor of sorts? I heard they were trying to make addresses easier (so instead of a long public address you would just have something like +myname . Or is there a way to work in conjunction with them?

Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:29 pm
by justinwnewton
Hi notig,
We see our services as more complementary with Onename than competitive.


Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:00 pm
by Diogenes
The idea is solid, but what's the business model? If I run a bitcoin service and want to use the Netki Wallet Name Service, do I have to license it from you? Is this on a per-user basis?

Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:30 pm
by justinwnewton
Hi Diogenes,
Good question.
The first thing to keep in mind is that we have published Wallet Names as an open source standard. Wallet Names can be self hosted and looked up without us even knowing that the name exists. As our service is built on top of DNSSEC (and optionally Namecoin) it is using a decades old standards based technology, specifically to make it easy for anyone to do this on their own. All of the open source lookup tools, lookup API's, and web based lookup tools that we provide all treat names hosted on our system and names hosted elsewhere completely equally. We want the standard to thrive whether or not the user or service provider chooses to have us host their names. That said, we do need to make some money :)
Our business model around Wallet Names is two fold. First, some users will come to us to register a vanity name, such as justinwnewton.bit, and we charge an annual registration fee. This can be as low as $1.95/year. We also do intend in the future to charge some wholesale hosting rates to providers who host names on our service. That would be based on the number of names hosted, but our expectations are that these costs will be pretty low, and maybe even free at low levels to allow startups an easy onramp. We provide the hosted service both to make money, but also to make it quicker and easier for the standard to spread than if everyone had to do it from scratch themselves. We want people and companies to use us as a service provider because we provide a great service at a fair price, not because we have locked them in to our technology.

Thanks for asking, and if you want more details, please reach out to me directly!


Re: Hi, I'm Justin Newton, co-founder and CEO of Netki, Ask Me Anything!

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:00 pm
by BitGiveOrg
Amazing insight and sage advice that we should all take note of and work hard to follow.

Thank you for the great answers!