Nostr, a decentralized social networking protocol, is currently available on the Apple App Store via Damus.
Nostr saw a surge in popularity after former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey developed an interest in the technology. He later donated 14 BTC to its creator. Due to the enthusiasm, Damus became the most downloaded mobile app for the protocol and reached its beta testing limit of 10,000 users.
The amount of support from users prompted its developers to apply for a listing on Apple’s App Store. Damus was approved on January 31st and a full release is now available to download on the app store.
Tweeting about the announcement, Dorsey called the launch “a milestone for open protocols.”
Nostr, which is an acronym for Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays, is a protocol. Nostr is not an application nor a “platform” (like Twitter, Facebook, etc.), but apps like Damus can be built on top of Nostr.
Users can create an account by generating a key pair, a public and private key, through a client application. The user’s “ID” on the protocol is represented by their public key, whereas their password is represented by their private key.
By connecting to a relay (a server hosted by you or by someone else) and signing the message with their private key, a user can broadcast a message to the protocol. Anyone can send a message to a specific user by using their public key. Users may then select a destination user’s public key to encrypt their message, which allows users to communicate privately using asymmetric cryptography. This ensures that only the private key corresponding to the destination user’s public key can decrypt the message.
The concepts behind Nostr are similar to Bitcoin. Through the use of asymmetric encryption, a Bitcoin transaction guarantees that only the legitimate recipient will be able to “decrypt” the received funds and spend them in a future transaction.
The technology shows promise because it uses a permissionless, open, and censorship-resistant communication protocol. Nostr can now reach a considerably larger audience than before thanks to Damus’ Apple App Store listing.