Bitmessage May Replace E-Mail

May 26th, 2013   Submitted by Seth King

If you’re a frequenter of the Bitcoin forums and chatrooms as I am you’ve likely heard of Bitmessage. It’s a new p2p distributed mail server that is completely free and open source software. I had first heard about it a few months ago but paid little attention. In the free software movement there are tons of ideas that come and go and are soon forgotten. Only after something stays around a while or a friend gets into it am I likely to give a project a closer examination. That happened last night when fellow bitcoiner and free stater Joshua Harvey announced that he had installed the software and was impressed.

After reading the Bitmessage wiki I, too, began to get excited. The software is very similar to a type of email protocol that I had found totally revolutionary in the past called i2p-Bote. The problem with i2p-Bote, however, is that it only existed on the i2p network, a very cumbersome onion network that isn’t yet accessible to non-techies. What Bitmessage has done is allow easy access to ground-breaking email software to the technophobe.

What is so revolutionary, though, about Bitmessage? It provides easy message encryption by default. It anonymizes both the sender and recipient of messages. It fights spam like no other, and because of its distributed nature it cannot be shut down. In other words the spam ridden, DDoS vulnerable, corporate data mined, NSA spyware called e-mail is eventually going to get replaced by Bitmessage. So, the next time I get a “Constitutionalist” in my face complaining about how the government is reading all of our emails, I’m going to direct them to Bitmessage and tell them to put up or shut up.

But enough from me. Here’s a nice video that will better explain what Bitmessage is. Enjoy!

31 Responses to “Bitmessage May Replace E-Mail”

  1. Wonderful. Thanks for posting. I just downloaded it and feel like the owner of the first telephone must have felt. :)

    Someone send me a message: BM-2D9vfh7BVhHBUjKAbax7x33aMqLGuinSju

  2. TrmapsNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks so much! Never heard of this until now, just downloaded, feel so giddy.

  3. Joe CushingNo Gravatar says:

    So, I just downloaded it and am sending out my first text message. I love the idea of an encrypted message sender but I don’t think this system is user friendly AT ALL. I like email addresses. They are easy to remember and even if you don’t remember them, you can tell who you are emailing. I want to see people’s names in my inbox or enter their name when sending them a message, not copy and paste some huge coded address and then not know who the message is to when I look later.

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      This is still Beta software. It’ll get a lot better. Don’t worry.

    • Chris PutnamNo Gravatar says:

      This feature is already built in. It is under the “address book” tab. You just put in their address, and then give it a name / label that is associated.

    • BurritoNo Gravatar says:

      It’s likely that, in the future, we’ll get some partially centralized service that can translate Bitmessage addresses into human-friendly ones, possibly kinda like DNS translates names to IP addresses.

      It won’t be as nice as it is now, you’d probably have to register an address, it would have to be unique, and the service will have to be queried each time an address needs translating.

      Another thing that can help alleviate this problem when swapping Bitmessage addresses is QR codes. Vizhashes* can also be used to distinguish addresses from afar with the human eye.

      *http://sebsauvage.net/wiki/doku.php?id=php:vizhash_gd

      • BurritoNo Gravatar says:

        “and the service will have to be queried each time an address needs translating.”

        Clarification: Caching would mean that an address wouldn’t have to be queried each time a message is sent.

  4. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    There’s always Tormail. `I link to Tormail through Thundrebird (have to change proxy settings), and with Enigmail, PGP encryption add-on.

    Is this available on Linux distros?

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Yes, Bitmessage is available on Linux.

      As far as Tormail is concerned, just a few weeks ago Tormail was getting heavily DDoS’ed and was down for a couple of weeks. It caused a lot of mayhem. Plus, it’s difficult for non-techies to set up.

      Neither of those problems exist with Bitmessage.

    • MikeNo Gravatar says:

      It doesn’t look like it’s available for Linux. i guess I can try running it through Wine.

      I haven’t booted into Windows in a long time. Too many backdoors and malware/exploits.

  5. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, I found it.

  6. CarlNo Gravatar says:

    What is a constitutionalist and why do we not like them?

  7. VanmindNo Gravatar says:

    Every “bit” as unimpressive as the make-believe money.

  8. Mr UndergroundNo Gravatar says:

    Yes and about time too so i will be loading up BitMessage and giving it a test drive.

    What i can tell you all is we are being watched big time and corporations like Google are trying every trick in the book to tag people, including and not limited to

    Cookies, Shared Objects/Flash cookies, XSS, Etags, User-Agents, Adobe Flash ID, User-Storage, DOM-Storage, Script caching

    Microsoft is CIA, don’t trust anything on a PC, Get a hardware firewall and learn to block outbound traffic and for gods sake block your HP-Printer going out over the internet, HP-Printers polls PC’s on your network, pulls data and uploads the data back to HP

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Yeah, I’ve been drinking a lot of the kool aide over at Free Software Foundation. This stuff really pisses me off and it’s motivating me to run everything through Tor Browser with No Script running. If they won’t build websites that don’t have spyware littered all over them then I guess I will either not use it, or the sites won’t load fully. Whatever. The long-term trend is toward Onionland anyways. The clearnet is starting to suck.

      Also, I’m thinking about removing all of the scripts on Daily Anarchist. I don’t like being part of the problem.

  9. Joe CushingNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, I didn’t know that about HP printers. You know, I don’t mind so much, companies getting my info. What bothers me is that they turn it over to the government. I think in a stateless society, I’d feel a lot less creeped out about HP.

  10. CalvinNo Gravatar says:

    Just a heads-up: *if* you want this to work over the TOR network, you will have to follow these additional steps:

    1) File >> Manage keys, click Yes, and open the file in notepad.

    2) Scan at the beginning of the code and you should find a line that reads “port = 8444″. Change the port FROM 8444 TO 9150.

    3) Save and exit notepad and restart BitMessage. Done.

    Here is the configuration page for TOR and BitMessage:

    https://bitmessage.org/wiki/FAQ#How_do_I_setup_Bitmessage_to_work _with_Tor

    I would like to see a feature where we can accept incoming messages for a green light over TOR… ;)

  11. Chad WarrenNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, I’d like to use this if I could. I’m trying to send a test email to my gmail account and it gives an error – invalid characters for example@gmail.com as the format. I don’t understand. So, I tried to register this email as an identity which appears to be the contacts in the address book and same deal.

    How does one enter the email they want to send a message to?

  12. lignovichNo Gravatar says:

    Chad, address looks like
    BM-BcbRqcFFSQUUmXFKsPJgVQPSiFA3Xash

    If , lost “adress book”,
    never can find it again.

    and it`s not compatible with coventional email.

  13. NLiTeNNo Gravatar says:

    If you setup a webmail account at http://www.bitmessage.ch you can send messages to other bitmessage addresses & normal email addresses. You can even use the account with Thunderbird & TOR

  14. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    Just use Lelantos…

    great Tormail replacement.

    lelantoss7bcnwbv.onion

  15. anonNo Gravatar says:

    Kind of hard to replace email when website signup confirmations can’t be sent to something that looks like jO-sdfhdksjnfsfoisefhjz8uz

  16. NLiTeNNo Gravatar says:

    anon – if you setup bitmessage.ch webmail you can receive email from the regular internet (signing up for forums etc…)

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