This week 21.co rolled out a bitcoin powered LinkedIn InMail. Their blog post describes it in a more grandiose way:
Today we’re rolling out a tool which allows anyone in the world to google you and then buy a few minutes of your time. It’s called a 21 profile, and it’s a spam-proof replacement for a public email address. Here’s an example of how it looks at 21.co/naval…
TL;DR: we’re putting a price on spam. Which is cool — but at the same time a little underwhelming. Given the promise of the ‘machine-payable web’ that Balaji has laid out in previous talks, a bitcoin powered LinkedIn InMail competitor feels a bit ‘meh’.
I’ll admit that I’ve been a big 21.co fanboy and still do believe that the machine-payable web will be a thing — one day. It’s just that I don’t think step one is disrupting a professional spam network like LinkedIn.
I really do hope this is a pitstop along the way to a bigger and a more audacious product built on their developer tools (which aren’t too bad).
To be clear, I still think they’ll ‘figure it out’. It’s just that this feel like an ‘underwear gnomes’ strategy. But then again, you never know, maybe there is a latent demand for emailing Ben Horowitz spam for $100.