The global COVID-19 pandemic has definitely created a clear demarcation of remote work: a company’s reliability lies in its email service provider for all forms of communication.
Let’s start with the origin of the email. Email has been around for more than 50 years and is a formal communication channel around the world. With more than 3 billion users, it is the most widely used and instant form of communication.
The first example of email is on MIT computers in a program called MAILBOX that dates back to the 1960s. It wasn’t until 1971 that Ray Tomlinson invented and developed email as we know it today by developing the networked email system from ARPANET.
Email as a communication channel is not really safe
It is estimated that people around the world send around 320 billion emails every day. As early as 2019, the cloud-based company Avanan announced in its “Global Phish Report” that every 99th email was a phishing attack, which means that in 2019 around 300 million phishing attacks were attempted every day.
As early as 2016, the IT security company Hold Security estimated that more than 272 million email records and passwords could be purchased from email accounts on the Darknet. A good example from this year was when prominent journalist Nidhi Razdan filed a cybercrime complaint with the Delhi police in India in January after she said she was the victim of a phishing scam that was fraudulently hiring an associate professor from Harvard University. Another recent example is when attackers exploited four dangerous security holes in Microsoft Exchange to gain a foothold on the corporate network.
Security issues aside, distractions such as email service providers reading, processing and targeting ads to their users are a common occurrence. Have you ever noticed the irony As soon as you create a new email address with Gmail, an unwanted ad is waiting in your mailbox before you receive your first email.
By 2017, Google used its technological ability to scan all emails sent to or by Gmail users to create detailed profiles of its users and target them with highly personalized ads.
Even if we leave all security and phishing problems aside for a second, the idea of a clear, spam-free and ad-free inbox is practically inconceivable. Taking into account the centrality of email and the problems it poses, an email service based on a blockchain platform offers solutions to some or all of the disadvantages that current centralized email services have.
Connected: The kings of data must use blockchain technology
What should decentralized email focus on?
Security is of the utmost importance for email. The decentralization of blockchain technology offers the highest level of security for emails. Peer-to-peer networks are not only almost impossible to break, but also offer the highest level of protection when it comes to data, personal information and passwords.
Connected: Decentralized identity is the way to fight against data and privacy theft
Next comes 100% data protection, which in turn is possible through the implementation of cryptographic algorithms, asymmetric key systems and hashing functions. In order to achieve perfection here, it must be ensured that the best possible combinations are taken into account and implemented.
Connected: DPN vs. VPN: The beginning of decentralized data protection on the Internet
The constant flow of unwanted e-mails at any time of the day can be handled with ease, and a “clear inbox” can be provided with the help of smart contracts. The inbox experience will be improved a few levels if these possibilities can also be integrated into smart contracts.
There may be the option of creating a unique email address for strangers that can later be completely deleted. The option of creating a timed email address from one day to several months is also possible. This powerful feature makes it much easier to choose a reliable provider without having the almost permanent digital footprint of an email address.
Work-life balance actually becomes a reality when you don’t receive email notifications from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, in some industries (including crypto) this is unlikely to be possible, so the duration can be further adjusted and personalized to suit the needs of the business.
The automatic prioritization of e-mails is at the discretion of the individual, as is the possibility of deleting unread e-mails. Using intelligent contracts, emails based on a blockchain network can easily control access to an employee’s emails by only making them available to those responsible. In addition, the inbox would be protected from unwanted advertising, data mining, monitoring, tracking or profiling.
What should the blockchain solution look like for this solution to be successful?
In order for the above functions to become a reality in a decentralized system, the blockchain should read as follows:
- Scalable: Blockchains are not scalable today. Only 15 transactions per second can be validated on the Ethereum blockchain. This means that it is in no way capable of handling millions of emails per day. Hence, by its very nature, the blockchain should have the ability to process millions of transactions per day with almost instant validations.
- Sustainable: Blockchains use a lot more energy than any existing system. For example, the Ethereum blockchain consumes 1.02 kilowatt hours per transaction. This means that for a single day, if 1 billion emails are exchanged, the Ethereum blockchain would consume 1.02 terawatt hours. The energy consumption of the blockchain should be so low that it has to compete with or be comparable with centralized systems
- To back up with complete privacy. Although blockchains are secure, they are 51% vulnerable to attacks with malicious nodes occupying 51% or more of the network. The cryptographic algorithms, asymmetric key mechanisms and hashing functions offer the highest level of encryption. Security is inherently built into data protection mechanisms.
However, not all blockchains are able or configured to provide email services. Scalability, sustainability, and security should be carefully considered when choosing a blockchain protocol. Most, if not all, blockchains meet one or two of the three main requirements with a few exceptions.
All of these problems can go away when email is used over a blockchain. Note, however, that the grass is only truly green if all three criteria – safety, scalability and sustainability – are met.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed are the sole rights of the authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Vishnu Priya Mishra is a blockchain enthusiast with six years of experience in advertising and marketing. She has worked with brands like Burger King, Xbox, and Ziff Davis in building brands and communities. She heads marketing and PR at Uniris.
Nilesh Patankar is an experienced technologist with over 25 years of experience in payments. He has managed global programs for Mastercard and Barclays. He was also the chief technology officer of Payback, the coalition’s largest loyalty program in India, which serves over 100 million users. Nilesh is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Uniris.
Akshay Kumar Kandhi is the head of innovation, research and development at Uniris, where he is at the forefront of research in the field of blockchain and biometrics. He graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique in France.