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Namecoin sounds neat, but I know that the strength of the network depends on the amount of computing power in use. Namecoin isn't as popular as Bitcoin, so it would be easier for an attacker to control the network. I'm curious how big the difference actually is.

How does the amount of computing power in use compare between the Namecoin and Bitcoin networks?

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Since Namecoin started using merged mining with Bitcoin, its effective processing power increased substantially. The current difficulty is 1063443.

This is very high considering the resale value of namecoins (1 namecoin is worth 0.002 of a bitcoin) and given that the difficulty is 49% of the Bitcoin difficulty.

The Bitcoin network currently is around 16TH/s, so you'd need around 8TH/s to successfully attack the Namecoin network. That would be pretty expensive!

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    US$4 million worth of hardware to attack, US$100K of market value of all namecoins issued so far, using the current exchange rate. – Stephen Gornick Aug 16 '12 at 23:57

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