Email is the original open source messaging platform. Invented as we know it in ’73, it hasn’t changed much since (or died).
Today 3 billion people use it. It is the cockroach of the internet. Compare it to these communication platforms that didn’t exist 10 years ago:
No company owns email, as opposed to the platforms listed above. This is obviously a good thing, and the main reason for its longevity. How many of these proprietary platforms listed above will still be popular in 46 years time? My guess is very few. Consider these once-popular now dead or dying proprietary platforms: ICQ, MSN Messenger, even Skype.
But, email being an open protocol still hasn’t stopped it becoming centralised.
Centralised by Giants
Recently email has become centralised to a just a handful of inbox providers, owned by the biggest tech companies in the work.
The top 3 inbox providers, Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft, now control 77% of the world’s email inbox market share.
Gmail has 23% of the world’s email inbox market share. Alphabet, a company that mines and sells data for targeted advertising, owns Gmail.
So while the email communcation protocol (SMTP) is open source, the companies built on top of it are very very proprietary, and have an outsized influence in it’s direction.
Blockchain Will Save Email
Against the backdrop of the increasing rate of centralisation, innovation in email in the last 12 months has exploded, driven by blockchain.
Blockchain offers new email platforms’ the ability to grow (and self-sustain) without a third party in the middle extracting all the value, or harvesting personal data. Leading examples like Lemon.Mail, Earn.com and BitBounce all are working on blockchain based email platforms to improve email in one form or another.
But part of the appeal of email is its ease of use, the zero friction to start. The current blockchain email solutions have some UX barriers that may stand in the way of mainstream adoption. This is why the team behind SmartrMail and Sendicate is working on a new blockchain based solution — Sendy.
Our users sent a billion emails last year to 72 million subscribers.
Imagine if any email marketer could directly reward their subscribers with tokens for their engagement, helping them with better open and interaction rates on their emails?
3 billion email users across the world could earn points and be exposed to crypto with zero friction.
That truly could push email forward into the decentralised web.