One other decentralized social networking software to problem Twitter has hit the App Retailer. Final 12 months, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey donated around $245,000 in bitcoin (then roughly 14 BTC) to fund the event of an open and decentralized social networking protocol often called Nostr, which is predicated on cryptographic key pairs. Now, the primary mobile app to leverage the protocol, Damus, has been revealed on the App Retailer, permitting anybody to check out the brand new expertise.
The brand new app is the newest of many Twitter rivals to emerge following Elon Musk’s takeover of the social community, which has pushed former Twitter customers to return to older apps like Tumblr and check out different decentralized social networking companies, like Mastodon. A number of startups are additionally spinning up their very own Twitter opponents as nicely, like T2 and Spill, which have been elevating seed rounds.
However Damus will not be a venture-backed startup. As a substitute, it’s one other experiment in decentralized social networking. The app’s promise is an open social community with out a government that makes selections in regards to the community’s content material or who’s allowed to take part, as Fb or Twitter do. As a substitute, explains the app’s homepage, “you’re in management…there is no such thing as a platform that may ban or censor you. You might be accountable for your knowledge,” it reads.
The location additionally touts end-to-end encrypted messaging — one thing Twitter doesn’t have, and which has involved customers within the wake of the Musk takeover. There’s additionally no requirement to enroll with a telephone quantity, e-mail, or identify due to how the Nostr works. That’s an enormous level of differentiation with Mastodon, the place a consumer’s account is connected to a specific server the place admins have some management over their server’s registered customers. That additionally means points with the Mastodon server you’re utilizing — like an outage — might affect your capability to make use of the community. And you could possibly danger dropping knowledge if that shutdown was sudden or everlasting.
On Damus, messages are distributed via decentralized relays — in actual fact, the identify Nostr is an acronym for “Notes and Different Stuff Transmitted by Relays.” There aren’t federated servers concerned, however some Nostr relays are stated to be higher for filtering out spam.
Above: a tweet from Nostr developer @fiatjaf
Bitcoin integration can be part of the Damus expertise, permitting customers to tip associates’ posts, for example. That is made doable by the use of Bitcoin’s Lightning Community. Plus, in contrast to Twitter, posts also can exceed 280 characters in size.
In accordance with Cointelegraph, Nostr’s early testers have included Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, whistleblower Edward Snowden and pro-crypto U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis.
Damus’s decentralized nature introduced an issue for getting via App Overview at first, as Apple stored asking the app to observe the identical guidelines as some other social community — like offering a approach for customers to flag objectionable content material, and having a coverage that makes it clear abuse will not be allowed. The Damus Twitter account had earlier tweeted the app was being rejected repeatedly, regardless of its claims that it had resolved the problems Apple raised.
That modified yesterday, because the app was lastly authorized, Damus announced on Twitter. The account has 17.7K followers as of the time of writing — so even when all of Damus’ potential customers have been to depart Twitter, it wouldn’t make a serious dent in Twitter’s consumer base. Nonetheless, Damus is just one of a number of Nostr initiatives in growth, in accordance with Nostr’s website.
Dorsey additionally celebrated the launch of the Damus app on Twitter, calling it “a milestone for open protocols.”
The previous Twitter exec, nevertheless, has been busy constructing out Bluesky, one other decentralized social community powered by a new AT protocol, poised to go dwell in a shopper app that may even resemble Twitter. In the meantime, Mastodon — which has been growing in popularity following Musk’s acquisition — is utilizing an older protocol known as ActivityPub. Tumblr may also add support for ActivityPub, its proprietor stated. Bluesky and Mastodon won’t be able to interact except one chooses to combine with the opposite’s protocol or another system is devised. Damus provides yet one more open protocol into this combine, making the brand new battle amongst Twitter rivals one which’s not essentially about Silicon Valley startups however social networking’s expertise foundations.
Damus developer William Casarin instructed us the brand new Nostr-powered app gained’t be interoperable with Mastodon or Bluesky both, however “there could possibly be bridges between these protocols” sooner or later.
Damus is on GitHub here in addition to on the App Store. The app is now ranked at No. 10 within the iOS Social Networking within the U.S. It’s additionally within the General rankings in 4 international locations: Hong Kong (9), Vanuatu (90), Singapore (91) and Macau (92).
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