This week I saw a headline from Pete Rizzo, “21 Inc Opens Bitcoin Email Service to General Public”.
“Wow!”, I thought, “Finally! The ultimate spam control!”
What I was thinking of, of course, is a digital postage stamp. Your email will not be delivered to me without “postage” attached. It could be a tiny, tiny amount, and it could potentially be transferrable or reusable (i.e., I might be able to spend it). The point is that any amount f postage above ‘zero’ would kill spam dead.
And, by the way, postage could fund the email service without selling personal information.
Cryptocurrency is a perfect technology for this concept. Cryptocoins are purely digital and can be denominated in tiny fractions. Basically, you would use an email server that requires a tiny amount of Bitcoin or whatever attached to each message, or else it won’t accept the item for delivery.
Ta da! No more spam.
I thought the headline was about something like this.
Sadly, this is actually the reverse of the postage stamp idea. It is a version of “fill out this survey and win a coupon”. Scarcely a new idea, and basically a way to make spam more precise. Sigh.
I grant you, 21’s service does make spammers pay, but only if you actually respond. Postage has to be paid for every message, not just the accepted ones, so it is a much, much more potent brake.
Thr marketing pitch tells us that part of the game is that they have a select mail list (initially with a lot of “famous people” such as Marc Andreessen). They offer this as a way to “Get in touch with busy people”, paying them to click on your survey or reply to your plea for funding. Why I would want to send anyone such a survey or query, let alone these jokers, is beyond me.
I notice that you or me will be offered pennies for our opinion, while the VIPs charge a bit more. “Get replies from 50+ angel investors for $20 per reply”, and so on. What a racket!
And what a waste. I would actually be interested in a “postage stamp” service, even from bozos like 21.
But “microconsulting”, AKA, responding to commercial “surveys”, has no appeal to me at all.
- Pete Rizzo, 21 Inc Opens Bitcoin Email Service to General Public.May 1 2017, http://www.coindesk.com/21-inc-opens-bitcoin-email-service-to-general-public/