Sniper Spotlight with Dmail COO Daniel James

Thanks to Web3 technologies, the days of worrying about who has access to your email and private data could be coming to end. One platform that’s behind the push to build out Web3 email and website domain services is Dmail.

Originally built on the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP), Dmail embodies the principles of open innovation and creativity, leveraging ICP’s features like interoperability, shared functions, and decentralized applications. Free to use thanks to ICP’s reverse gas model, Dmail – with the support of the DFINITY Foundation – aims to position itself as the premier communications hub in Web3. With millions of users already, it looks to be well on its way.

Last week, we caught up with the COO of Dmail to discuss the platform’s current offerings, why it’s superior to Web2 email services like Gmail, and what we can expect from Dmail in the future. Check it out.

Please introduce yourself and explain how you got involved in Dmail?

My name is Daniel James and I’m the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Dmail network. Originally, back in 2021, I became aware of Dmail through ICP – the Internet Computer Protocol. I was an early investor in the Internet Computer, and I knew the promise that it held, and so I became aware of Dmail, which was deployed on the Internet Computer before it went multi-chain.

Dmail won the Wanxiang Hackathon back in 2021, and it really put it on my radar because I understood the promise of encrypted email, and that encrypted email markets have grown at a compound growth rate of more than 24%. And according to an Emergen Research report, it’s projected to hit more than $19 billion within four years. So that in itself is a niche market.

I spoke with the core team at Dmail early on as an angel investor, and I came onboard in an advisory capacity. I was captivated by their vision, which would essentially solve a lot of pain points in the Web3 industry in terms of communications and cross-chain messaging.

What is Dmail and how does it work?

First, there’s the decentralized email service, which combines email familiarity with blockchain technology. And there’s end-to-end encryption and NFT-based tradable email accounts.

With Dmail, our domains are tied to an NFT, and we’ll have an NFT marketplace in the future where you’ll be able to trade your NFT domains. For example, my domain is I got in quite quickly on that, and [laughing] it’s not for sale. I’m not selling it in the future, although I’m sure I could get a pretty good price for it….

So, Dmail offers a website domain name and then you also have the attached email?

Yes, so we support the IDs and we support default addresses as well. Anyone can use Dmail for free, but they must purchase the domain. If it’s eight to 11 digits, on certain chains, the fee is waived, but generally it’s $5.49 for eight to 11 digits. And then the shorter the domain, the more benefits it has and more premium features. Also, it’s going to be rarer and more valuable. The four-digit domain costs $199. We’ve already sold more than two and a half million of these domains, so there’s a lot of demand for them, and I think the demand will increase when the marketplace goes live.

The marketplace is set to launch around Q2 or Q3 and we’re excited about that. We have secure and encrypted communications that protects the email content with decentralized storage of email headers and footers. We also have cross-chain compatibility, so there is seamless messaging across 19 blockchains that are integrated so far. And we’re constantly integrating more. We want to be as interconnected as possible.

We understand that the massive influx of future users will come from Web2, and so it’s all about simplifying the whole UI and UX to resemble the ease and intuitive nature of Web2. Web2 has got that right. They’ve had more than a generation to craft the UI and UX. But that’s not really where our value proposition lies. Our value proposition is to mimic the ease and the functionality of Web2, but also add the Web3 layer on top.

What are the benefits of having your email on-chain? Also, what are the pain points that you identify with Web2 that you’re trying to solve with Dmail?

First, it’s about privacy and control. With Dmail, you have full data sovereignty. It’s a fully decentralized system. This means that your emails and your files aren’t stored on a single server, which is controlled by a monopoly.

And this obviously boosts your privacy. But it shields you from the risk of censorship as well, which I think a lot of people in Web3 understand this ethos — that they don’t agree with censorship, and they want data sovereignty.

The next thing is security. I’ve already mentioned that we are built with a strong focus on privacy and encryption, and we think that your inbox should be entirely your own. Unlike platforms that use your data for targeted advertising, Dmail ensures that your communications are entirely private.

You are not a product with Dmail. There’s a reason why Gmail and these other social networks like Facebook are free, and that’s because you’re the product and your data is farmed.

We’ve all had the experience where we can be talking with a friend or a colleague and then we’ll look at our phone and log into a social network and see that we’ve received an advertisement which is connected to exactly what we were talking about 15 minutes prior, and I think that’s intrusive. It’s a little creepy, and Dmail solves that.

How does Dmail intend to onboard more users?

We’re at seven and a half million users now. But how do we get to 75 million or even 750 million and beyond? I think there’s a value proposition from Web3 that can make this happen, and it’s tokenized rewards. While Gmail’s profits obviously don’t trickle down to the users, Dmail has the ability to tokenize, and we have a distributed economy. For example, 38% of Dmail’s token supply is set aside for the community.

I think 18 months from now, possibly even within 12 months, you’re going to see a thriving ecosystem with Dmail where projects are incentivizing activity on their channels through tokenized engagement. For example, they can tokenize call to actions and campaigns.

There are also going to be airdrops on the platform. It’s going to be a bustling hive of activity, and I think these tokenized rewards will onboard tens of millions of users. I have no doubt about it because when you have the security privacy and control — the fact that the customer is not the product — and then you also have the tokenized rules on top of that, you’re essentially being paid for being informed and connected in Web3.

And you have that extra layer of functionality, where you can trade your inbox, and trade your domains on the marketplace. You’ll be able to do asset transfer swaps, and we’ll be integrating more apps and more functionality from our partners.

I think a lot of people will think, “Okay, until now, I haven’t had a choice about my inbox. I understood when I signed up to Gmail that I’m signing away my data rights, but there wasn’t really an alternative,” and they just shrug their shoulders and go along with it. But Dmail is offering a genuine alternative. We have the fundamentals in place, and we’ve obviously got something that’s already appealing with seven and a half million users.

Can you tell us a little more about “airdrops.” Is that something that’s already happened, or is it coming in the future?

Yes, we’ve just completed round one of the airdrop. So, the airdrop is 6% of the total supply of tokens. The first round has been completed, which was 3.75% of token supply. That was to reward early adopters; people that have been with us since before we were multi-chain, when we were built on ICP. A lot of community members from that time were rewarded. And we do have a second round as well, which is going to be more points based.

The point system we have is really a precursor to the mail-to-earn model, which will be more sophisticated and have huge functionality. But the point system we have is almost like campaign-based, where community members complete calls to action and they get rewarded points for it.

Dmail was founded in 2021, which means you guys have gone through some tough years in Web3. I’m curious if your team had any strategies or gained any insights about how to weather the storm of a bear market.

I think we were fortunate because we were able to rise even within this bear market. We closed out a substantial Series A round [in July 2023], which gave us the necessary funds to keep going. But during bear markets, there’s a reduction in enthusiasm and general interest in Web3 and I think that an awareness of liquidity cycles is important.

We set a target for the end of 2023: Let’s try to get to 1 million users. We got a million users by August and by the end of 2023, we’d hit 5 million. So you can see the acceleration in adoption. And then from the start of 2024 to now we’re at 7.6 million. So, there’s this massive acceleration, and I think it’s going to continue to speed up rather than slow down as we integrate more chains and as our product suite builds out increasingly.

Obviously, seeing the community grow and building a product which is being used really excites us. When you’re expanding as much as we have in a bear market, then the bull run, who knows what’s going to happen.

It’s exciting and everybody knows that the bull run is coming. And as long as you have the runway to get there, which we do, then it’s just a patience game really. And just focusing on what needs to be done, and laying the foundation so that when the liquidity is pumped into the system, we’re ready to blast off.

Last question: What can we expect from you guys this year?

I’m excited about our expansion in terms of more chain integrations. But I think mostly what I’m excited about is the product suite expansion and how I believe that when we get to a point in the future, it could be around 12 to 18 months from now when all the core functionality of Web2 is built in, plus we have the additional Web3 layer on top.

I think we have an intriguing value proposition, and if we market it well, then I think tens of millions of people can and will join Dmail.


Thank you!

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