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                         SANDY SANDFORT
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Tim May made some good comments about my post, albeit late
through no fault of his own.  (What is it with Netcom, anyway?
Some of you folks on Netdown ... er ... Netcom ought to look into
CRL.  I've had very little trouble with them, and they are
available in parts of the South Bay.)

Some of his points have raised by others, so I'll focus in on
just a few of Tim's points.  I wrote:

>Would you do business with a escrow that was the bag man for
>contract murders?  I wouldn't, you wouldn't and the vast majority
>of people in the world wouldn't.  That wouldn't stop some escrows
>from performing that service, but it would run up the cost....
>the costs rise high enough, profitable opportunities are created
>for false escrows to enter the business....

To which Tim responded:

    I can't follow Sandy's logic here. That I wouldn't use
    such services, that Sandy wouldn't, etc., is hardly
    persuasive. Contract killings happen today, after

The "etc." Tim left out, is very important.  Most people would be
revolted by an escrow company that facilitated murders.  They
would not do *any* escrow business with such parasites.  This
would mean such companies would have to make *all* their money as
escrows for various illegal/immoral activities.  Statistically,
here just isn't much of market for contract killings; even less
for contract killing escrows.

    Sandy says this "would run up the cost." But from what
    basis? I've made no predictions about the costs, either
    with or without the participation in such markets by
    Sandy or me!

Repeat after me:  The whole world is watching, the whole world is
watching, the whole world...

If the market is tiny and the world otherwise boycotts you, the
only way to make a living offering such a service (crime escrows)
is to charge your clients big bucks.  That's how the costs go up,
irrespective of whether or not Tim and Sandy are in the market.

    What the costs will be is unknown to me, and I don't
    plan to try to forecast the costs. All I claim is that
    anonymous escrow services "solve" the specific problem
    raised earlier about one or more of the parties welshing
    on the contract. A kind of 'clearing' mechanism.

Yes, the solve the problem *if they exist*.  You have merely
posited "anonymous escrow services" as a _fait_accompli_.  In
the real world, there will only be "anonymous escrow services"
for murder, if they make sense economically.  I don't think we
have to worry about such services supported by altruists.

    In any case, there are in fact "escrow agents" today for
    contract murders. Mob families act in this way, putting
    the "full faith and credit" of their organizations
    behind such hits....  The mob families are not
    cryptographically pseudonymous, naturally, but...

True, but is exactly *because* they are not cryptographically
pseudonymous that they usually abide by their ... honor.  They
are flesh and blood people, with known identities, addresses,
families, etc.  Their reputation *does* matter because they are
more vulnerable to physical retaliation than is some disembodied
e-mail address.

Tim wrote several things about SCENARIO ONE (crooked escrow) that
I covered in responses to other people.  One thing not covered
was address by Tim, thusly:

    He then says: "Al's Anonymous Escrow" announced they
    were holding money for this job, as you can see. I did
    the job, as you can see from the digitized images I took
    at the scene, and now Al won't pay up.

Come now Tim, "digitized images"?  Like when I killed that lawyer
in Jurassic Park with my robot T. Rex.  I think the murder will
have to do better than that.

    ...fully pseudonymous agents can still present evidence
    to the court of public opinion and have their
    reputations influenced positively or negatively.

And in the court of public opinion, the pseudonymous agent would
be pilloried for his actions.  As a said in a previous post, no
one will give a rodent's rear for the contract murderer.  Most
folks, including me, would applaud the escrow that didn't pay the
murderer.  I doubt few clients would take their business
elsewhere.  And as before, the escrow could even pass the savings
along to its customers as reduced rates.  Works for me.

    If an escrow agent does this very often, he'll lose all
    his business. Opportunity for an agent who takes his
    reputation more seriously to then gain market share.

Nonsense.  You are thinking like an engineer, not a psychologist
or businessperson.  People would not take their business away
from an escrow who was honorable in every other dealing except
for murder.  The market has no trouble making such ethical/moral

    Just as with Swiss banks ...

Rolled over on Marcos without any discernable loss of business.

    (I'll just make the aside that Sandy's arguments apply
    to bookies the same way...

No it doesn't.  There is nowhere the universality of repugnance
towards gambling as there is towards murder.  It's a numbers
game.  Welch on a bet and lots of people--even those who don't
like gambling--will disapprove and your reputation will suffer.
The number of people who would take their business elsewhere just
because you didn't pay a MURDERER (for god's sake), is
statistically insignificant.

    ... I'm not persuaded by Sandy's arguments that the
    threat of cheaters is sufficient to derail these
    markets. It hasn't derailed them in the real world. It
    won't in the less traceable but even more
    reputation-critical crypto world.

That, again, is because the real world does not have the self
same anonymity Tim thinks will allow for easy contracts for
murder.  Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.  Crypto
giveth, and it taketh away.

 S a n d y