Nostr NIPS 57


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Lightning Zaps

draft optional author:jb55 author:kieran

This NIP defines a new note type called a lightning zap of kind 9735. These represent paid lightning invoice receipts sent by a lightning node called the zapper. We also define another note type of kind 9734 which are zap request notes, which will be described in this document.

Having lightning receipts on nostr allows clients to display lightning payments from entities on the network. These can be used for fun or for spam deterrence.


zapper - the lightning node or service that sends zap notes (kind 9735)

zap request - a note of kind 9734 created by the person zapping

zap invoice - the bolt11 invoice fetched from a custom lnurl endpoint which contains a zap request note

Protocol flow

Client side

  1. Calculate the lnurl pay request url for a user from the lud06 or lud16 field on their profile

  2. Fetch the lnurl pay request static endpoint ( and gather the allowsNostr and nostrPubkey fields. If allowsNostr exists and it is true, and if nostrPubkey exists and is a valid BIP 340 public key in hex, associate this information with the user. The nostrPubkey is the zapper’s pubkey, and it is used to authorize zaps sent to that user.

  3. Clients may choose to display a lightning zap button on each post or on the users profile, if the user’s lnurl pay request endpoint supports nostr, the client SHOULD generate a zap invoice instead of a normal lnurl invoice.

  4. To generate a zap invoice, call the callback url with amount set to the milli-satoshi amount value. A nostr querystring value MUST be set as well. It is a uri-encoded zap request note signed by the user’s key. The zap request note contains an e tag of the note it is zapping, and a p tag of the target user’s pubkey. The e tag is optional which allows profile tipping. An optional a tag allows tipping parameterized replaceable events such as NIP-23 long-form notes. The zap request note must also have a relays tag, which is gathered from the user’s configured relays. The zap request note SHOULD contain an amount tag, which is the milli-satoshi value of the zap which clients SHOULD verify being equal to the amount of the invoice. The content MAY be an additional comment from the user which can be displayed when listing zaps on posts and profiles.

  5. Pay this invoice or pass it to an app that can pay the invoice. Once it’s paid, a zap note will be created by the zapper.

LNURL Server side

The lnurl server will need some additional pieces of information so that clients can know that zap invoices are supported:

  1. Add a nostrPubkey to the lnurl-pay static endpoint /.well-known/lnurlp/user, where nostrPubkey is the nostr pubkey of the zapper, the entity that creates zap notes. Clients will use this to authorize zaps.

  2. Add an allowsNostr field and set it to true.

  3. In the lnurl-pay callback URL, watch for a nostr querystring, where the contents of the note is a uri-encoded zap request JSON.

  4. If present, the zap request note must be validated:

    a. It MUST have a valid nostr signature

    b. It MUST have tags

    c. It MUST have at least one p-tag

    d. It MUST have either 0 or 1 e-tag

    e. There should be a relays tag with the relays to send the zap note to.

    f. If there is an amount tag, it MUST be equal to the amount query parameter.

    g. If there is an a tag, it MUST be a valid NIP-33 event coordinate

  5. If valid, fetch a description hash invoice where the description is this note and this note only. No additional lnurl metadata is included in the description.

At this point, the lightning node is ready to send the zap note once payment is received.

The zap note

Zap notes are created by a lightning node reacting to paid invoices. Zap notes are only created when the invoice description (committed to the description hash) contains a zap request note.

Example zap note:

    "id": "67b48a14fb66c60c8f9070bdeb37afdfcc3d08ad01989460448e4081eddda446",
    "pubkey": "9630f464cca6a5147aa8a35f0bcdd3ce485324e732fd39e09233b1d848238f31",
    "created_at": 1674164545,
    "kind": 9735,
    "tags": [
    "content": "",
    "sig": "b0a3c5c984ceb777ac455b2f659505df51585d5fd97a0ec1fdb5f3347d392080d4b420240434a3afd909207195dac1e2f7e3df26ba862a45afd8bfe101c2b1cc"
  • The zap note MUST have a bolt11 tag containing the description hash bolt11 invoice.

  • The zap note MUST contain a description tag which is the invoice description.

  • SHA256(description) MUST match the description hash in the bolt11 invoice.

  • The zap note MAY contain a preimage to match against the payment hash of the bolt11 invoice. This isn’t really a payment proof, there is no real way to prove that the invoice is real or has been paid. You are trusting the author of the zap note for the legitimacy of the payment.

The zap note is not a proof of payment, all it proves is that some nostr user fetched an invoice. The existence of the zap note implies the invoice as paid, but it could be a lie given a rogue implementation.

Creating a zap note

When receiving a payment, the following steps are executed:

  1. Get the description for the invoice. This needs to be saved somewhere during the generation of the description hash invoice. It is saved automatically for you with CLN, which is the reference implementation used here.

  2. Parse the bolt11 description as a JSON nostr note. You SHOULD check the signature of the parsed note to ensure that it is valid. This is the zap request note created by the entity who is zapping.

  3. The note MUST have only one p tag

  4. The note MUST have 0 or 1 e tag

  5. Create a nostr note of kind 9735 that includes the p tag AND optional e tag. The content SHOULD be empty. The created_at date SHOULD be set to the invoice paid_at date for idempotency.

  6. Send the note to the relays declared in the zap request note from the invoice description.

A reference implementation for the zapper is here: zapper

Client Behavior

Clients MAY fetch zap notes on posts and profiles:

{"kinds": [9735], "#e": [...]}

To authorize these notes, clients MUST fetch the nostrPubkey from the users configured lightning address or lnurl and ensure that the zaps to their posts were created by this pubkey. If clients don’t do this, anyone could forge unauthorized zaps.

Once authorized, clients MAY tally zaps on posts, and list them on profiles. If the zap request note contains a non-empty content, it may display a zap comment. Generally clients should show users the zap request note, and use the zap note to show “zap authorized by …” but this is optional.

Future Work

Zaps can be extended to be more private by encrypting zap request notes to the target user, but for simplicity it has been left out of this initial draft.

Source: nostr-protocol/nips/ version: 23cec80 2023-03-23T17:12:29-03:00