What Is Nostr? And How To Get Started?

 Examining Nostr, the new decentralised Twitter alternative, in more detail

After Mastodon, Nostr is an additional attempt at a decentralised social network, albeit with some significant modifications. Here is all the information you require.

What is Nostr?
Nostr stands for “Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays”.

Nostr is not an app. It is a lightweight, simple yet extensible open protocol that allows building truly censorship resistant and decentralized social media platforms.

According to the official repo, it is “the simplest open protocol that is able to create a censorship-resistant global "social" network once and for all.” Is that true?

To find out, we need to understand how it works. The two components of Nostr are: • Clients • Relays

💡 "Noster" means "our" in Latin. Seemingly, "Nostra" means "our" in Italian, and "Nostre" in Catalan.


Every user runs a Client. A client is a piece of software responsible for the following operations: 1. Fetching data from Relays (more later) 2. Publishing data to Relays 3. Signing posts 4. Validating signatures on others' posts

Each client can specify which Relays to fetch posts from, so there is no central server that the users are required to trust. You can even run a Relay yourself!

Each user has his own Private Key, with which he signs messages. The rest of the world identifies that user and his posts with his Public Key. And that’s the first big problem.

Using simple public keys like your identity is not a new idea, but it doesn't work. Or rather, it works until it doesn't work anymore.

Here is the thing: 👉 the more you encrypt with a key, the more information about that key you are revealing, and the lower the security.

Encrypting every message with the same private key for a lifetime is not a good idea. Thus, this 👇 is the paradox of Nostr.

• If Nostr becomes mainstream, there would be every incentive to impersonate prominent figures, like politicians… • If their key is compromised, users will try to use a new one. • But at this point, who is legitimate and who is the impostor? Which one is the last key?

And at that point, Nostr is screwed. This is NOT a trivial problem, this is NOT something that can be solved by a “patch”.

But let's move on, explaining what Relays are.

A Relay is a very simple piece of software that: • queries content • sorts it • batches it • and forwards it to Clients. That’s it.

Such a simple architecture composed of Clients and Relays has the merit of being light (Nostr's main strength), but it is very limited. What Nostr achieves is basically an RSS feed in which Identity is a public key.

What it cannot do is decentralize other kinds of applications like YouTube, Spotify, collaborative documents like Google Docs and so on... Don't get me wrong. I am not saying there is no value in what and others are pursuing with Nostr.

But it makes no sense to think that this protocol is the holy grail to achieving a decentralized Web. To be fair, the developers have never claimed that (to my knowledge).

If only there was something like Nostr but: • with persistent Identities • capable of handling different use cases/data structures

How do I get started?

Twitter alternatives

Astral (doesn't work on safari) Coracle Damus (iOS)

Generate a private key, note it down, and you're done!




 -  Apple devices: 

     - Damus (TestFlight full, releasing to app store soon)

 -  Android

     - A few in development, not ready yet

 -   Web:   

    - https://astral.ninja

    - https://nostr.rocks/

    - https://notes.blockcore.net/ - Blockcore Notes

    - https://iris.to 

    - https://damus.io/ - Need an M1 chip on a Mac to use the site right now

Curated lists of Nostr Apps, Projects & Resources

https://github.com/aljazceru/awesome-nostr or https://www.nostr.net/


https://nostr-fzf.netlify.app/ - search verified users and channels

Basic Intro



Get NIP-05 verified:


Dergigi's Nostr Tips & Tricks


Nostr relay status


Nostr network stats:


Fiatjaf's tools for developing Nostr clients:


Find your Twitter follows on Nostr

https://nostr.directory/ (FIND ME: kazani351)

Bitcoiners on Nostr


Nostr image uploader (free):


Nostr Specs (Technical stuff)


https://github.com/rot13maxi/key-convertr - To safely convert a hex-encoded key to a bech32-encoded key - Techy but not out of control Techy.

Be sure to drop me a follow on Nostr:

credit: Pippellia

I hope this was helpful!

Thank you for reading!

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