Today, we take a look at yet another aspect of the decentralized web. This one involves improving the security and efficiency of your emails by using blockchain technology. We’ll give you all the details and then introduce you to ten of the top decentralized email providers.
A recurring theme on the topic of blockchain technology impacting various industries is it improves certain aspects of each one. With election security, for example, blockchain is a large step towards fixing the problems that stem from traditional paper ballots. More and more people are starting to accept electronic voting. Those supporting blockchain voting are of the belief that it adds a sense of authenticity and anonymity to electoral voting.
Admittedly, blockchain technology will not fix every issue, but incorporating it into pre-existing systems will result in some notable improvements. The best way to summarize blockchain’s intentions is with a statement from a McKinsey article. Blockchain, according to the writers, is “a solution looking for a problem.”
With that in mind, email and email marketing is yet another industry where blockchain is leaving its mark. Patrick Ben Koetter of Dot Magazine describes blockchain as a “contract mechanism,” of which certain features are applicable to email. It is tamper-proof and can be fully automated. With these factors, plus the fact that blockchain aids in the security of voting, it is unsurprising that more people are looking into decentralized email providers.
Among the important issues that are prevalent nowadays is the subject of email privacy. Rarely does a day go by where there aren’t reports about email account hackings or password leakage popping up. Because of these problems concerning email security, many email users are installing additional email security software. They hope that doing so will effectively protect their electronic messages. There are other people who would rather transfer to a different email client that has better reviews pertaining to security.
In keeping with the topic of alternative email clients, an ideal choice is decentralized email platforms. They are excellent when it comes to the privacy and security of your emails. These solutions heavily rely on blockchain technology as a means to transfer your emails and also save them.
There are an array of benefits that come from using decentralized emails, including the following:
- There are no central servers for storing your messages. Instead, emails go into storage in the blockchain.
- Third-parties do not have the ability to access your emails. You are the only one who has access to them.
- The immediate identification and rejection of any attempts at hacking your email.
Most of the free email services out there, like Gmail and Outlook, keep your data safe from outside attackers. However, more often than not, they intrude on your data for the purpose of posting ads. While this may not bother a lot of people, there are others who are more privacy-conscious and will not like it.
Below are 10 great examples of decentralized email providers that value security and confidentiality.
1 – CryptaMail
CryptaMail is one of the most popular email platforms that focus on decentralization. It automatically encrypts all your emails, effectively making them totally private and secure. When you use CryptaMail, you are the only one who is able to access your emails. There are no central servers or third-party participants in the email platforms’ architecture.
The team behind the project boasts the following on the official website:
“Even we cannot locate your messages or derive your password, ever. ONLY those who know your password have access.”
Your messages are not put into storage on a physical server. In lieu of this, they are on the blockchain, which promises secure transaction transmission. The construction of CryptaMail is on the NxtCoin protocol.
2 – ProtonMail
ProtonMail is a Swiss-based email service that has garnered substantial popularity since its launch. It follows an ad-free model that ensures the utmost protection of your privacy. It allows you to establish an expiration time for an email to basically self-destruct itself. On top of all of its security features, the service is also open-source by nature. Therefore, you are able to review the open-source encryption libraries or other similar stuff to make sure.
It does not draw its foundation from blockchain technology, rather it uses very strong end-to-end encryption protocols. These make it very difficult – impossible, even – for anyone to gain access to your emails. All of your emails are automatically secured and nobody can decrypt or read them, nor can they share them. Not with third-parties or anybody else. There is no requirement for you to mention any personal information when you are creating an email account. There are also no IP logs in storage.
To add a custom domain, you will need to have a premium subscription. You can use it free of charge with limited features. Alternatively, you can choose to upgrade it to a premium subscription while simultaneously supporting the company behind it.
The free version grants users access to 500MB worth of storage and up to 150 emails per day. It’s Plus and Visionary packages offer additional features including priority support, custom email aliases, and VPN protection.
3 – Proemtheus
Proemtheus is a decentralized email project that, like many, is still in its infancy. It intends on completely reversing the way in which email works by disconnecting your emails from the network. Instead, your emails are transmitted and receive validation from all of the participating users in the blockchain. Through this particular method, all of your emails will be encrypted. What’s more, you will become resistant to ransomware and other comparable threats.
According to the official website:
“We are creating a new internet where everything revolves around the user. An identity that will enable the user to control all his data and open unprecedented business opportunities.”
4 – Tutanota
Tutanota is a popular face among decentralized email providers. It is a secure email service that permits users to effortlessly control their own mailbox. It is an encrypted email service provider that is suitable for personal-use and business-use alike. In contrast to the aforementioned ProtonMail, Tutanota provides its free users with 1 GB of storage rather than 500 MB. In addition, you can include extra storage to your account.
It offers those who use it a variety of payment plans for professional-use and/or enterprise-use. An example of this is special offers specifically for non-profit organizations. There is a limit of one use for its free version, 1GB storage, conventional search functionality, and Tutanota domains exclusively. You would need to have a premium subscription if you wish to add a custom domain. If you want, you can also choose the ability to white-label the service for your business.
Tutanota provides an array of other tools primarily for privacy protection. Tools such as a free encrypted calendar or end-to-end encrypted forms are notable examples of their gradually developing inventory.
5 – CounterMail
CounterMail is an outstanding online email service. Its design was primarily for the purpose of giving users maximum security and privacy. Specifically, without the inconvenience of tedious configuration settings. By using it, you are able to access your email account remotely through an automatically encrypted layer. This is courtesy of the amazing OpenPGP encryption protocol that it implements.
The noteworthy highlights of its features include:
- MITM protection
- Web servers that are diskless
- Active aliases
- Anonymous email headers
- Built-in passport manager
- Custom domain name
- The support that is multi-platform
- Strong compatibility with Android phones
Countermail offers a free trial period that lasts one week. Following this period, you will need to pay roughly $29 every 6 months; really, it depends on your payment rate. Before you dedicate yourself to this service, remember the importance of understanding its drawbacks. These include its storage capacity having a limit and it is unable to send encrypted emails to non-users.
6 – Criptext
Criptext is a special decentralized private email service that provides plenty of features for its users. It allows them to send encrypted emails by utilizing the Open-Source Signal Protocol Encryption. This is just one of its several interesting tasks, others of which include:
- Real-time email tracking
- An option to un-send emails
- Active support for Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and iOS
- An appealing User Interface across platforms
It is an email service that is free to use and is available across desktops and mobile phones. It does not, however, support custom domains or Whitelabel. In spite of this, it employs the use of the open-source encryption (Signal Protocol). This is something you may be aware of if you have experience with the “Signal” messenger app.
Lately, there have been rumors pertaining to subscription plans coming to Criptext. Apparently, there will be extra features for users with more experience. For the time being, it is free of charge. If you are indeed familiar with the Signal app, then chances are good that you will be comfortable using Criptext.
7 – Disroot
Disroot is a platform that is free to use and provides online services deriving from strong principles. Specifically, principles that focus on privacy, decentralization, freedom, and federation. They offer their users with no ads, tracking, profiling, or data mining in an array of services. These are not restricted to:
- Online email clients
- Cloud storage by way of NextCloud
- Document editing through the use of Pads
- Decentralized instant messaging
- A private online and open-source paste bin
8 – Mailfence
Mailfence is a sufficient email service that focuses heavily on privacy, like others on this list. It offers users with an end-to-end encryption feature that is primarily for sending messages. Other notable features include:
- 2-factor authentication
- An effective spam blocker
- Apps for calendar-usage and file storage
- Digital email signatures
- An environment that is completely free of ads
Its free model provides users with access to 500MB worth of emails and 500MB worth of documents. Moreover, it gives support by way of email and 1,000 calendar events. You are able to begin using it for free with a limit on storage (specifically 500 MB) and features. Whatever the case may be, you also have the ability to upgrade your subscription to increase the storage space. What’s more, you will also be able to use a custom domain.
Probably the only downside to come from using this service is the lack of mobile apps. Therefore, you will likely need to launch a browser and sign-in to use across a wide variety of devices.
9 – Hushmail
Hushmail is a prominent email service provider that gears its services mainly towards business owners and organizations. It offers those who use it the ability to read and construct emails online and they can do so with their smartphones. It has several important features such as:
- A visually appealing user interface
- Email encryption
- Secure web forms that are personalized and one can create by using a drag-and-drop builder
- Built-in web hosting
- Templates that are ready-made
For personal use, it grants you the ability to access a 14-day trial period. However, for business use, it categorizes them and offers comparably different pricing. For instance, if you wish to use a secure email service for your healthcare company, it will offer you HIPAA compliant service. In a similar fashion, there are different plans for law firms, enterprises, non-profits, and small businesses.
Along with the ability to add a custom domain for businesses, it also allows everyone to create web forms. This is regardless of if they are for personal use or business use.
10 – POSTEO
POSTEO is an open-source email, calendar, and address book application in Berlin. It makes this list because it places a particularly heavy emphasis on both privacy and security. It is among the more interesting email services in that it focuses on those two factors while also running on green energy. In addition to being eco-friendly in its power usage, it also supports OpenPGP Encryption. It typically charges £1 per month and has annual billing.
If you are able to ignore the lack of custom domains offering, then you will get an ad-free experience. One that provides an upgradeable 2GB storage space, personal support, and online payments that are anonymous. In addition, you will receive email aliases. You are able to upgrade the storage space along with email aliases, as well as calendars.
Hopefully, this list will have given you an idea of some of the best decentralized email providers. There are a lot of email users out there who are becoming more aware of the email privacy issues. As a result, they want to take absolute control over their data. With luck, decentralized email platforms will achieve mass adoption in the near future.