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What is Nostr?
A simple explanation
The traditional way apps work on the internet
When you use the internet today you’re typically using a service which manages both the interface to your experience (e.g., a mobile app) and the data which drives the experience. For example, to use Twitter today you download the mobile app developed by the company to login, read and write tweets. Those tweets are stored in Twitter’s database.
Note, that if you wanted to build a new app which accesses the database controlled by Twitter, Inc. you would need to ask them for an API key and you would be subject to a strict set of limitations they would enforce to align with their advertising business model.
A new model for apps with Nostr
Nostr is an open standard that makes it easy for anyone to build apps that are separate from their underlying data store. Anyone who wants to host data for users can choose to run a “relay”. Any app compatible with Nostr can send the same data to multiple relays. People probably mostly run these for fun today to learn about this new idea, but in the future people might run relays for commercial or ideological reasons.
You don’t need to ask a company or standards body to participate. Relays just receive and send all the messages from/to anyone who asks for them. They’re super simple.
What can you do with this?
This makes it possible to develop all kinds of new open information/communication services. For a simple example, you could build a Twitter-like app which is separate from the underlying data stores where the “tweet-like” messages are kept. As long as there’s some relay out there that will store and forward your messages you can’t be de-platformed.
The model of Nostr separates interfaces from data stores and means we’re about to unlock a lot of developer creativity (as well as freedom for everyone to have unfettered conversations on a more open Internet)!
You can learn more detail by reading the Nostr Github.