With all the hacks, cracks and man in the middle attacks we need a future proofed solution that can solve the instances and occurances of these presky problems that pluge the internet and its mass communications.
Technically, electronic communications are a kind of transaction. An email with an attachment generally has a sender, one or more receivers, and contains something of value such as a monthly report or an updated spreadsheet. Even a quick conference call involves something of value, including the time being taken up to participate in the call and the information being relayed.
However, what happens when a recipient denies having received the email when it might actually be a case where he just deleted it by accident? The sender might simply send the email again or, if he would rather not accept a false accusation that he never sent it in the first place, ask the IT staff if the email can be recovered. While the IT staff might be annoyed by the person making the request, it may be possible to recover the “deleted” email if its data hasn’t already been overwritten a dozen times on the hard drive it had been stored on. When the email service is tied to a Blockchain application, however, the IT staff will be less annoyed because they can simply look up the appropriate record that the email represents.
The Blockchain is already being used by some chat services such as the NXT-based nxtty . In this case, nxtty is an encrypted service that can be used to send anonymous texts and even free phone calls over a Wi-Fi connection. You can delete a message but the Blockchain would still include a record that a message was sent.
The primary purpose of the Blockchain in this case would be to log the details of the “transaction” being sent in a way similar to the way that phone companies can keep records that contain information about who is calling whom. When using the Blockchain, these records exist even when an email has been deleted from somebody’s inbox. If someone attempts to delete an existing record from the actual Blockchain, it shows up as an attempt to tamper with the valid chain of records that were created using a cryptographic hash and the application can alert the appropriate personnel.
The size of the Blockchain would naturally be a concern, but it’s possible to avoid what developers call “bloat” – too much information stored on the chain. The Blockchain does not need to know the contents of a large email attachment. It just needs to know whether an attachment exists and may contain a “pointer” to the location of that attachment on another server.
Developers don’t seem to be very interested in developing such a system partly due to concerns about the overhead cost of relaying complex communications over a Blockchain network. However, some estimates show that Twitter routinely handles up to 100GB worth of Tweets daily and 6,000 Tweets per second . How do its servers keep up without crashing?
The truth is, Twitter doesn’t really bother with old Tweets that nobody cares about anymore. Google and Bing do a better job of searching through Tweets that are more than a week old than Twitter itself does . A Blockchain application for emails could theoretically pretty much the same thing by archiving old blocks on the chain in a way that can be searched through, but doesn’t get in the way of the creation of new blocks. Most clients of this kind of application need not even download the entire chain when they really just need to download messages that were sent to their email addresses. That way, email clients are not doing the equivalent of trying to keep up with 6,000 Tweets per second when that’s really the business of the Blockchain nodes that make sure the network is running smoothly.
Such an application could be feasible if developers can work on the idea of a “network layer model” for the Blockchain. Some functions, such as processing or relaying data being sent over the Blockchain network, can be moved away from a ledger that doesn’t handle such things very well and toward higher levels on the networking model. Then the ledger can focus on the storage and presentation of that data in a way that makes sense to the end user. This can work because the decentralized network model that Bitcoin and the Blockchain were designed to use is still a network and can borrow and build around elements from the OSI model that is familiar to Information Technology professionals .
So a Blockchain application could be used as a messaging system such as a chat room or an email system if one thinks of it as a transaction system that can send or receive bits of data that have value and also store that data for future reference in a way that is difficult to delete or alter after the fact. Users will still have the same problem of not being able to edit or delete a draft once the “send” button has been hit. However, the Blockchain will simplify the process of establishing what happened if an email is deleted or a recipient claims that he never got it.
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