Every once in a while, you read a piece that almost perfectly focuses your own still blurry thoughts on a difficult topic that you want to stand back in awe and simply applaud; Max Webster’s recent post ‘Why I’m Betting Big on Nostr’ is just such a moment.
Please go read it now, and then come back. My own less clear thinking follows.
I have witnessed two other events that I think exist on a similar scale of massively innovative disruption: the Internet and Bitcoin/Lightning. It is no coincidence that they share similar characteristics of being open, decentralized, permissionless, and relatively simple.
Simply connecting to the Nostr fire hose of notes is not the best way to experience and appreciate the potential. I have suggested people try Nostr clients like Iris or Astral and then see them become instantly and massively unimpressed. It is truly nothing but sound and fury. I have since learned to take a more educational and less experiential initial approach. You need to take at least get a glimmer of their future potential.
The theoretical combination of Lighting and Nostr will enable entirely new forms of commerce and communications that are only now coming into focus. That is what Sideways is working on. (I wish we had a better tagline than Value4Value, which sounds, unfortunately, like a new online Dollar Store). Sideways is focused on micropayments for digital content.
The opportunity for startup innovation in this space is immense. I agree with Webster that startup opportunities are particularly rich in the area of Nostr Relays.
Not to be overlooked is the contribution that Alby is making to the entire protocol stack. Alby is a very good Lightning wallet, but it is a brilliant Nostr Key management solution.
Sidenote: I am also a big fan of Stacker News, but I believe it is a step on the way to something much larger and more impactful.
Finally, the key characteristic of all these spaces is that anyone anywhere in the world can participate as a user or developer without needing the permission of any Government or any Corporation. I am currently designing a reusable Nostr on-ramp for developers. I am assembling instructions and some videos from Nostrica and elsewhere into a condensed class that would work well as a prelude to Nostr Hackathons.
I will close this ramble by quoting from Webster, “Nostr + Bitcoin + Lightning represents the most interesting opportunity to rebuild a decentralized Internet.”