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Minds, Nostr and the future of decentralized social networking

MindsDec 1, 2022, 5:52:15 PM

Throughout the history of Minds, it has been our mission to decentralize as much as possible while maintaining the user experience that people expect from popular social networks. 

Why is decentralization a major part of our mission? Centralized big tech silos lock-in your identity, content and followers. Arbitrary deplatforming can result in loss of the network which takes people years to build. Even if you don’t get banned, you should still have optional portability if you want to leave or participate in other networks without starting from scratch. Ultimately mainstream networks and alt-tech need to be interoperable on common decentralized protocols. Self-sovereign technology is the future and we want to be as little of a middleman as possible. 

We’ve finally made a breakthrough with a new protocol called Nostr

Nostr stands for "notes and other stuff transmitted by relay." It gives every user control over sovereign keys, your social graph/followers, content and data. It is self-described as: 

The simplest open protocol that is able to create a censorship-resistant global "social" network once and for all.

Nostr was created anonymously and has no company behind it. The source code is fully public domain. These attributes are essential to its survival, similar to Bitcoin. Nostr is an open and decentralized relay protocol based upon cryptographic keys and signatures. All users have keypairs (Identity) which sign events (content, messages, follow, etc.) These events are signed by and tied to your keypair which you control. 

Anyone can run a client and anyone can run a relay and create implementations however they want. There are more than 50 relays currently running. You can run one relatively easily if you want. Nostr enables data storage and retrieval via a shared global network of relays. It’s not necessarily just for social networking. It’s currently being used to develop everything from chat apps to social to chess. A directory of apps is here


What does this mean for you and the Minds network? 

  1. You can now generate a private key in your Minds Settings, which can be used to sign-in to other Nostr apps. Much of your data will port over with you. (Make sure to store your private key in a very safe place like Bitwarden)
  2. All of your posts are being cryptographically signed in the background. You don’t need to do anything different. 
  3. Minds is now a relay which means other clients like Anigma, Damus, Astral and many more are now broadcasting events to Minds and you can sign-in to these apps with your private key. The source code can be found here
  4. Minds is now a quasi-client which means we are broadcasting events to our relay (and potentially others). The source code can be found here
  5. At Minds, we proudly became core contributors to the Nostr protocol with the contribution of NIP-26 which enables delegated event signing. This delegation protocol can potentially enable many major networks (Twitter, Odysee, Rumble, etc) to join Nostr relatively easily. 

There are other interesting federated and decentralized projects we have our eye on for the future as well including ActivityPub, SSB, Farcaster, Lens, Bluesky, Polycentric, Web5 and some other p2p, federated and crypto social networks. We don’t see this as a zero-sum game, and we will likely pursue additional integrations with them in the future. 

At the end of the day, decentralization is a spectrum and the ultimate solution includes puzzling together a variety of open source tools. At Minds, we remain agnostic and will continue to develop with a non-ideological and open mind. 

If you are interested in contributing please visit developers.minds.com

Here’s a helpful video about Nostr by minds.com/jb55, the creator of damus.io.

Here’s a helpful video from Minds CTO Mark Harding showing Nostr in action. 

Now go download your key and take control of your Internet freedom.