Why we need Nostr

Why Nostr and the broader idea of decentralizing the internet is an important concept.

Do we really need another publishing protocol?

Publishing on the web is fundamentally broken. What started as an open web of pages created by individuals has collapsed into a centralized oligopoly controlled by a handful of the world’s most powerful companies.

These companies control, often in ways they themselves don’t even understand, what we read, who we talk to, and what ideas gain traction in our culture. Their pursuit of “engagement” has had tremendous negative consequences for society.

It’s time for the web to return to it’s open and decentralized roots. It’s time for us to take back control of what information we consume, and how we consume it. It’s time for us to build more open-minded and constructive communities on internet.

Nostr enables this.

What Nostr enables

  • Simple, flexible Event format enables publishing of all types: Social media posts, long-form content, rich media, ecommerce, etc.
  • Verifiability that notes come from a specific user. This helps to combat spam and bots.
  • Users can connect to many relays, and run their own relays. This makes it hard to censor ideas and people.
  • Integrated with lightning, Nostr enables new value-for-value business models that have the potential to be more fair.

The status quo

Mainstream media

  1. Uses your attention to sell ads
  2. Uses outragous headlines to create click-bait
  3. Focuses on negativity and outrage (refer to point 1)
  4. Struggling old-school business model creates desperation trying to keep up with big tech social media

Big tech social media

  1. Uses your attention to sell ads
  2. Uses bizarre techniques to keep you addicted (refer to point 1)
  3. Decides what content to show you based on secret algorithms that you can’t inspect or change
  4. Has complete control over who can participate and who is censored
  5. Is overrun with spam and bots

Mastodon (and other federated social media platforms)

  1. User identities are attached to domain names which are controlled by third-parties.
  2. These third-parties can ban you, just like centralized social media platforms. Server owners can also block other servers.
  3. Migration between servers is difficult and can only be accomplished if servers cooperate.
  4. There are no clear incentives to run servers, therefore they tend to be run by enthusiasts and people who want to have their name attached to a cool domain. Because of this, users are subject to the despotism of a single person, which is often worse than that of a big company like Twitter, and they can’t migrate out.
  5. Since servers tend to be run by amateurs, they are often abandoned. This effectively bans everybody that signed up via that server.
  6. There are huge issues with data duplication across servers.