Zapple Pay Outplays Apple In Damus Bitcoin Tipping Drama
Sometimes decentralized forces emerge victorious against big tech. Two independent developers, Ben Carman and Paul Miller came to the rescue of Damus and were able to build a workaround for bitcoin tipping on Damus despite Apple's efforts to ban the app. I haven't heard about Damus before. This story caught my attention and I had to find out more. I find efforts to utilize decentralized solutions like Bitcoin and Hive in building various apps and projects very interesting. So, installed the Damus app.
Damus is a an iOS app for Nostr. I have heard about Nostr before, but haven't paid much attention. Because we already have fully functional decentralized network that powers all things web here at Hive. That's why I usually do not like dedicating time for other efforts who try to build social platforms under the banner of web3. Usually they turn out to be another web2 solution under the disguise of web3. Moreover, I would think those who are truly interested in web3 solutions would do a little bit of research and at least take a look at what Hive has to offer. But of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong exploring new ideas and building new platforms and networks with the goal of decentralizing web.
Damus being an app that is build for Nostr, which according to its website and github seems to be an open protocol that is building decentralized and censorship-resistant social media. Great! That is what Hive does, and more. At the first glance, neither Nostr, nor Damus seem to be easy to understand what they do. In simplest terms, it looks like they are building decentralized Twitter alternative. It will probably take me a bit more time to get to know this platform. Now I am curious, and sure will dedicate sometime. Hive is also not so easy to understand at first. But what I found really interesting is Zapply Pay, and that is what this post is mainly about.
About a month ago, Apple threatens Damus with banning it from the App Store if the creator of Damus, William Casarin doesn't disable "zap" feature. Zap is a feature of the App and Nostr that allows users of the network to tip each other for their content in bitcoin using lightning network. As monopolies like Apple usually dictate the terms and small independent developers can't do anything against their demands, eventually Casarin agrees to disable zaps on content posted in the app. It still leaves an option for users to tip at the profile level.
Two creative developers, Ben Carman and Paul Miller, react to this situation and in no time develop Zapple Pay as response to Apple's actions. These developers are not part of Damus team and have no affiliation with its creator or the app. They are just bitcoin developers who believe in decentralized systems and came up with a clever workaround for tipping in Damus. Even naming of the solution is so smart - Zapple Pay, lol.
Zapple Pay allows user to zap/tip bitcoin with only using an emoji. This works for any Nostr client. By default they use 🤙, but users can use other emojis as well. Not only this was a clever response to Apple's actions and threats to ban the app, Zapple Pay developers say that if Apple still would retaliate against Damus, they would implement the same Zapple Pay feature for big tech apps like Twitter. Would Apple ban Twitter too? Hopefully this story ends here, and will go into history as one of the victories for decentralized systems.
I like Apple as an innovator and a company. But Apple has done such actions before many time and this just displays their monopolistic tendencies. There was time when they did the same thing to gaming companies and other apps. They even threatened to ban Kindle app from their App store, and Amazon didn't pay 30% for each sale of ebooks using the app on Apple devices. This is crazy. Not only this doesn't look good for the company, it also increases the prices for the consumers. Another example is when Apple made Coinbase disable the NFTs in the iOS apps or something like that. Because they wanted to be paid as well.
The case of Damus is crazier because zaps or tips are just that tips, users showing appreciating to each other, there is no sale of digital media to tax. It is not clear if these actions by Apple are in general their stance against bitcoin and crypto, or just an attempt to make more money.
What would be really interesting to see and I believe it would be immensely beneficial for Apple is to be involved in bitcoin and crypto themselves. They already have a sophisticated technology in their devices and software to utilize the crypto solutions. It doesn't look like Apple with take that path anytime soon. At least they could stay aside and don't be an obstacle for the innovation.
As I was exploring Damus, I wasn't really impressed. I am not sure if that's how apps is suppose to work, but all the images and video shared are completely blurred out until one clicks on them. Another red flag was when I went to Damus' website, it showed a web app option. When clicking to the web app it goes to a blank page with the following error message displayed:
Damus Web is down because there is someone trying to exploit browser loopholes to steal private keys. I would not recommend using a web client at this time. Damus iOS is not affected.
That is not a good sign. Potential for private keys being stole was a disappointment. Even though the message says iOS app is not affected, I am not sure I can trust it now. That is a good reminder to be careful with private keys and not trust any web or native apps. There are always some loopholes and exploits. The developers just may not know about them yet. I will monitor the progress with both Damus and Nostr and wish them good luck in their endeavors. But at this time it seems too risky to be involved.
Have you used Nostr or Damus? What are your experiences? Let me know in the comments.
Posted Using LeoFinance Alpha
Posted Using LeoFinance Alpha