Ideosphere Forum

fx-discuss: if-discuss: Re: if-comp: Cash claim

Author: Lyle Seaman
Conversation: fx-discuss: if-discuss: Re: if-comp: Cash claim ( prev | next ) reply!
Topic: fx-discuss ( prev | next )
Date: Tue Jul 23, 1996 07:53 am

Lyle Seaman

Apologies for the lack of comment on my part. I have been out of the
country and otherwise incommunicado.

There are two extant threads re the Cash claim, one on if-discuss, and the
other on if-cash. The central issue behind the formation of the claim was
whether an alternative economy in e-cash could reasonably be possible. The
requirement of 100 vendors was to provide critical mass for that economy.

1. Do stored-value cards count as e-cash?

Stored-value cards such as those used in telephone systems,
photocopiers, and the like, existed for 10 years prior to the creation of
this claim. Including those would have made the claim nearly trivial.
Nonetheless, if the anonymity and 100-vendor requirements can be met, I
think it is fair to consider them to satisfy the claim. In other words, if
it is possible to securely and anonymously transfer value from one Kinko's
card to another, then the Kinko's cards count (as a single vendor, see below)

2. Do 100 instances of the same vendor satisfy the claim?

The purpose of the 100-vendor requirement was to serve as a proxy for a
"market acceptance" criterion which is impossible to specify without some
objective measurement. Obviously, a market in which only one product or
service is available is not a healthy economy. The expectation was that
certain qualities might be hard for outsiders to verify, for instance, the
difficulty of forging Mondex cash may only be known to people who are tight
enough with the Mondex folks to see their protocols, and the reliability of
the issuing agency is almost completely subjective. While a single vendor
such as Kinko's might do something completely brainless, they stand little
chance of convincing 99 other independent agents to buy into their scheme.
However, if 100 different vendors all trust the ecash issuer's stability and
the security of the underlying protocols, then I think we can assume that
the system is viable. Again, at the time of the claim creation,
100-point-of-service systems did exist (for example, the French PTT), but
there was in reality only a single vendor.

3. Do 100 transactions between various individuals satisfy the claim?

In other words, if you arrange for 100 people to exchange Kinko's cards on a
one-time basis, are they "100 sellers"? Get a grip. The sellers obviously
have to be available for verification after their existence is publicized.


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