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Re: ecash Press Release

Rolf Michelsen says:
> On Fri, 27 May 1994, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> > Rolf Michelsen says:
> > > Before you get too enthusiastic remember that electronic cash is not 
> > > legal tender
> > 
> > I have to mention, yet again, that this sort of phrasing is a product
> > of the notion that digital cash is somehow a currency. It is not. It
> > is an anonymous money transfer method. Saying "digicash is not legal
> > tender" is sort of meaningless -- the real question is "is the
> > currency being transfered legal tender".
> Yes, and if you had quoted my entire message you would get my point.  
> Since electronic cash is not legal tender -- just a way of transfering 
> legal tender -- a clearing system which administrates the "real flow of 
> money" must exist so that participants can exchange their "transfer 
> tokens" to "real" cash.

It appears that you still insist on refering to the question of
whether or not digital cash is "legal tender". The question isn't
usually considered meaningful.

When you say that "digital cash is not legal tender" you are making a
reasonably meaningless statement. Its like comparing the flavor of the
photograph of a dish of Chicken Kiev with the flavor of a photograph
of a Granny Smith apple. Sure, you can make the comparison -- but
usually people realize that there is some problem in levels -- usually
one wants to compare the flavors of foods, not photographs of
them. (The photographs have a taste, as do all objects, but no one in
his right mind would eat them.)

Are checks legal tender? No. Technically, they are not. No one ever
bothers to mention this fact, however. Its not interesting. Checks are
not legal tender, and neither are trucks filled with bank vaults. None
the less, both are ways of transfering money. Neither is
money-the-abstraction itself, but most people don't think thats
noteworthy enough to make a big deal about.

You mention that digital cash requires a clearing system. Thats
true. Its also true that a champion marathon runner requires
legs. Most people don't see fit to mention that -- it usually seems
obvious. You say things like "without a clearing system digital cash
is only a worthless token good for things like tolls". Thats untrue.
Without a clearing system digital cash can't be used for ANYTHING.
Without clearing, a bit of digital cash is just a number -- a large
number with no more or less value than any one of the infinitely many
other large numbers. A clearing system is INTEGRAL to digital cash. I
can't just hand someone digital cash -- a clearing system has to be
involved in all transactions.