By CCN.com: Have you ever wanted to send Elon Musk an email, only to abandon the idea because he would probably never see it? Tyler Winklevoss has an idea that could increase the chances not only that the email will arrive in the Tesla CEO’s inbox but also that he’ll read it. Winklevoss envisions a crypto-fueled market-based email system, one that charges a “digital postal fee” to keep moonshot ideas in and spam out. He tweeted:
“Sending an email to Elon Musk and effectively renting his time to read it would have a price, sending an email to someone else would have another price, and so on.”
Elephant Grass was a side-project by Kraken CEO Jesse Powell and one of his friends inspired by “Magic: The Gathering.” It dates back to 2015 and it had a concept similar but not identical to Winklevoss’. While the Gemini founder pitches his idea as a way to get emails read, Powell seemed to be inspired by blocking unwanted emails from reaching him.
Powell complained about receiving both non-targeted and targeted spam, which was a disruption to his workflow. He stated at a Scaling Bitcoin conference back then:
“I have a problem with this. I get 10s to 20 of these emails a day with some guy trying to sell me something. And it’s targeted and it’s not caught by the spam filters. So what do i do about that? So, make them pay was the answer. And the only way I could think of that was legal was to try to whitelist my contacts and then make anybody else whose sending me mail who is not in my contacts pay me just some nominal amount of bitcoin just to show me that they took a little bit of effort to do it.”
At the time, Powell suggested whitelisting contacts and charging everybody else 0.0005 bitcoin to send him an email. But if you’re someone very popular like Kim Kardashian charge something like 5 bitcoins.
Earn.com plays in this arena as well. They give users the ability to “earn bitcoin by replying to emails and completing tasks.”
Tyler Winklevoss, however, is not surprisingly thinking much bigger.
“They are doing this, but I’m talking about large email providers like Google giving you the option to require someone to send you crypto in order for their email to reach you. It could be a simple setting in the Gmail app and wouldn’t require switching costs,” stated Tyler Winklevoss in the Twitter thread.
The idea is that it would become too pricey for third-parties to spam a user’s inbox, and it would give others a moonshot chance of having their email read by somebody like Musk. Winklevoss stated:
“Spam would be decimated and you would be one click away from anyone in the world as long as you were willing to put your money were your mouth was.”
Tyler’s Twitter thread generated hundreds of comments, some of which wanted to know how one could be sure that someone like Elon Musk would read their email. For instance, how would one get through Musk’s gatekeeper office assistant, who may be opening emails on the Tesla CEO’s behalf?
“Perhaps, but then he might miss a gem. He is more likely to read this type of email than the same email hidden like a needle in a haystack of spam. This could change how people actually viewed email…Also, if he wasn’t reading emails in earnest people would stop sending them and he’d stop earning fees. Perhaps you could integrate a reputation system to this as well.”
If Winklevoss wants someone to test his idea, we probably have a question or two for Elon Musk up our sleeve.
Last modified: May 13, 2019 3:59 PM UTC