(This article is for training myself on English composition)
I stopped using Nostr recently. It was not because it was boring. I enjoyed using it.
However, I could not use multiple SNSs simultaneously and decided to focus on one.
I did not choose Nostr for some reasons. One reason was that Nostr was too much fun. I always need a good balance because I am absorbed into SNS quickly.
This article is about what I learned from Nostr and my impression of Nostr and its technology.
What is Nostr?
Nostr is a set of protocols for the social networking system.
There are plenty of unique features in Nostr. However, I don’t feel I must explain the same thing again. There have already been tons of good articles about Nostr on the web.
For example, there is a simple but intuitive explanation here.
The definitions of protocols are here.
The protocol is defined as a list of “Nostr Implementation Possibilities” called NIPs.
The name NIPs must have been inspired by BIPs, Bitcoin Improvement Proposals. You can understand why Nostr attracts Bitcoin users because of its affinity.
The project is active, and a lot of possibilities are under discussion.
By referring to these pages, Noster is like this:
- The protocol is open to the public via git-hub
- Focuses on decentralized communication from one dominant service provider by utilizing:
- Conventional Websocket communication with a server called “relay.”
- Simple event-object-based message exchange
- Multiple relays from a client software
- Verifiable event with key-pair and elliptic curve cryptography
- The protocol contains a procedure to send Bitcoin through a lightning network called “Zap.”
Each user holds a key pair to sign an event (posting a note, changing the profile) to multiple relays.
This feature surprisingly simplifies the system. No login process is needed to throw an event to a relay, except the access is limited to specific users.
This flexibility also causes a lot of side effects. Please check these articles about trade-offs. It’s interesting.
Who are the users?
Here is a categorization of users that just came out of my tiny brain.
- Tech Enthusiast
- Independent Artists
- SNS Early Adopter
Unsurprisingly, Nostr keeps attracting Bitconners because the protocol contains ways to manipulate wallets on Lightning Network.
I saw many users posting how incredible the technology used for cryptocurrencies is, along with the toxicity of the conventional banking system.
Tech enthusiasts are leading the improvement. You can see they are proposing many ideas here.
Nostr is a set of protocols. We need servers called “relay” and clients to make everything happen. Software creators are also essential to this community. The “Official” alone is not enough.
The discussion between the relay and client creators and users is surprisingly active. Most of the software considered important is now open to the public. That is why discussing protocols, relays, and clients is so much activity.
Independent artists are also becoming interested more and more in Nostr. There might be a couple of significant reasons, but probably because they are also often tech enthusiasts and SNS early adopters simultaneously. SNSs are the best places for their arts to get attention, so now they know about these techs. NFT may also be why many artists have heard about Nostr before. NFTs have affinities with Bitcoin as you may have already known.
Lastly, there is no denying that Nostr is also an attractive choice for all SNS early adapters. That"s for sure.
Discussion and Controversy
This technology has many pros and cons.
Nostr is incredibly simple to start using. You don’t need to register or even have to log in. All you have to do is to get a key pair.
The method of key pair generation has already been opened to the public as NIP-06. The method is the same as described in BIP-32 and BIP-30.
The secret key identifies each user. Each user needs to sign each post or request to change any status with their secret key. It will prevent someone from altering you without using a password.
Nostr uses a server to receive an event-based-massage to handle everything, including posting a message, liking, reposting, and changing your status. Each event and response should be coded to JSON and exchanged through Websocket. The server is called “relay.” Nostr allows users to run their relays, and client software can submit an event to any relay.
Users can run their relays for their own purpose, such as a relay with a paid subscription for users in a specific community.
This simplicity creates a lot of fun. However, at the same time, you will see millions of spam are kept posting every second. This system is also convenient for spammers or someone with a malevolent will.
It looks so difficult to stop them by banning them because Nostr does not have a “Log in User.” Only each key pair identifies each sender, and the keys can infinitely be generated in an instant.
Nostr only looks to have an excellent way to eliminate the evil users if each relay runner rejects such users.
There may be a way of sharing the keys of “bad users” to be rejected. However, I am not sure the users would prefer this “centralized” way since many users like Nostr’s decentralized technology.
I am curious to see how variational each user’s usage has already been!
At first, you will see Bitcoinners stand out, posting memes and how awful current fiat banks and the money system are. I have not yet seen they are exchanging helpful information about trading, but at least they are having fun.
I am not sure Bitcoins will be like a hero to make commoners free from the conventional baking system, which is thought to be created to make riches richer. I am still determining.
They also enjoy zapping and sending small amounts of bitcoins using LN to each other. I still need to become more knowledgeable about Lightning Network. However, I can understand how fast and cheap sending money can be with Lightning Network. We can see someone zaps if someone posts useful information or incredible artwork.
It is so interesting how easily people can receive money from someone. I have never seen people send money quickly and carelessly (I"m complimenting!) anywhere on the internet.
Maybe soon, someone can make enough money to keep doing their activity.
Making money is essential and probably unavoidable for most internet-based systems since they need money. The scene on Nostr can be a different type of ecosystem for SNS other than other SNSs such as Twitter and Mastodon.
SNS early adopters are also enjoying it very much.
However, it does not look like it is not only because of Nostr but also because the wave of the new distributed social networking era is coming to us.
After Elon Musk took over Twitter, we heard the number of active Mastodon users is significantly increasing. We have also recently heard former Twitter employees are building new SNS-based media in which human rights on the internet are considered sincerely. Now we are witnessing Bluesky rising, founded by Jack Dorsey. And Jack looks enjoying using Nostr!
To be honest, there is no conclusion about this article.
I would just like to keep an eye on Nostr for a while.
Nostr is the best SNS that I felt the possibility of success in the future.
When Elon Musk revealed his strategy for Twitter, focusing more on people who would like to promote their creations, I strongly agreed with the plan and also felt a bit reluctant to do so at the same time. It was because I thought we, the audiences, were being underrated.
Which SNS is the promised land? If you are just an audience?
I have no answer to that question, or it might have been my time to go to the creator’s side.
Either way, as an audience or a creator, Nostr looks like the best choice for both of them because of its flexibility in usage and relays and the fact the protocol innately contains the money transfer function.
I hope the side effects caused by its nature soon be resolved.
I would also like to contribute to improvement, but I need more time.