writes "If they want to send spam, make them pay a price. Built on the widely available SHA-1 algorithm, hashcash is a clever system that requires a parameterizable amount of work on the part of a requester while staying "cheap" for an evaluator to check. In other words, the sender has to do real work to put something into your inbox. You can certainly use hashcash in preventing spam, but it has other applications as well, including keeping spam off of Wikis and speeding the work of distributed parallel applications."
If you're specifically interested in hashcash for your mail server, Camram
has some interesting ideas -- their Frequently Raised Objections
page may be illuminating.