When Email Marries the Blockchain
Email and blockchain have always been flirting with one another for a while now as their hearts are very much aligned. Both are decentralised, censorship resistant, independent and hold enormous value.
Blockchain is being used for tokenizing assets, such as real estate. Bitcoin and its siblings fascinate millions of people and in a world of negative interest rates are now seeing rapid adoption by corporate treasuries.
Email on the other hand has been the primary means of communication of enterprises for decades. It is the lifeblood of conducting business, and together with the telephone it is the only reliable channel across corporate walls. On top of that it is the channel to almost 4 billion users, making it the most universal channel to reach customers, partners, suppliers and regulators alike. To companies of all size it is both uniquely valuable and uniquely threatening.
Many people have dreamt up the combination over the past years. Either in terms of making blockchain as easy to use and universal as Email. Or in terms of putting email on the blockchain itself. Vereign has now done the latter, which may in fact lead to the former.
How it works
Imagine that each email is sealed on your client, securing your sending identity, the subject, all attachments and the content of the message. This seal is attached to the message in the form of a QR code and locked securely against the blockchain.
Recipients can decode the seal using a web verification app on the local device by scanning the QR code, or verify it against the message via add-in straight in their Gmail or Outlook/Office365 inbox. In the same step the seal also unlocks message status information about when the email was sent as well as when it was received — provided the recipient is either using the add-in or their company is using a gateway that supports the Vereign Seal protocol.
Totemo is a partner and investor of Vereign and is the first company to have built the protocol into their gateway and to start offering it to their customers under the name totemomail® Verified. Among the customers of totemo you’ll find many banks, industry leaders and governmental institutions. Come January 2021, email on the blockchain will be a single click away. As it will be for you if you are a user of Gmail or Outlook/Office365.
What it means
Vereign Seal is audit-proof email communication with increased sender authenticity. It makes email more powerful than tradition registered mail, and offers a new layer of protection against phishing, identity theft and business email compromise. There really is no reason or excuse to send email without such a seal.
Our approach of sealing critical information in messaging against the blockchain also opens the door to a whole new range of applications. Like sending Bitcoin by email to anyone, anywhere, no prior knowledge required.
The marriage of email and blockchain is transformative. It makes email the perfect channel for transport of value and to initiate its execution on the blockchain. There is no more universal medium, and by installing Vereign for Gmail or Outlook/Office365, you can bring value straight into the inbox of 4 billion people.
If you are a user of Microsoft Outlook or Office 365, you can try out the Vereign Seal Add-In right now from Microsoft AppSource. For instructions, please see the Vereign Community forum. Also we would love to get your feedback and questions in the forum.
As a user of Google, you’ll still have to be a little patient as Google is still reviewing the add-ins. They should normally become available in January, latest.
And if you’re an email service provider, gateway service vendor, or other participant in the email ecosystem and would like to see what we could be doing together: Get in touch — and let’s talk!
Note: this article was published in parallel at https://www.vereign.com/2020/11/30/when-email-marries-the-blockchain/
- 2020–12–22: Updated last section to reflect where to find the Add-In
- 2020–12–23: Published follow-on article about possible benefits of Vereign Seal in combination with SPF, DKIM & DMARC