Recently, with Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey and current CEO Musk’s completely different attitudes towards the same social protocol Nostr, Nostr has attracted the attention of the community.
On December 14, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey received a recommendation from Twitter user Koty_Auditore to fund Nostr. After studying Nostr, Jack Dorsey announced on the 15th that he would donate 14 bitcoins (worth about $245,000) to fund the development of Nostr.
On December 18, Twitter officially announced that it would ban users whose promotions contain links to other social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Truth Social, Mastodon, etc. Nostr is on the list.
As a result, Nostr is currently going viral on Twitter. So what’s so special about Nostr?
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What is Nostr
Nostr is short for Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays.
According to Nostr’s official github, it is the simplest open protocol capable of creating a censorship-resistant global “social” network once and for all . It does not depend on any trusted centralized server, so it is resilient; it is based on encryption keys and signatures, so it is tamper-proof; it does not depend on P2P technology, so it can work normally.
How does Nostr work?
- Nostr has two components: clients and relays. Each user runs a client (clients), and anyone can run relays (relays).
- Each user is identified by a public key. Every post is signed. Each client verifies these signatures.
- Clients fetch data from a relay of their choice and publish data to other relays of their choice. A relay does not communicate with another relay, only directly with users.
- For example, to “follow” someone, a user simply instructs their client to query the relays it knows about for posts from that public key.
- At startup, the client queries all the relays it knows about for data on all users it follows (for example, all updates since the last day), and then displays that data to users in chronological order.
- “Posts” can contain any type of structured data, but the most commonly used data will go into the standard so that all clients and relays can handle them seamlessly.
A short summary of how Nostr works
Each runs a client, which can be a native client, a web client, etc. To publish something you write an article, sign it with your key and send it to multiple relays (servers hosted by other people or yourself). To get updates from other people, you can ask multiple relayers if they know about those other people. Anyone can run a relay. Relay is very simple, it does nothing but accept some people’s posts and forward them to others. The relay does not have to be trusted. The signature is verified on the client side.
How to use Nostr
To use nostr, you need a client and a key.
Your key is your identity. You can think of the public key (npub…) as your username and your private key (nsec…) as your password.
Keys come in two formats, you can convert between them using this online tool: https://damus.io/key/
Obviously, you have to trust whoever is running the site, and some clients are vulnerable to XSS.
You can use Alby or nos2x (Firefox, Chrome) to generate your keys. These extensions will store your keys securely (or at least more securely).
You can also use these extensions to store existing keys and wipe webapp instances (in case you used web client to generate keys).
It’s still early days, so get ready.
Check nostr.net regularly, it maintains a curated list of clients. Here are some recommendations:
- nostr.rocks – Twitter style interface (Branle)
- anigma.io – Telegram-style interface
- astral.ninja – Fork of Branle with different UI and global feed
- iOS: Damus (also available on MacOS)
- Android: Nosky, Nostros (both in development)
Relays are simple servers, you need clients to connect to the relay for it to work. There are many relays that you can run yourself.
looking for others
Use this search query to find the nostr public keys of people you follow on Twitter:
Most clients will display the image URL as an image, so you can upload any image to a site like imgbb.com or imgur and then publish the image as a URL like this: https://i.ibb.co/w4WvnYb /image.png
Some clients will render a Lightning receipt locally, showing the recipient, amount, and a payment button. Damus is one such client.