Will ours be the new Twitter for bitcoiners?

Let’s start by breaking down the acronym — Nostr. First of all, it stands for “Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays.”

Second, Nostr is not a platform or an app, it’s a protocol. In the same way that both bitcoin and the Internet are protocols, Nostr is simply an agreed structure for sharing information similar to social media. Internet is a protocol for sharing data, bitcoin is a protocol for sharing value and, in the same way, Nostr is a protocol for sharing ‘notes and other things’.

Unlike the dozens of blockchain-based social media platforms that have been generated over the past decade, Noster doesn’t have a blockchain behind it. No token, no ICO, no governance. It’s simply a network of relays that forward notes to other relays. Then, ‘clients’ like Damus and Ametista show the notes of the authors that interest you.

These are crucial aspects to understand on Nostr because there are some less than intuitive takeaways that we can now explore.

A key to rule them all

Imagine that you have the same login credentials for all your social media accounts. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and everyone else. Here’s how Nostr works by default

I mentioned earlier that I use Nostr through an iOS app called Damus. After downloading the app and creating a public and private key (much like a crypto wallet), I gained access to a huge feed of notes (posts) through my mobile device

The nice thing about Nostr is that I can take the same public and private key and access any other application built on Nostr.

You can access your posts from an Android app called Amethyst or directly from the browser by accessing There are also clones of platforms that we already use, such as Nostrgram, an Instagram clone.

What’s important to understand with this functionality is that — if I wanted to create a new application on Nostr, I would inherit the entire Nostr user base by default. If I were to build Nostr-BnB, an app similar to AirBnB on Nostr, I would immediately have about 500k users, without the need to grow my user base
from scratch.

Bitcoin Interoperability

As mentioned above, there is no blockchain behind Nostr. That said, Nostr uses the same cryptographic scheme as bitcoin to generate private and public keys. The implication here is that by default, your Nostr account is also a bitcoin wallet

All of this is fine, but we know that the bitcoin blockchain doesn’t have the transaction throughput required to handle millions of transactions per second. It’s simply incapable of performing microtransactions at the speed and scale needed to facilitate payments within a social media application. This is where the Lightning Network comes into play

Our Zaps

Nostr users can connect an LNURL to their profile, allowing them to accept zaps or flash payments directly to their lightning wallet. Users can zap a note or profile in seconds. This is a very different way of interacting with content than simply voting positive or welcome. It’s enjoying it with a small (or not so small) amount of bitcoin linked to it

Zapping is a game changer for the Lightning network because up until this point, there weren’t really many applications that used lightning. People were starting to use it to make payments here or there, but since the launch of Damus and the integration of zaps, the lightning network has experienced massive growth in the number of
lightning payments per day.

The favorite lightning wallet, Wallet of Satoshi, is about to exceed 1 million lightning payments per month.

Is ours only for Bitcoiners?

Nostr is only a couple of years old. The early adopters of Nostr and its related applications are largely bitcoiners. But this is a bit of a risk, since ideally Nostr-based applications become the preferred method of social interaction due to their properties of resistance to censorship and account interoperability

Although Nostr is mainly used by bitcoiners, there are many initiatives and even a conference (called Nostrica) aimed at building useful applications on Nostr. Some examples include Shopify-like marketplaces and video platforms similar to YouTube.

Lots of construction to do on Nostr

Nostr is in its infancy and there is a way to go before the platform can compete with billion-dollar companies like Google and Meta. But Nostr has some advantages that give it a real chance to replace some of the most popular apps in the world

To begin with, Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, invested his time and effort in seeing Nostr developed. While it may not be able to bring Nostr to the masses on its own, it is undoubtedly a valuable voice in the budding community

Open Source for victory

Finally, Nostr is open source. This means that anyone can build their ideas on it and benefit from its network effects

If we know anything about open source technologies (such as bitcoin, Linux, version control, TCP/IP), we know that in some cases they have an advantage over similar applications that are closed source.

Time will tell if a small and simple protocol for sharing notes will be able to de-platform the goliths of social media and serve a victory to bitcoiners and to the censorship that fights renegades everywhere.

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