It’s 2019 and blockchain is taking over.
What happens when you want to do a transaction with someone that you don’t know or trust, but also don’t want to involve a third party? You create something like blockchain, which is essentially a contract between two or more parties that is written into an algorithm that neither can change.
It’s a record of transactions that are maintained across several computers linked by a peer-to-peer network. It started with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, but now the idea of blockchain technology is being applied to just about everything.
That includes email.
Here’s how experts are predicting blockchain will impact emails (and in turn email marketing).
Blockchain is truly all about privacy, so it’s no wonder that one of the first ways that blockchain could be applied to email is by increasing user privacy.
Currently, email service providers (ESPs) provide much of their services for “free” in exchange for user data.
ESPs like Gmail have algorithms that sift through your email messages and use that data to serve you relevant ads.
Some users might not like their email read, which is fair. That’s where blockchain comes in. No one owns the many servers the emails are stored on, so no one can see it. That’s true privacy.
Currently, most ESPs are limit your storage space because of server space concerns.
This is something that blockchain could solve. Blockchain can be built with algorithms that are designed to grow, and since emails will be stored across multiple computers and servers, there are no space constraints.
Currently, it’s hard to prove whether a user truly opted in to receive email communications. That could mean a court case in the land of GDPR, even if the user just forgot they opted it. In the future, this data could be stored via blockchain, making it difficult to tamper with.
CryptaMail uses blockchain to encrypt emails. It’s currently in beta. It uses a blockchain technology called NxtCoin, which decentralizes email data, keeping it from being owned by a single source.
The makers of this company say that users will have control of all their data using this platform. The program includes email, along with a host of cloud-oriented services.
This is one of the more interesting companies in this list. Vereign works with your existing apps to add a layer of authentication and encryption to the communication tools you already use. It lets you choose what data you present to these applications, giving you more control over your identity.
Some call blockchain technology cheap. That is, once the algorithm has been made, there’s little to no monitoring that needs to be done to ensure it runs smoothly.
That means reducing the hours you pay a person to manage a database or data set. For something like email, you could set it and forget it. The algorithm has it under control.
Blockchain is mostly being used to enhance privacy. That’s a hot topic in 2019, where more and more users are aware of and concerned about their data and what is being done with it.
By taking super personal data (like the text of an email) out of the hands of giants like Google, users will feel they have more control over their data and what happens to it.
Blockchain will also make it that much harder for hackers to get into databases and steal data. Instead of storing data in hackable servers, data will be stored across a myriad of devices and servers. This means it will be harder for bad actors to get their hand son all the data of a single person or business.
There are ways that blockchain is cheap and ways that it’s expensive.
Critics of blockchain (especially in the context of email) say the process is computationally expensive and requires a great deal of network bandwidth and electricity.
You probably noticed that “Cheap” was part of the pros list. Blockchain is cheap compared to other manual marketing technique but isn’t something the average small business will be able to start up on their own (at least not yet).
Loss of insight
Right now, users get many services online for free in exchange for their data. Companies sell this data and the insights that come with it.
If blockchain is involved in email, marketers and data companies will likely lose a massive amount of insight into their customers. That also means they will lose the ability to make money off those insights.
Blockchain is a newer technology that is starting to gain ground in more and more industries. When it makes its way to digital marketing and email marketing, it will be disruptive. It will change the way data is collected and maintained, and change who controls the data.
Since digital marketing is based on data, blockchain will be a disruptive force in marketing. It will be interesting how blockchain will integrate with current technologies and the growing number of data privacy laws