Salesforce, the customer relationship software, and SaaS company is banking on blockchain to help it fight spam and recently won a patent to meet that end.
Earlier in November the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted it a patent for a system that uses blockchain technology to detect whether an email was changed before it was sent. The patent is also focused on improving existing filters that often fail to tell the difference between a regular email and a spam one. In laying out its idea in the patent application, Salesforce said it envisions a blockchain system to ensure the authenticity of email with the technology recording a selected part of the current message in the blockchain to get the approval from the other nodes. When the second server receives the email it checks the blockchain to see if any data was replaced. If the messages don’t match the email would go into a spam folder. If it matches up the email will be marked as ok.
In the patent filing, Salesforce argued that messaging systems of today are often abused and used to distribute unwanted messages and that despite efforts it's a problem that isn’t going away. “Spamming remains economically viable because advertisers have no operating costs beyond the management of their mailing lists, servers, infrastructures, IP ranges, and domain names, and it is difficult to hold senders accountable for their mass distribution of messages,” wrote Salesforce in the patent application. “Because the barrier to entry is so low, spammers are numerous, and the volume of unsolicited messages has become very high. Although the patent specifically addresses the mailing platform solution, Salesforce notes that blockchain can also solve issues with the authenticity of medical records, educational transcripts, deeds, property rights, and legal documents.”
The new patent shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone who has been following Salesforce in recent months. Back in March the company’s co-founder Marc Benioff told Business Insider that a chance collision between the World Economic Forum and crypto conference led him to start thinking about how Salesforce can play a role in the market. “I had been thinking a lot about what is Salesforce’s strategy around blockchain, and what is Salesforce’s strategies around cryptocurrencies and how will we relate to all of these things,” Benioff said at the time. And given he believes in the power of chance, he said a conversation with someone at the conference while Salesforce was hosting a World Economic Forum event started him down the road to how Salesforce can develop the technology. At the time Benioff said he was aiming to have a blockchain and crypto solution by its Dreamforce conference that ran from Sept. 25 through Sept. 28.