Sticking my nose into Nostr
I've been exploring another new tech that seems popular lately, called Nostr. Nostr could be another decentralized twitter alternative.
What is Nostr?
Nostr stands for "Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays". It is a protocol that describes a way of passing simple messages around using servers called "Relays".
Nostr can be used for all sorts of things. You can play Chess over it, or have telegram like chat or a Reddit-like forum. But it's most popular use right now it create a Twitter-like forum.
Not a crypto coin
So it's not a crypto, it doesn't have a coin and it's not tied to any particular crypto coin. And you can use it without crypto coins. It seems to be very popular with the bitcoin crowd and many of those using it along with the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
Some degree of decentralization
Though it isn't a crypto, it does have some degree of decentralization and properties of crypto. It has public and private keys for your account. When you use it, you will connect to a number of relays, usually between 10 to 15, so censorship would be difficult. Some relays could censor or adopt bad policies, but you could avoid those.
The whole thing is open source, so you could always run your own Relay.
Basics of using Nostr
There are many ways to use Nostr, but I'm going to go over how I did it. Just like with a crypto, the first step is to come up with your Public and Private keys. Your public key serves as your identity, and you must guard your private key, and write it down somewhere safe.
Don't enter private keys directly into a site.
We are all Hive veterans right? You don't enter your private Hive keys when logging into hive.blog or whatever. You are smart and use Keychain to sign with your keys.
Well Nostr has similar options that you should use. Your choices are either Alby (https://getalby.com/) or nos2x (https://github.com/fiatjaf/nos2x). Either one is probably fine, but Alby will also give you Bitcoin Lightning functionality. I used nos2x to generate my keys but then uninstalled it and entered those keys into Alby and can just use that.
Nostr client: https://astral.ninja/
There some different options to get on the Nostr network, but I choose https://astral.ninja/. Not sure if this is the best choice, but it's what I choose and seems to work fine enough. When you sign on to this site, again, don't enter in your private key, but instead, use your browser plugin to sign for you. Then you can go to settings and set up your information and profile picture and such.
I haven't put much thought into what relays I use. I appear to be using nine relays which is probably fine for now. One possible pitfall to the system is that, if a friend or someone you are interested in following doesn't use any of the same relays you do, then you won't see their messages. This can be easily fixed by adding one or two relays in common.
If you have too few relays, then you may be missing out on content, but start to add too many, and your performance may suffer. The sweet spot seems to be around 10-15 relays, which is a lot.
The holy checkmark
There is another step you can do. You don't have to do it, but doing it makes you extra cool. You want to be as cool as you can right? And get that lovely golden checkmark next to your name. This is called NIP05 verification, and what it does is verify you through a third party site or system.
There are a bunch of different ways to do this, but, if you are a Hive person, which I know you all are, there is a nice and easy way to do it, which I will describe.
How to get NIP05 verified for a Hive Person
- Go to https://hive.ausbit.dev/ This is a cool site made by a cool dude named @ausbitbank. Log into this site.
- Got to "Posting JSON Metadata"
- There should a little button for "Nostr", click on that.
- You can enter your PUBLIC Nostr key here and then submit it. This will now associate your Nostr with your Hive.
- Go back to your Nostr client, edit your Settings.
- There should be a place to edit your NIP-05 Identifier.
- Put in (your hive name)@v4v.app
- Through the magic of @brianoflondon v4vApp, you will be verified!
Also if you want more detail, read the post https://peakd.com/@brianoflondon/what-is-nostr-and-why-is-it-exploding-a-guide-for-hiveans which is pretty good and helped me with the verification.
Follow me on Nostr!
My public key is:
Would be fun to see some of you on there. Nostr is a bit rough around the edges. We'll see how it turns out. How they can handle spam and other problems that turn up.
(image created using Midjourney, used with permission)
Posted using Neoxian City