Nostr-based decentralized Twitter alternative Damus goes live on Apple App Store

Quick Take

  • Damus promises a decentralized alternative to social networks like Twitter using the Nostr protocol.
  • The app, which includes an integration with the Bitcoin Lightning Network, now has the opportunity to reach a much wider audience.

Twitter alternative Damus went live on the Apple App Store yesterday, promising to deliver a censorship-resistant social network with end-to-end private messaging that users control. It's based on the decentralized networking protocol Nostr.

Nostr gained popularity in December, particularly among Bitcoin enthusiasts, after former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey showed strong support for its use case. He later donated 14 BTC (over $300,000) to Nostr creator “fiatjaf” for its ongoing development.

The Bitcoin connection doesn’t end there. Interoperable with other open protocols, Damus has also integrated a Layer 2 Lighting Network widget to make bitcoin payments and tips directly on the platform.

Dorsey shared Damus’s announcement with his 6.5 million Twitter following, calling it a “milestone for open protocols,” while also highlighting a Nostr application on Google Play Store named Amethyst.

Damus quickly hit its beta testing limit of 10,000 users but faced a few initial rejections from the big tech giant earlier this month before finally gaining approval. Now listed on the Apple App Store, Damus has the opportunity to reach a much larger audience, providing a more familiar and user-friendly way to access Nostr compared to alternative web clients.

A team of 44 software developers have contributed to building Damus, led by one of Nostr’s core developers William Casarin. Like the Bitcoin protocol, Nostr (Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays) is permissionless. Users generate a key pair, with the public key acting like a username and the private key used to sign the content posted. Users then broadcast messages to the protocol by connecting to decentralized relays that store the data via various web clients or apps like Damus.

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