· 10 min read · Written by Blogging Bitcoin  

Blogging Bitcoin Story - Blogging On Nostr

My experience from the early days of the internet till today, where I contribute to nostr on the habla.news platform as Blogging Bitcoin

Blogging On Nostr

I am old enough to remember the early days of the World Wide Web. Before Netscape, AOL was my only portal to the Internet.The browser unlocked the true decentralized nature of the Internet. My Sociology professor said public debate was controlled by the media that was controlled by corperations that paid for commercials. The Internet gave the chance to speak and think without being controlled by corporations. The first amendment was now something that could be established, not by Congress but by the people.

Then I found MySpace. MySpace was the first social media platform. It was also the best dating app for a young nerd like me. It also taught me HTML and how to copy pasta CSS. This made the Internet feel like something I helped build and made it look as if we had a bright, uncensorable future. Then Facebook took over. It was easy enough for my great-aunt Sally to use, even easier for Facebook to treat users like guinea pigs. Everything changed. We, the people, stopped building the Internet. The Internet began building the people. I could no longer debate politics because I could finish my interlocutors sentence before he or she did. I already saw that argument on Twitter 50 times that week. Political discourse became people shouting memes at people who were not listening anyway. This made me question my own political assumptions. Did I come to my own political conclusions based on rational thought, or was I just parroting the ideas fed to me on YouTube?

Bitcoin Was Like The Old Web

I began to study bitcoin in 2014 after hearing about it on the Joe Rogan Experience. I fell down the rabbit hole right away. I lost a small amount of money on Full Tilt Poker after Black Friday, experienced the confiscation of my bankroll in my checking account, and already hated fractional reserve banking. Most people talk about needing many touch points, but these circumstances made me delve right into it.

I was attracted to the idea of money without government because I didn’t like how the government could control the corporations and prevent me from doing what I wanted with my own money. If you can’t spend your own money the way you want to, who’s money is it?

At first, I was a little skeptical of buying it so I asked for a small amount on Twitter like a homeless dude on the sidewalk drinking Steel Reserve asks for change. I remember feeling like an Internet bum, but I wasn’t interested in buying bitcoin on the exchange until I could see it in action. A nym sent me some via change tip with the message, “Buy yourself a cup of coffee.” I finally did buy a cup of coffee with bitcoin at the Pacific Bitcoin Conference in 2022.

coffee

Over a long enough amount of blocks, bitcoin becomes something you’re willing to work and fight for. I wanted to work on bitcoin related open source software, but I didn’t know where to begin. I decided to write a blog on Ghost. I took a Google IT course that taught me how to use Linux and spin up a virtual private network. I followed K3tan’s guide, Starting a New Digital Identity. I spun up a BTCpayServer on Luna Node and used it for “tips.”

My First Attempts At Blogging

yalls

I actually got the idea to do this in 2018, when yalls.org first came out. Yalls is a writing platform created by Alex Bozworth. You can write articles, create a hashcash inbox, start your own group, and buy reactions using the lightning network. I thought this was awesome.

This was around the time Patreon began censoring payments to people like Carl Benjamin. I did not agree with what he said, but I also found the ability of a corporation to prevent Netizens from earning a living more offensive. The lightning network fixes this, but yalls.org never really took off.

For one thing, lightning payments require attaching a pubkey. I attempted to install Pierre Rochard’s Power Users Node. I tried downloading the bitcoin timechain over Wi-Fi on an old laptop. It didn’t work, and I kept getting these things called trace backs. I didn’t know what a trace back was, so I read Automate the Boring Stuff with Python. He also has a video course on Udemy This taught me how to write basic Python and use a few libraries. I still need to learn object-oriented programming, but I feel like I have a decent grasp of the basics. In retrospect, I could have solved my issue by plugging my laptop into an Ethernet cable, but I like to write and writing code comes in handy sometimes.

I wanted to contribute to some cool bitcoin projects, but I didn’t know where to start, so I decided to write a blog about using bitcoin. Most people who write about bitcoin write about its value compared to the USD. They view it as an “asset class,” “digital gold,” or an “asymmetric bet.” I wanted to write a blog that pretended the US dollar price did not exist and that I had to use bitcoin as money. I didn’t care about squiggly red and green lines. I don’t know what a RSI or Bart Simpson pattern is. I stack Sats.

I want to learn how to get paid in bitcoin. How can I use my node? How do I create my own Lightning address? Run my own BTCpayServer, LNBits, or make recurring bitcoin donations. These things are so much more interesting than forcasting what the Federal Reserve will do or worrying about what Gary Gensler says or does not say and how will affect the USD price of the bitcoin IOU’s. I’m more interested in exiting the banks than listening to the opinions of CNBC commentators on bitcoin. They don’t know what they’re talking about anyway. That’s why I write about my experience using bitcoin and other public-key cryptography.

At first, I used Ghost, which taught me markdown. My first blog posts kinda sucked, but I wrote as much as I could. I learned how to type on an old-fashioned Hemingway typewriter in middle school. I had to re-learn on a keyboard.

I wrote about nostr after hearing about it on Citadel Dispatch. At first, it seemed as if nobody was on there aside from FiatJaf and Uncle Bob Martin, but I kept checking back every couple of weeks. I thought it had potential, but a social network needs people to have a chance. When Jack Dorsey appeared in December of last year, the project started getting some users and traction. I got to witness Jack Dorsey help get the Damus app approved on the App Store. Then I heard about blogs on Twitter, and I found blogstack.io and habla.news.

Habla.news

hablanews

Since I already wrote my blog on Ghost, transitioning to habla.news was easy. These blogging platforms all use markdown, which makes it easy to add links, pictures, and headings. I finally felt like I could contribute to something that was early, so I wrote a blog about using markdown. Then I made a video tutorial. I tried doing a pull request to add it, but I screwed something up and went back to my office with my tail between my legs. Then I saw Tony give a 2-minute introduction to habla.news. I showed him my video, and he included it in the introduction.

This has given me the desire to contribute more to free and open source software. I would like to get a bitcoin job, of course, but more importantly, it makes me feel like I’m actually contributing something to the world. Like Jack Dorsey said in his Money Matters Interview with Jack Mallers, “It feels good to write code that can cause a physical vibration in someone’s pocket.” I also started a local meetup group and joined Plebnet.Devs. The impostor syndrome is real, but it’s nice to bounce ideas off other people who write code. I’m developing friendships in real life and Discord groups. Maybe I have no idea what I’m doing, but it feels good to write code that gets humans to take action (meet me for a beer), even if that code is not very good and I don’t drink beer.

With nostr, you do not need to

  • buy a ghost subscription
  • Learn Jekyl, HTML, or CSS
  • Pay for a domain name
  • Pay for hosting
  • Or run NGNIX

You don’t even need to learn Markdown, but it helps if you do. This is not your grandpa’s internet. It’s a protocol. Your text is transmitted through relays instead of a centralized server. Nostr can be and is so much more than micro-blogging, but few understand this. This can really change the Internet, and not just because of Zaps. There are people in China who have used nostr to free themselves from the shackles of the great firewall. On nostr, you are the scientist, not the guinea pig. There is no CEO for the government to pressure and no platform that can censor payments. It’s can’t be manipulated by corporations like “The Media” Bitcoin is peer-to-peer electronic cash as nostr is to electronic freedom.

Nostr Blogging Clients

There are four major blogging platforms I am aware of:

I urge you to try writing a blog post on one of these clients yourself If you don’t know markdown, check out https://habla.news/faq. Some green guy made a video that teaches you how to use the WYSIWYG tools on it. Need a key? I recommend https://getalby.com because it makes logging into nostr clients easy and they use NIP07 which is like BIP39. That’s nerdspeak for, you can back up your key by writing down 12 words.

coding cat

If you thought about contributing to free and open source, I urge you to start today. Learning to code can be frustrating, and the people on GitHub can be brutal, but there are other ways to contribute to free and open source software. You can create an issue, make a video tutorial, or start a meetup. You don’t need to be a Cypherpunks, but you should learn to write code. I have recently learned that I can use ChatGPT as a tutor. If you don’t know where to start, try writing on nostr. You may not get a lot of readers, but you’ll probably make more money than you would on Substack unless your name is Matt Tiabbi.

I am currently working on making an Astroblog that automatically posts to habla.news. I feel a little in over my head, but I’m learning a lot with Plebnet.dev. I knew a little bit of python, but I had no idea how to create documentation using a make file. Bitkarrot has helped me like a Sherpa guiding my climb up Mt Everest.

I’m not sure where this journey will take me, but I feel like I’m doing meaningful work even if I’m not the best coder in the world. I can speak no matter what Elon, the government, or Patreon say.

After all, as Eric Hughes said however many years ago: Cypherpunks write code.

Onward

Blogging Bitcoin

npub1wkljx5c6a8uccc5etws8ry0y3r4dgavh2dcav0tal4rtmcdl4z2sfu5u0t

Back to Blog