New Strike Product Targets Email Spammers With Bitcoin Payments

Strike CEO Jack Mallers claims that bitcoin solves one of the internet’s “biggest problems” of spam by making it costly to send emails.

Jack Mallers is not wasting any time launching a new Strike project to help reduce the amount of junk mail in your e-mail box. Famous for leveraging what he calls the world’s first open monetary work to allow Twitter creators to receive tips and enable free global remittances, Mallers has now turned his attention to a more domestic problem. Namely, protecting the time and attention of email spam victims with bitcoin and its layer-2 solution,  the Lightning Network.

According to Mallers in a recent Twitter thread, “spam is an unsolicited message from someone you don’t know that would like some of your time and attention. Given the fundamental architecture of the internet, spam is hard to prevent.” The Strike CEO says that, in an ideal world, there is a cost to sending emails and a way for the recipient to monetize their time and attention. In other words, the recipient should earn something from the sender for the use of his time and attention.

Hashcash paved the way

Adam Back invented the concept of creating a cost for the sender as an anti-spam tool back in 1997. The instrument was called hashcash, a “proof of work” spam prevention tool that verifies the amount of effort put into an email before sending it. The concept of Hashcash is essentially a way of publicly demonstrating that energy has been expended in solving an arbitrary solution using a hashing algorithm. Hashcash is used to create stamps that are attached to an email to add a micro-cost of sending mail to prevent spamming. However, there was no global payments network or universal currency through which micropayments could be made from the sender to the receiver. That’s where bitcoin and the lightning network come in, and Strike pounced.

How does it work?

If you are an existing Strike user, you can create an email address with the template “[email protected],” set an amount you wish to be paid, “and anyone that sends you an email will get a reply with a #Bitcoin Lightning invoice.” Once payment is received, the mail will be forwarded to your actual email address. Mallers touted this new method as a way for Elon Musk to reduce spambots on Twitter by making it costly to spam. “Now we can empower a better internet and enable a digital economy that was previously impossible.”

Mallers boasted that the code for the project is open-source and “shockingly simple.” The Strike CEO will forward all funds paid to him via his [email protected] email address to the Human Rights Foundation.

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