How to Stop Junk E-Mail: Charge for the Stamp

Tyler Durden camera_lumina at
Wed Feb 16 09:38:32 PST 2005

Wrong. We already solved this problem on Cypherpunks a while back.

A spammer will have to pay to send you spam, trusted emails do not. You'll 
have a settable Spam-barrier which determines how much a spammer has to pay 
in order to lob spam over your barrier (you can set it to 'infinite' of 

A new, non-spam mailer can request that their payment be returned upon 
receipt, but they'll have to include the payment unless you were expecting 

This way, the only 3rd parties are those that validate the micropayments.


>From: Barry Shein <bzs at>
>To: "R.A. Hettinga" <rah at>
>CC: cryptography at, cypherpunks at
>Subject: Re: How to Stop Junk E-Mail: Charge for the Stamp
>Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 17:29:05 -0500
>Oh no, the idiotic penny black idea rides again.
>Like the movie "War Games" when a young Matthew Broderick saves the
>world by causing the WOPR computer to be distracted into playing
>itself tic-tac-toe rather than launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike.
>It was a MOVIE, made in 1983 nonetheless, get over it.
>More seriously, what attracts people to this penny black idea is that
>they realize that the only thing which will stop spammers is to
>interject some sort of economic constraint. The obvious constraint
>would be something like stamps since that's a usage fee.
>But the proposer (and his/her/its audience) always hates the idea of
>paying postage for their own email, no, no, there must be a solution
>which performs that economic miracle of only charging for the behavior
>I don't like! An economic Maxwell's demon!
>So, just like the terminal seeking laetrile shots or healing waters,
>they turn to not even half-baked ideas such as penny black. Don't
>charge you, don't charge me, charge that fellow behind the tree!
>Oh well.
>Eventually email will just collapse (as it's doing) and the RBOCs et
>al will inherit it and we'll all be paying 15c per message like their
>SMS services.
>I know, we'll work around it. Of course by then they'll have a
>multi-billion dollar messaging business to make sure your attempts to
>by-step it are outlawed and punished. Consider what's going on with
>the music-sharing world, as another multi-billion dollar business
>people thought they could just defy with anonymous peer-to-peer
>The point: I think the time is long past due to "grow up" on this
>issue and accept that some sort of limited, reasonable-usage-free,
>postage system is necessary to prevent collapse into monopoly.
>         -Barry Shein
>Software Tool & Die    | bzs at           | 
>Purveyors to the Trade | Voice: 617-739-0202        | Login: 617-739-WRLD
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