Decentralized Twitter alternative goes live on Apple’s App Store
The Damus app is powered by Nostr which uses decentralized relays to distribute end-to-end encrypted messages.
Damus, a so-called “Twitter killer” built on a decentralized network has been approved on the Apple App Store.
The Damus team confirmed the approval to its 11,500 Twitter followers on Jan. 31, following what it claims was at least three rejections from the Big Tech player.
Shortly after, Twitter co-founder and Nostr contributor Jack Dorsey shared the news with his 6.5 million followers, with the entrepreneur labeling it as a “milestone” moment for open source protocols:
a milestone for open protocols…#nostr is now officially on the Apple App Store with @damusapp:https://t.co/GQmvPE5nfX
— jack (@jack) January 31, 2023
The app dubs itself the “social network you control” and is a messaging service built on Nostr — a decentralized network enabling encrypted, end-to-end private messaging, among other things.
It plans to become a social media platform with uncensored content. It also has built-in payments through the Bitcoin (BTC) layer-2 Lightning network according to a Jan. 27 post from Protos.
No servers run the network. Instead, Nostr utilizes decentralized relays to distribute messages.
Nostr developers are also focused on using Bitcoin and the Lightning Network to prevent Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) spam attacks on the Damus app.
There have been 44 different software developers who have contributed to the code for the Damus web app, according to the team’s GitHub page.
Neat way to fetch bitcoin addresses: #nostr encrypted dms. pic.twitter.com/lMlnIhf3fg
— William Casarin ⚡️ (@jb55) January 29, 2023
Getting Damus on the Apple App Store didn’t come without issues though.
The Damus Twitter page posted that it had failed in at least three attempts before finally being approved:
We replied again clarifying where and how all these features are implemented. That’s all we can do at this time….
— Damus⚡️ (@damusapp) January 31, 2023
One of Nostr’s core developers, William Casarin also shared some frustration on his personal Twitter account, stating that it would be a “shame” if Apple users couldn’t use Nostr natively.
Related: An inside look at the moral and technical considerations of crypto social media
While the exact partnership between Dorsey and Nostr isn’t known, the billionaire entrepreneur sent over 14 BTC — worth about $250,000 at the time — in mid-December to help the Nostr developer team.
While the news appeared to have increased awareness of the application amongst the Bitcoin community, other high-profile figures have tested out the Damus app too.
Amongst those include Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden and pro-crypto U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis.
One of the cool things about Nostr (“Notes and other stuff transmitted by relays”, a new decentralized protocol that replaces things like Twitter and Instagram)—beyond censorship resistance—is that you aren’t limited to 280 characters.
Find me there. pic.twitter.com/B7JUHeeSdP
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 23, 2023
At the time of writing, the Damus web app has run into problems. A warning message on the site homepage reads:
“Damus Web is down because there is someone trying to exploit browser loopholes to steal private keys. I would not recommend using a web client at this time. Damus iOS is not affected.”