What is Nostr?
Nostr is one of those things that pop up every decade or so, or even less frequently. It’s one of those unique things that just makes perfect sense to you once you try to read about it.
Like everything that is in its early stages of development, things might look a bit chaotic and not very user-friendly for the average person. But Nostr is rapidly growing in numbers, and the developers are adapting quickly to the feedback of their new users.
What is the big deal?
You have to remember we are still EXTREMELY early in the development stages of Nostr, and what you see today will be nothing like what it will look like in the years to come. People will look at screenshots from what it looks like today, and it will give nostalgic feelings, but it most likely won’t resemble the future UI at all.
The last time I got this feeling of experiencing something new, important, and rare technology was with Bitcoin. And it’s not a coincidence that these two technologies are going hand in hand. But more on that later.
So, how does it work?
“Nostr” stands for “Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays”
To quote nostr.how:
“Nostr is a simple, open protocol that enables truly censorship-resistant and global value-for-value publishing on the web.”
In other words: Nostr is a fully decentralized social media platform. This is, at least in my view, a revolutionary idea to the established social media platforms out there.
Nostr is a open-source protocol that operates without a centralized server, and provides users with the freedom to run their own clients. The client you choose, and use is not the system itself, it’s simply a tool to access the Nostr network. The clients can be different in its functionality and uses.
To share content, users sign it with their private key, writes post, and transmit it to other servers that subsequently relay the information to other users. The relays are straightforward, with the sole responsibility of accepting posts and forwarding them to relay participants.
Nostr is a new way to create a social network that nobody can censor or control.
Similar to HTTP or TCP-IP, Nostr is an open standard upon which anyone can build. It is not a proprietary app or service that requires users to sign up, but rather an open and accessible protocol that is available to all who wish to use it. Just like the Internet itself.
Do we really need more social media platforms?
No, replacing social media platforms is the word you are looking for here, to completely change the game theory in favor of the users – you!
You are the one who owns your profile: your pictures, your words, and everything you put into it. Not some big tech corporation listed on Nasdaq.
The internet was once a place where anyone could share their thoughts and ideas on their own terms. But now, a few huge companies control most of what we see and do online. They choose what we read, who we talk to, and what’s popular. They do all this just to make us spend more time on their sites, in a way forcing us to read what they want us to read.
Nostr is a new way of sharing and connecting online that puts you in control. It’s like going back to the old days of the internet when everyone had a say. You own Nostr just as much as anyone else in this world.
It is more important than ever to take back control of your own rights as a human being on the internet, now that social media and everything that goes along with it takes more and more control of our lives.
Your profiles out on the internet are, in some way, what define you as a human, at least as a digital self. It is imperative to regain that control of that self, as social media keeps growing and becoming more and more powerful.”
I'm sold. How do I get started?
1. Setting up your profile
Nostr is just a word for a set of rules that help people share messages on the internet. To access Nostr, you’ll need a client – this is like an app that talks to Nostr for you. You can use different clients on your computer, phone, or even on the web.
So, what you need to get started is to simply find a client that suits you. Desktop? Web? Android? iOS? Here are our picks:
Simply follow the steps provided by the client you selected, and you are on your way to setting up your profile.
With Nostr, each account has two special keys – a public key and a private key. Think of your public key like a username and your private key like a password, but much more important! If you lose your private key, you lose access to your account forever, so be sure to keep it safe. This is your signature and password for all your current and future use of Nostr.
Keep it secret, keep it safe!
2. Verify your user
Now things start to get a little more complicated, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
NIP-05 is the fancy term Nostr uses to verify that the user is real. It is what keeps Nostr safe from bots and spam.
Compared to other social media platforms, Nostr actually requires you to own a domain name to verify yourself, making it very difficult and expensive for bots to operate. By telling Nostr (by uploading a unique file) that you are in control of a domain, Nostr will provide you with a checkmark on your name, telling the rest of the network that you are a real person.
Luckily, there are several providers out there who can help you with this process, so you don’t actually need to get yourself a domain to verify yourself. We have a list for you to get started with verification.
Free to use: (please consider supporting them if you use them)
Pay to use:
3. Upload profile picture and Banner
This is fairly straightforward; most clients will provide you with an URL to paste in your profile picture and banner.
If you don’t have anywhere to upload, we recommend using nostr.build to upload and enter the address into your profile settings.
4. Connecting Bitcoin to Nostr
As mentioned earlier, Bitcoin is a huge part of Nostr. By integrating the Lightning Network, users can “Zap” eachother on the network. A Zap is an amount of Sats you can pay a user for it’s post, to tip etc.
It is in simple terms the currency of Nostr.
Simply download a Lightning Wallet of your choice and link it up to your Nostr profile.
We recommend using Wallet of Satoshi. Here you simply press “Receive”, select “LN Address”. Copy this email looking link into your profile setting called “LN Address”. You are now ready to Zap and be Zapped.
With this feature, Bitcoin and Nostr is going hand in hand into the future of social media.
Need more help?
Hit me up on Nostr: npub1s7qhqerzpq9j78mz7she4epxu76hrh2afuxvusjfazn0p0wxjntqyzhktu. Follow me, and I will do my best to help you out.