• Nostr is a communication platform that uses user public/private key pairs to identify users.
• This system introduces all of the problems of key management that someone possessing a private key runs into.
• A scheme for users to rotate from one keypair to another in a way that is verifiable and discoverable for other users must be implemented.
Nostr: A Communication Platform Protected by Public/Private Keys
Nostr is a communication platform that uses user public/private key pairs to identify users. This functions as a tight binding between the actual user and how they are identified by others, preventing any relay server from unbinding those two things, i.e., giving someone’s identifier to another user. This solves one of the biggest fundamental problems of platforms used for communication between people: the lack of control over users’ own identities.
Key Management Problems
The entire protocol is based around proving that an event came from a specific user (identity key), so all of those guarantees go out the window once someone’s keys are compromised. How do you handle that? Just go check their Twitter account? Well, then that’s not a very decentralized system, ultimately, if you require using a centralized platform where they are not in control of their identity to verify their Nostr identity. Have other users attest to the legitimacy of a new key? That doesn’t address situations such as mass key compromises, or not knowing anyone close to them well enough to trust their attestation.
Nostr needs an actual cryptographic scheme tying the rotation of one key to another. There is a proposal from developer fiatjaf for this called “Key Rotator” which would allow users who have lost access to their keys or had them compromised to prove ownership by signing with multiple keys at once instead of just one at any given time, allowing them to rotate from one set of keys safely without losing access or having any gaps in verifiable proof for who initiated an action on the protocol. The details about this proposal are still being worked out but it does appear promising in solving this issue with minimal disruption while still preserving its core design principles and being able to remain decentralized and permissionless at its core level .
This problem also highlights another major concern with distributed systems like these: education and awareness in regards proper usage and maintenance within their environment; it requires communities built around these protocols taking responsibility in making sure everyone using them knows how they should protect themselves against possible attacks on their own privacy and security when using such tools; otherwise there will inevitably be issues down the road when something goes wrong due to negligence or lack of understanding on behalf of end-users interacting with it .
Nostr has opened up some very exciting possibilities in terms of providing secure communications between individuals without relying on centralized services like email providers or social media networks for identification purposes; however, proper implementation and upkeep will be essential if it’s going to achieve its goal as an open source platform free from reliance upon third parties . Proper education on how users can protect themselves from potential risks associated with private keys will be paramount if we want this system succeed in its goal as well as ensuring proper cryptographic measures like Key Rotator are implemented when needed so we can avoid any possible malicious actors trying manipulate data within it .