Those new to Nostr may initially feel confused or overwhelmed by the various addresses used throughout the social space. In this post, we will cover three main addresses that you’ll come across: “Npub” address, “NIP-05” address, and “LN address”.
Npub is the original address created when you first set up your “account.” It’s not really an account, but rather a pair of keys. One key is a private key, which must be kept secret (hence the “Nsec” prefix), and the other is the public key, Npub. As the name suggests, Npub is the key you should share with others to connect with you in the Nostr ecosystem.
There is a problem though, the keys (or addresses) are really long. You can share them easily enough through email or text or other social platforms but as you can gather this creates some undesirable complications when trying to share this in face-to-face conversations.
We needed an easier way to share our profiles, a format that is more recognizable and user-friendly. That’s when NIP-05 was created. In simple terms, NIP-05 is a method designed to assign or associate an address with users’ accounts that resembles a regular email address, something everyone is familiar with. You can obtain a NIP-05 address for free from Nostr client websites, purchase one from various available options (such as NostrPlebs.com), or set one up for yourself if you are technically capable and have a website (domain name). To learn more about NIPs, you can read further here.
Eventually, Nostr integrated Bitcoin’s Lightning Network functionality, known as “zaps” within the Nostr community. With this integration, LN addresses (Lightning Network addresses) were introduced. These addresses not only enabled users to send small amounts of Bitcoin to each other almost instantly but also provided a third simplified address for people to share, making it easier to locate individuals within throughout Nostr.
Getalby is a great browser extension that enables you to create and link a Lightning Network (LN) address as well as Nostr keys, if desired. But it doesn’t end there. Getalby, alon with similar extensions, provides users with a more secure way to handle their public and secret keys by keeping them separate. Your secret key remains locked away until it is required to interact with Nostr. At that point, Getalby will prompt you, informing you of its intended use and giving you the option to allow or deny it. This additional security measure is quite valuable.
I hope this helped you get a better grasp of what these different addresses are and why they exist.
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