What is Nostr? A Guide to the Decentralized Social Media Protocol
You may have noticed a lot of buzz on social media about a new social media protocol called Nostr, particularly within the bitcoin community. Nostr uses a lot of the principles that the Bitcoin protocol applies to monetary policy, and applies them to a communications “policy”. If you’re curious about what Nostr is and how to create a Nostr account, you’ve come to the right place.
We think it’s important to discover, learn about and embrace new technologies that help us move towards becoming more in control of our assets, and frankly, our identity online is quickly becoming one of our greatest assets. Our goal is that you will feel comfortable joining the already 3,000,000 users who are embracing a decentralized social media experience.
What is Nostr?
Nostr (which stands for “Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays”) is a decentralized social media protocol that puts users in control of their personal data and posts. This is the opposite of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms which hold all of your data on their servers, Nostr tucks all the data into a private key that sits with the owner of that private key (the user), not the owner of a platform (the company).
Similar to Bitcoin, Nostr is an open-source protocol. Where Bitcoin enables global, decentralized, and censorship-resistant finance, Nostr is an open protocol that enables global, decentralized, and censorship-resistant public communications (something we’ve come to know as social media). The similarities between Nostr and Bitcoin have attracted many bitcoiners to the platform, giving them a sense of community that is reminiscent of the early days of bitcoin.
Understanding Nostr Keys
Creating a Nostr account involves generating a public/secret key pair, similar to bitcoin. Think of your public key as the email you use to sign up to a traditional social media account and your secret key (aka private key) as the password you use to access the account. Similar to your bitcoin private keys, if you lose your secret key, it cannot be recovered.
While this might seem quite technical, many clients (which we’ll discuss below) make it quite simple to create a new set of keys, similar to how many bitcoin wallets (clients) make it simple to create a new set of keys for a bitcoin wallet.
Your public key begins with the prefix “npub1,” and your private key begins with “nsec1.” It’s crucial to store your private key somewhere secure. If someone gets your private key they get access to your Nostr account and would be able to send messages and create public posts posing as you. While at the surface this might seem harmless, there are real-world implications.
Protocol and Clients
Similar to how Bitcoin is a decentralized protocol for storing and exchanging value, Nostr is a decentralized protocol for sharing content on the internet.
To interact with the Nostr protocol, you’ll need to use a client. This is basically just an app or platform that helps you interact with the protocol. The beauty of Nostr is that different clients (apps and websites) create different user experiences, but all communicate in the same protocol. This means that you might use a different client from the team at Bitcoin Well, but you will still be able to interact with the team at Bitcoin Well from your client. Think of this as cross-platform integration. Imagine if your Twitter feed communicated seamlessly with your Instagram feed.
When you decide to use a Nostr client, you have complete control over your information. So you are able to test multiple different Nostr clients, similar to the way you can test multiple different bitcoin wallets to get the one that suits your unique needs. All of your posts, followers, and messages are tied to your secret key, not the client.
We have used multiple different clients. On iOS, we have found Damus to be the best option. On Android, we have found Amethyst to be the best option. For a web experience, we have found Iris.to to be the best option. However, you are able to try some out and change your client at any time.
Benefits of Nostr
By using Nostr, you can be part of a global, decentralized community that values privacy, security, and control over their personal data. So, if you’re looking for a social media platform that puts you in control, Nostr is the way to go. Join the millions of users who are already embracing a decentralized social media experience!
Don’t forget to follow Bitcoin Well on Nostr – npub19mf4jm44umnup4he4cdqrjk3us966qhdnc3zrlpjx93y4x95e3uq9qkfu2