Email over blockchain: The best bad idea I’ve heard this year

It has become an establish antic that blockchain is a engineering in search of a trouble to solve. Although this gag is measuredly provocative, designed to needle a huffy community of enthusiasts, there is a meter of truth to it excessively. Since the emergence of cryptocurrency, the inaugural blockchain use case, entrepreneurs have come up with tens of alternate applications for the technology, which can be thought of as a time-stamped database of transactions distributed among the members of a net. With varying degrees of success, blockchain has been applied to fields ranging from supply chain management and enterprise data protection to identity verification and more. The emergence of ( DeFi ), interim, has seen blockchain used to facilitate peer-to-peer lending, borrowing and the like.

Decentralized

now, a company called Pingala Software believes it has come up with the latest killer use event. Earlier this year, the firm launched LedgerMail, a product billed as “ the universe ’ sulfur first decentralized e-mail solution ”. The service promises to liberate users from invasions of privacy, insecure message transfer protocols, and abuses of centralize ability. however, LedgerMail besides relieves users of a number of aspects of traditional electronic mail they might quite like to keep. In fact, so fundamental are the differences, it might be considered misleading to characterize LedgerMail as an electronic mail service at all .

The case in favor

Speaking to TechRadar Pro over Zoom, Suraj Malla, VP Marketing and Sales at Pingala, methodically set out the case in favor of blockchain-based e-mail. To understand the benefits, though, it ’ s first authoritative to understand the attributes that define a public blockchain network :

  • Decentralization: No single entity is responsible for greenlighting, verifying and processing transactions (in this context, an exchange of data in the form of an email message).
  • Immutability: Once a transaction has been verified by a consensus vote and recorded on-chain, it cannot be altered, deleted or otherwise tampered with.
  • Auditability: While network participants can remain anonymous, all transactions are open to public scrutiny.

According to Malla, this combination of qualities means blockchain is uniquely equipped to neutralize one-by-one the significant problems with the traditional electronic mail systems we rely on today. For case, the harvest of e-mail data en masse by the likes of Google and Microsoft is made possible by the centralization of baron and control. “ But with LedgerMail, there is no centralized authority manage and controlling your data, ” Malla explained. “ And this besides means there is no central sharpen of failure. ” email ( picture credit : Shutterstock / 1494 ) alike, a large proportion of email-based cyberattacks are made potential by the continued manipulation of antediluvian transfer protocols ( like IMAP and SMTP ). But LedgerMail replaces email transfer protocols with blockchain, which Malla described as “ one of the most fasten technologies in the mod earth ”. Although LedgerMail users can silent practicably send malicious content to one another, identity spoof and phishing attacks ( a major problem with traditional electronic mail ) are made much more unmanageable by a whitelist-style mechanism, in junction with the natural transparency of a blockchain-based arrangement.

And, last, LedgerMail encrypts all message message and attachments, which means merely the transmitter and recipient can possibly gain access to the material. To its credit, Pingala has enjoyed a measure of early success with LedgerMail, attracting 400,000 users in the first two months, including a number of enterprise customers. And there is distinctly a big market for products that champion data privacy in this way ; merely look at the growth of the VPN diligence. however, the company is all excessively felicitous to gloss over the issues with its suggestion, which are as varied and significant as the problems it is attempting to remedy .

The much larger case against

When we spoke, Malla was gallant to tell us that 24,000 emails had been exchanged using LedgerMail in the past 24 hours ; the significance was that the chopine is flying gaining grip. unwittingly, though, this boast drew attention to the first of the major problems with the LedgerMail system : scalability. LedgerMail sits atop a little-known blockchain called XinFin, a proof-of-stake network that draws from the traditions of both private and public blockchain. Courtesy of a number of cagey design features, XinFin boasts a far greater throughput than either Bitcoin or Ethereum, achieving upwards of 2,000 transactions per second. however, despite these innovations, the network distillery caps out at approximately 173 million transactions per day, circa 0.06 % of the 319.6 billion emails that presently pass back and forth in the same meter period. And remember, LedgerMail has to share XinFin with other blockchain-based services excessively. The offspring of scalability is tied close to a second trouble : cost. Although it ’ randomness free to sign up for a LedgerMail report, it is not complimentary to send an e-mail. Like all populace blockchain networks, each exchange of value or information incurs a transaction tip. This tip incentivizes engagement in the network, which in turn ensures a high level of security and redundancy is maintained. In the case of the XinFin network, transaction fees are unusually low ; Pingala says it costs roughly 1/800th of a dollar to send a LedgerMail e-mail. however, the prize of transaction fees is tied immediately with the amount of traffic on a net. so, in a conjectural scenario wherein LedgerMail becomes vastly democratic and users flood the XinFin network, emails will become significantly more expensive ( flush if the ceiling is one million times lower than on the Ethereum network ). Given only a bantam fraction of people presently pay for the privilege of sending emails, it ’ randomness difficult to imagine the concept going down all that well. The single largest problem with LedgerMail, however, is that it ’ s a closed-loop system. That is to say, users can only deliver messages to other people that own a LedgerMail report – and even then, alone if they feature on the recipient role ’ s approve list of contacts. Email has lasted more than 50 years in large part thanks to its universality ; anyone with an internet connection can have an e-mail report, and anyone with an e-mail account can communicate with anyone else. While Pingala has made dispensations to allow users to sign up for LedgerMail using an existing electronic mail report, a dim-witted sign-up march does not offset the fact that the platform does not allow for free and open communication. In this attentiveness, can LedgerMail even be considered an e-mail overhaul at all ?

The non-email service

After more than a little back-and-forth over the shortcomings of the model, Pingala collapse Vinay Krishna ( who was besides on the cry ) finally conceded that LedgerMail is not a serve that will replace traditional e-mail after all. Rather, it ’ s a product people might use on affair, when exchanging information that is particularly medium. “ For all regular emails that don ’ thymine contain medium information, people could still use even electronic mail, ” he proposed. “ But when people want to make surely data remains confidential, that ’ s when they ’ ll use LedgerMail. ”

In this smell, LedgerMail shares more DNA with code message services like Signal or Telegram ( neither of which require a blockchain, by the way ) than it does with Gmail or Yahoo !. ultimately, the problems Pingala is aiming to solve are actual ones. All internet users deserve to be shielded from the intrusions of Big Tech, and they besides deserve to be protected from the army of cybercriminals in their inboxes. however, the scale at which the company is proposing to solve these problems is microscopic ; with the respective caveats and limitations, LedgerMail won ’ t even make a dent. It ’ s the best bad idea I ’ ve hear this year .

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