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e$: Reuters Smells the Coffee + (cyphergroupie confession)

I might as well confess now and get it over with. Yes I am a cyphergroupie.

I do write code, but it is not cypher-code, however I do get paid for it,
which along with taking care of my family consumes most of my time.

I have a sliver of time that I can devote to reading mailing lists and 
newsgroups from the internet. If you will indulge me, I write this letter
for my own amusement and with the hope that it my spark some interest. 

> Date: Sat, 12 Aug 1995 10:05:35 -0400
> From: [email protected] (Robert Hettinga)
> Subject: e$: Reuters Smells the Coffee
> --- begin forwarded text
> Mime-Version: 1.0
> Date: Sat, 12 Aug 1995 00:01:58
> From: [email protected]
> Sender: [email protected] () (from unknown.aol.com
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: Cyber Economy--Govts. Cannot Control
> Thought Mr. Hettinga might particularly appreciate this perspective.
> Jim Rapp
> Alexandria, Virginia
> "give me more info"
> As always, do not send the copyright police after me.
> LONDON - Growing business on the Internet computer network could
> allow companies and individuals to avoid taxes and build up a black
> economy increasingly out of range of government intervention and
> regulation, computer experts say.
> "Electronic purses," loaded from banks down telephone lines,
> could become the favored means of payment for fast, anonymous and
> secure payments, with currencies of choice becoming more exotic,
> depending on what is acceptable to dealmakers.

Hmm, Lately I have seen an advertisement on TV from a credit card
company (it might be CitiBank, I don't recall) describing a new style of
credit card (Ringo Star is the spokesman for the card).

Its name is "Private Issue". According to the ad you can pick your
card design (the picture background of the card), and your billing

After seeing this "e$: Reuters Smells the Coffee" post I wonder if
the Bank/Credit-Card company is easing customers into thinking of
private issue cash/credit as a Good-Thing(tm), or it may just be
some sort of marketing gimick to sell more credit card. However,
I do find the choice of name interesting - "Private Issue".

The recent issue of Extropian Magazine (ya, they can be a little kooky,
usually there is something interesting said in the magazine), featured a
disussion of the privitazation of money (with references to Hayek's book
The Denationalization of Money) and its "compatability" with ecash. When
I first heard about the concept of privitizing money I thought it could
not be done. But lately I have been wondering if it is possible to "sell
the idea", especially after seeing the "Private Issue" ad.

If you pitched ecash the right way it is possible that it could catch
on. I think that the most important part of selling the private currency
to small buisnesses would be if the ecash "works" just like credit
cards. If any one out there is thinking of a real 'private issue'. I
think that this is one of the most important design features for the
potential private currency.

What I mean by "works" like credit cards is not the transaction tracking
bookeeping part, but the physical handling of the transaction at the
point of sale. I envision a card reader machine that you run a magnetic
strip card through. The machine read/writes the ecash card does what
ever cryptographic steps necessary to complete the transaction and the
card is handed back to the customer. Credits are transmited to the eash
bank/currency issuer and the clerk hands the customer a recipt. It would
also be good if the card reader machine could also process transactions
with traditional credit cards.

You could even have a logo sticker that you put on your shop window to
show that you will accept that "new kind of credit-card".

Is the bank/credit-card company laying the marketing ground work for a
private currency based on ecash?  If it is, it is a interesting way of
selling the concept, making it a COOL RAD - avant garde thing to use.

Other selling points of a private issue could be lack of inflation, better
intrest rates and possible tax advantages. Of course the issuer would have
to be trusworth (or at least more trusworth than the guverment!).

Signing off, while shopping for Cayman Islands bank services...

[  Public pgp-key: email [email protected] with subject as 'send pgp-key'  ]
[     My opinions are mine. I have scored 90% on the the Turing Test.     ]
[                   Alan Penny, [email protected]                          ]