How does nostr work?

A high-level overview of how nostr works and key things to understand to get started with nostr.

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Nostr is comprised of simple events . Events can be shaped to represent nearly anything that is used in social media applications. Events can be short-text posts, similar to Twitter or Instagram posts. It can be extended to long-form events for use cases like blogging. You can use them for other features that social media has, which are things like reactions or “likes”, follows, unfollow, and direct messages.

The possibilities are endless! Since it’s an open source standard, anyone can implement new events or propose a spec for protocol wide adoption. emeralize will adopt a nostr event that introduces reputational badges for the completion of multiple courses and being a power-user. Moreover, begin to work on an achievement specification to enable certificates that can be displayed across the entire social network.


What’s unique about nostr is that when someone uses an app that has nostr network support or what’s referred to as a nostr client, a single event of any kind or type will be sent to multiple servers that is often specified by the user. That will enable a form of censorship-resistance since the content persists even if one server or referred to as a relay blocks the user from sending or receiving events.

Traditional apps have a client - server relationship where this is one client running that talks to one server. Therefore, if you get banned or shutdown, your content and ability to communicate to that social network is lost forever.


Hashes are a vital component of Nostr's security measures. A hash is a unique identifier that is generated based on the contents of a message or file. Once generated, the hash can be used to verify the integrity of the event. If the contents are changed in any way, the hash will be different. In Nostr, hashes are used to ensure the authenticity and immutability of events. Once an event is published and signed using a private key, it is assigned a unique hash. This hash can then be used to verify that the event has not been modified by any other parties. Well.. that leads to our question, what is a private key or keypair?


Keypairs are a central part of cryptography, which is an important aspect of Nostr. A keypair consists of a public key and a private key. The public key can be shared with anyone, while the private key should be kept secret. When someone wants to send a message to a person or organization, they can use the recipient's public key to encrypt the message. Only the recipient, who holds the corresponding private key, can decrypt and read the message. This process ensures that messages can only be read by the intended recipient and are protected against interception by unauthorized parties. Keypairs are a key component of secure communication and are used in a wide range of applications, from email to online banking to cryptocurrency transactions.

Additionally, keypairs can be used to ensure that events are tamper-proof and verifiable. Meaning that the messages can not be modified by any other parties once they have been published and signed using the private key. You can then use the public key to verify that the person who knows the private key is the one who actually published the event.

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