Back in November 2022, we launched the groundbreaking Zap feature on our Starbackr web platform. The response was overwhelming, with user engagement skyrocketing. Our community, including you, flourished in creativity and talent.
Simultaneously, we began working with the Nostr protocol, integrating Zaps seamlessly. This led to the inception of the Current App, tailored for iOS and Android, with Zaps as its heartbeat.
For a deeper dive into our journey, check out our previous write up:
In June when Damus went through the apple review process and had to remove the zap button on post we knew we were on the chopping block. And Apple called. While we could have easily taken Damus' route to remove it from the post we chose to stand our ground. So we took the call. Here’s how it unfolded.
Apple App Review Support (AARS): Hello Current App Developer! We've reviewed the latest version of your app and noticed that you have a "zap" feature on posts. As per our guidelines 3.1.1, you need to implement In-App Purchases (IAP) for such features.
Me: Hi there! Thanks for reaching out. The zap feature is just a fun addition we introduced for user engagement. Could you specify why we need IAP for it?
AARS: Certainly! Any digital goods or services, including features that provide additional content or enhance the user experience, should use our IAP system. This ensures a consistent experience for users and maintains the integrity of the App Store ecosystem.
Me: Interesting. But "zap" is a non-essential feature and doesn't provide any additional content. It's just a fun way for users to interact. Does it still qualify?
AARS: If users derive any value from it, then it does qualify. And as you said, it's for user engagement. So, implementing IAP will ensure you comply with our guidelines.
Me: I really value the community we've built around our app. Forcing them to go through an IAP, may deter many of them. If this continues, we might consider shutting down the app rather than diminishing the user experience.
AARS: We understand your concerns and certainly wouldn't want to see a valuable app leave our platform. However, our guidelines are in place to maintain consistency across the App Store.
(Saying the same thing again and again as a broken record)
Then I asked the question in a different way.
Me: How do I even know how to track if the SATS are from IAP or users sending it between each other.
AARS: We don’t care or control how you manage them inside your App. All we need is to implement IAP when purchasing SATS and users are allowed to use SATS they got from other users.
A light bulb went on in my brain. Oh.. you just want us to implement IAP and make it optional. You check the box that app complies with policy and we tell the user not to use that option…!
Me: Ok. so you want us to implement IAP but make it “Optional”.
AARS: Yes. We don’t control how you implement it.
Me: Alright thanks. Will work on a version to and submit for review. But we need more time to comply as one of our developers is on Parental leave.
(@egge was in the hospital with his wife for the arrival of his new born)
AARS: Ok. We can extend the deadline by 2 more weeks.
Call ended.
At this point we had no clue on how to implement all this but we had 4 weeks to figure everything out.
The goal is to create an In App purchase option to load SATS into the wallet. But make it optional so that none of us will need to use that option. However it can be of use for a no coiner coming into Nostr and Bitcoin for the first time and experience zapping, they can simply purchase it for $1 and get SATS on to their wallet and start zapping immediately.
With that in Mind we settled for a $0.99 purchase option and we will credit them with 2100 SATS. (teaching them the value of 21)
But if you are a bitcoiner and user of lightning with SATS on another wallet, you can easily transfer SATS in and out of Current wallet and you DO NOT need to use the In-App purchase at all. Because IAP is integrated with wallet, it does not come in the middle of zaps. Zaps on posts work the same way as before. One click. Zap.Zap.Zap.
This is the best possible way to comply with apple rules and at the same time, keep zaps on post and help on board millions of no coiners to nostr, bitcoin and lightning.
Win-Win for all of us.
Of Course, it did not stop here. When we submitted the first version for review, it got rejected 3 more times.
Rejection 1: The response included the wallet screen. So we went through another round of development to include an optional Subscription to access the wallet. Rejection 2: bug in the search screen unrelated to Zap purchase Rejection 3: Setup of Subscription and In-App purchases were incorrect. Final Approval: On Aug 4th, the day of the deadline we submitted another version for review. In the review comments, we made it clear that with best of our knowledge we comply with policies and we will not be able to continue developing the App if rejected.
48 hours of silence and then came the approval…!
Let’s go into details on subscriptions.
Subscriptions (Current amped)
New users can effortlessly download the app, set up their NIP-05 ID, post messages, and browse all posts at no cost. Our offering aligns with other Nostr apps available on both the App Store and Play Store. This service remains FREE for all existing and new "Current" users.
Our subscription model unveils a suite of premium features, all bundled into a single app, available at a competitive price. Additionally, we've extended the grace period for subscriptions to a full 28 days, giving you ample time to evaluate the service before Apple processes any charges.
Comparing with Other Nostr Subscriptions
For avid Nostr users, purchasing a NIP05 is often a necessity, and providers like offer NIP addresses for a one-time fee of 12,500 sats ($3.68).
If you're seeking a reliable relay service, charges an initial fee of 18,888 sats ($5.56) and a subsequent monthly fee of 10,000 ($2.99) sats for their filter service.
Using for images and videos? Be cautious as there's no guarantee of image permanence. They also offer additional storage options for a fee.
Popular wallets, such as Wallet of Satoshi, offer standalone wallet services. However, they require an email address for management and lack a Wallet Connect feature.
With Current we combined all these alacarte features into one single App. So that users (new and experienced) can simply download and start using the app.
Our Wallet Connect Feature
The "Current" wallet comes equipped with a feature allowing users to seamlessly connect to other Nostr clients, such as or Transfers are automated, with sats being debited directly from your "Current" wallet.
Push Notifications
On a personal note, push notifications for direct messages are invaluable. Being alerted when someone messages you can be game-changing. If you remain unaware until your next app login, potential opportunities could be lost. It's worth noting that none of the existing iOS apps offer push notifications from relays that function even when the app is not running.
Premium Relays
We have multiple relays serving Current users. These are load balanced, Web security enabled and come with the guarantee of storing your messages for at least 2 years. (NOTE: We are working on a backup feature to allow downloading your messages. So that you can keep them forever)
HD Media Upload
There is no fun in sending text only posts. We will support HD media upload so that you can share photos and videos right from your phone.
Lightning Address
When you use the Wallet of Satoshi wallet, you get a lightning address which is completely different from your nostr NIP05 address. With Current, you get to pick your own address from multiple domains and the same will be your Nostr address and lightning address.
Encrypted messages
kind 4 events (Direct messages) are encrypted but the metadata is exposed. So we use a separate relay for this wss:// which will auth and only give out messages based on pubkeys. Meaning, only you can get your DMs. No one else will be able to pull your DMs.
Send and receive Zaps
Of Course you get to use one click zap on any posts.
We've meticulously integrated all these features into a singular app, priced at a simple subscription rate of $3.99 per month. We believe this presents a fair deal for everyone, allowing us to consistently innovate with Nostr in the coming years, without being solely dependent on donations, bounties, or hackathons.
If you're hesitant to pay for services or find it challenging to afford premium features, we understand and respect your position. As a gesture of our commitment to serving all users, we offer a TestFlight version free of subscription costs. While this version doesn't include many of the premium features and won't be updated with new premium features as they're released, it remains a viable option.
You can access our TestFlight version here. testflight link Although you'll need to subscribe using your Apple account, rest assured that your account won't be charged. Please note that the TestFlight version may lag one or two updates behind the main release in the future.
What’s coming down the pipeline..??
We are at the cusp of a technological renaissance, witnessing firsthand the rise and integration of AI agents in our daily lives. Our team recently had the privilege of participating in the AI4ALL hackathon, expertly organized by Fedi. This experience empowered us to conceptualize and subsequently bring to life a fully operational website named This platform boasts over 10 advanced AI agents, all of which are performing seamlessly.
Our broader vision is to have more AI capabilities right inside of Current App. We aim to embed these AI functionalities within the Current App, making it a one-stop solution for users seeking intelligent assistance.
Imagine the convenience of being able to catch up after a week-long hiatus from Nostr. With a simple command like "/summary", users can receive a personalized digest of all pivotal events and discussions that transpired on Nostr during their absence. This ensures that they remain in the loop, without having to sift through a barrage of information.
Beyond this, we envision the app’s capability to generate summaries for podcast episodes, enabling users to grasp the essence without investing hours. Furthermore, voice interactions with podcast content promise to elevate the user experience to unprecedented levels.
Above all, our driving force is the growth and enrichment of this community. We are committed to relentlessly innovating and enhancing the platform, ensuring that our users always have the best tools at their fingertips.
Zap events are on the decline. We cannot let that happen…!
Why Zaps on Posts?
While we could have simply removed the zap button from posts to pass Apple's review immediately, we chose to stand our ground. Our decision stems from a vision of numerous innovative features centered around the concept of zaps on posts.
Here's a glimpse into the future of zaps:
  1. ZapGate: Introducing zaps for paid posts. With NIP-60, we've devised a novel way to zap, enabling payment for posts and ensuring creators are duly compensated.
  2. Zap AI: As AI agents evolve, imagine zapping one to perform tasks on your behalf. NIP-90, focusing on data vending machines, has already outlined specifications for this.
  3. Zap Ranking: Measure post popularity using zaps, and even filter out posts that lack them.
  4. Zap Ads: While Damus initially introduced this, it was later withdrawn. The idea is to sort posts based on zap amounts. If a post gains traction, advertisers could elevate their messages by contributing more zaps.
  5. Zaps for Podcasters: Podcasters primarily depend on ad revenues. As listeners, we're often unaware of the monetary arrangements between podcasters and advertisers. If we knew, for instance, that BlockFi paid over $100k for each ad slot, it might raise eyebrows. The solution? Transparent zapping. Companies can zap podcasters directly on their posts, revealing their contributions.
  6. Zapraisers: This concept is gaining momentum. Soon, we might see many fundraisers operating through zaps.
  7. Zapology: According to Derek Ross, this might become a mainstream academic subject for future generations.
  8. Zapapalooza: We're not quite sure what this will encompass yet, but we're excited to shape its direction.
  9. Zap Economy: Our aim is to craft a borderless, language-neutral, location-independent, and sustainable economic cycle.
In conclusion, we remain staunch in our belief that zaps play a crucial role within the Nostr ecosystem. By integrating them into the iOS app and ensuring their accessibility, we hope to fortify and expand the Nostr community at large.
If you still have questions, please refer to this FAQ’s or come to our telegram channel or message us on Nostr. @current @starbuilder @egge
  1. What is the goal of the In-App purchase option? The goal is to provide an option for users to load SATS into their wallets. This is especially useful for newcomers to Nostr and Bitcoin.
  2. Do I have to use the In-App purchase option to load SATS? No, the In-App purchase option is entirely optional.
  3. How much does the In-App purchase cost and what do I get? For $0.99, you'll receive 2100 SATS, introducing users to the concept of "21M."
  4. Can I transfer SATS to and from the Current wallet without using In-App purchases? Yes, if you're familiar with Bitcoin and have SATS in another wallet, you can easily transfer them without needing the In-App purchase.
  5. Have there been any changes to the way zaps on posts work? No, zaps on posts function as they did before: one-click and Zap.Zap.Zap.
  6. Why was the app rejected during review? The app faced multiple rejections, including issues with the wallet screen, a bug in the search screen, and incorrect setup of Subscriptions and In-App purchases.
  7. How does the Current app subscription model work? The subscription model provides a range of premium features in a single app. There's also a 28-day grace period before any charges by Apple.
  8. How does the Current app's offerings compare with other Nostr subscriptions? Current combines multiple features into one app, eliminating the need for multiple subscriptions and standalone services.
  9. What is the "Wallet Connect" feature in the Current app? This feature allows users to connect to other Nostr clients and automate sats transfers directly from the "Current" wallet.
  10. Does the Current app support push notifications? Yes, push notifications for direct messages are supported, allowing users to stay updated even when the app is not running.
  11. How long will messages be stored in the Current app's relays? Messages will be stored for at least two years, with a backup feature in development for downloading and storing messages indefinitely.
  12. Does the Current app support media uploads? Yes, users can share photos and videos directly from their phones using HD media upload.
  13. How does the Lightning Address in the Current app work? Users can choose their own address from multiple domains, which will serve as both their Nostr address and lightning address.
  14. Are direct messages in the Current app encrypted? Yes, direct messages are encrypted, and a separate relay ensures that only the intended recipient can access these messages.
  15. What is the cost of the app's subscription? The subscription is priced at $3.99 per month.
  16. Is there a free version of the Current app available? Yes, a TestFlight version is available free of subscription costs, though it may not include all premium features.
  17. Will my Apple account be charged if I use the TestFlight version? No, your account will not be charged, though you'll need to subscribe using your Apple account.
  18. Will the TestFlight version always be up to date? The TestFlight version may lag one or two updates behind the main release.
  19. Why was the In-App purchase option for SATS introduced? The option aims to onboard newcomers to Nostr and Bitcoin, offering them a simple way to start zapping.
  20. Can I send and receive zaps in the Current app? Yes, the app supports one-click zaps on any posts.
I don't expect this to last, i doubt you can buy bitcoin with in app purchases legally (or even safely)
I understand the issue legally speaking, but not sure what you mean by safely. Are you referring to the KYC risk associated with doing so?
Yes this is literally using IAP to exchange USD for BTC - not safe or legal. In due time someone will block it. Still great to see reviewers don't REALLY check everything ;)
Awesome, and congrats on getting the way around!
I hope Apple will face some action on this stuff! I was expecting Epic games to win the battle, so it won't be an issue anymore. Further Read:

The link is broken it's redirecting to post! (This links works)
Yes. let the lawyers of big company fight it out and gives us what we want...! Thanks for fixing the link...!
A must read for anyone with the need to deal with the Evil Empire. Thanks for posting. I hope no one from Apple reads this and rescinds the approval just out of spite.
haha. Thanks for your comments. We are ready to face whatever they throw at us. We are not 1 person or 1 company. We are 1 strong community..!
I loathe Apple, so I'm waiting for the day when nostr is so big they'll be begging you.
Exactly. that day will come. believe me.
Didn't say it when I first saw this post, but absolutely brilliant.
Thanks for sharing this story. Sounds like a good workaround, until someone else starts asking you for a exchange license for selling bitcoin:-)
yes. right. That is why we kept it as low as 99 cents.
Current devs are back, great news. I'll keep an eye on it.
Can you speak more on how you handle the HD media uploads? Processing, metadata, supported types, etc.
Secondly, can the subscription be paid and tied to an npub without using the IAP method?
Am I understanding this correctly that the app is now a no-kyc exchange through the app store? xDDD
No. this is not an exchange. you lose 30% to apple on every txn.