Damus Popularity High Despite Removal from China App Store

Jack Dorsey’s push for decentralized social media and Damus’ success in reaching the top 10 list on iOS store in the US before being removed from the Chinese App Store at the request of China’s State Network Information Office, has ignited the interest of the public for its unprecedented usage of the Bitcoin Lightning Network for tip payments, DDoS protection, and random airdrops.

The popularity of Damus, a decentralized social media platform built on the Nostr protocol, drastically rose after receiving approval on the Apple App Store earlier this week. Following its launch, the platform skyrocketed in a matter of days, boasting 11,500 Twitter followers and surpassing Signal, Wechat, and other popular social apps. It even secured a spot on the top 10 free social apps in the App Store in the United States, gaining more than 56,000 downloads.

However, despite the app’s rapid growth, Damus was quickly removed from the Apple App Store in China after receiving a request from the country’s Cyberspace Administration Office. According to the app’s team, the platform was removed because its content “does not comply with the app store review guidelines.”

Despite being blocked in China, Damus continues to remain popular in Hong Kong, where it currently ranks as the second most downloaded free app. According to a recent Protos report, the platform also offers payments through a third-party Bitcoin Lightning Network and is focusing on preventing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) spam attacks.

Damus is supported by high-profile figures such as Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, pro-crypto U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis, and former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden. In December, Dorsey also made a large donation to the Nostr developer team, allotting them 14 BTC – about $245,000 at the time.

The platform’s decentralized nature means that there is no moderation of content, thus making it difficult for Damus to be accepted into the Apple App Store. This was made apparent by the Damus team’s Twitter page, which posted about the app being denied three times before finally being approved by Apple.

Damus is setting out to become a social media platform with censorship-resistant content and uncensored opinions. It is one of several Nostr projects and has become popular with Bitcoiners because of its ability to be integrated with the Bitcoin Lightning Network.

The Damus team’s decision to integrate Bitcoin Lightning Network on their platform is problematic because crypto is banned in China. Combine that with the Chinese’s Cyberspace Office’s regulations on content, and the platform will never see the light of day on the Chinese App Store.

Despite this, many Chinese users have still found a way to access the app by utilizing VPNs and setting their App Store to the U.S. or Hong Kong marketplaces. Furthermore, the platform’s popularity within the Bitcoin community has been bolstered by the perception that an airdrop is coming to early users.

In the end, Damus’ removal from the Chinese App Store is only an obstacle, not a setback. While the platform won’t be able to spread its decentralized messaging service within China, its popularity in Hong Kong and among members of the crypto community continues to show promising growth.