Damus: Decentralized Twitter Rival Banned in China

• Damus, a Jack Dorsey-backed decentralized Twitter rival, was recently banned in China by the CAC.
• The app is based off of Nostr, an open-source protocol that provides the groundwork for a censorship-resistant social media platform.
• Dorsey has been an outspoken supporter of these types of networks since 2019.

Damus Taken Down in China

On Thursday, Damus reported that its app had been taken down in China by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) after violating national speech rules. Apple cooperated with authorities and removed it from the App Store shortly afterwards.

Decentralized Social Media Platform

Damus is developed on top of Nostr, an open-source distributed social media protocol funded by a donation from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey last year. This decentralized platform aims to provide a censorship-resistant environment for users all over the world thanks to cryptographic key pairs for security, making it impossible to ban users or censor content within applications built on top of Nostr. In addition to Damus, other initiatives such as Anigma (a Telegram alternative) and Jester (a chess software) are also created on this protocol.

Dorsey’s Support For Censorship Resistance

Dorsey has been vocal about his support for more censorship-proof social media channels since 2019 when he was CEO at Twitter. He even allocated funds to have a small team develop a decentralized social media system and pleaded with Elon Musk after Musk’s takeover of Twitter to move their service onto an “open source protocol funded by a foundation” according to documents released in September 2020.

The Bitcoin Lightning Network

In addition to its distributed nature, Damus also uses the Bitcoin Lightning Network which allows people to make online transactions quickly and securely without having to wait for confirmations from miners or pay high fees associated with traditional Bitcoin transactions.


Although Damus may be gone from Chinese app stores for now, many other projects are emerging that are built on decentralized protocols like Nostr – giving us hope that one day we will have access to completely censorship resistant social media platforms all over the world regardless of where we live or what government regulations may be in place at any given time.