As the world goes through the digital era, more and more content has been put online. This has resulted in numerous data breaches across the globe, with email still being one of the most vulnerable due to middle-man interception.

After the Yahoo email breaches, many have flocked to end-to-end encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp, Telegram and iMessage, but can we redesign email services to eliminate these vulnerabilities? Several companies have decided to replace the traditional email system with Blockchains, allowing mail to be sent through a decentralized network such as CryptaMail and John McAfee’s SwiftMail.

Blockchain-sealed data with benefits

According to CryptaMail, as Blockchains are decentralized and all data is dispersed, there is no location to request data from. All data is P2P so no data is held in a database. This reduces the risk of a third-party accessing the contents of the message and ensures that only the sender and recipient have the message.  

This means that the message itself is already encrypted in a coin and sent as a transaction across the Blockchain. Since the SwiftMail Blockchain is private, McAfee has absolute confidence in all of SwiftMail’s platforms and the SwiftCoin Blockchain by offering a $10,000 SwiftCoin award to any hacker who breaches SwiftMail.

Daniel Bruno, a member of the SwiftMail team, told Cointelegraph that Blockchain mail will speed up the time that mail can be sent, as long as you keep it synchronized with the Blockchain.

Choosing the Blockchain

CryptaMail itself uses the NXT protocol because it gives much more functionality than the Bitcoin Blockchain to send messages. SwiftMail, however, uses its own independent Blockchain for the purpose of something they call “Solidus Bonds” which are used to get more SwiftCoin through an interest-based system, since there is no mining allowed, unlike NXT.

For now, the problem with Blockchain-based mail is that it lacks the email cross-platform compatibility that traditional email offers. For example, an Outlook user can send an email to a Gmail user but on Blockchain, there is no cross-Blockchain ability for mail at this point.

One thing that email has that Blockchain-based mail doesn’t have is that it is free. All Blockchain mail sent between users must be put into a microtransaction. The companies are using tiny transaction minimums to ensure you get the most out of one coin.

CryptaMail requires one NXT per message, which is $0.006147 each time. SwiftMail uses 0.001 SC per message, which is $0.001. With prices set for each message, we might have to pay for privacy in the future.

Bringing Blockchain mail to mobile

Currently, only SwiftMail is planning to expand towards iOS and have already released an Android app which lacks the Solidus Bond feature. However, both SwiftMail and CryptaMail are pioneers in the field and perhaps in 2017 we will see more Blockchain mail options.

Could Blockchain messaging be the future? With technology continuing to be integrated into our lives, the fear of data compromise also grows. From George Orwell’s 1984, we now fear someone is watching. Perhaps encrypted Blockchain messaging could solve the problem in the near future.