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Re: e$: The Book-Entry/Certificate Distinction

At 4:01 PM 8/22/95, Robert Hettinga wrote:

>Obviously, we aren't talking about the end of bookeeping as we know it
>(BAWKI? ;-), but it does mean that days of book-entry as a means of social
>control are numbered.

A good essay. Too long for me to quote and discuss, though.

I worry about our--or at least my, speaking for myself--terminology.
Consider these variations on the same theme:

cash <--> immediate clearing <--> tokens <--> certificates


checks <--> delayed clearing <--> account-based systems

(I'm using "<-->" as my own symbol to mean "related to.")

Chaum has been harping on this exact distinction in public talks. I at
first thought he was beating a dead horse, but I now see that most people
just don't get it. (I don't mean people on our list, I mean journalists and
writers about "digital money.")

Marvin Minsky once said the history of AI is the history of grad students
and researchers giving new names to old ideas. (Ironically, Minsky did this
in spades when he took the ideas of "object-oriented programming" and
invented the term "frame-based systems" to cover the same ground!)

One hope I have for the "class library" approach, whether implemented in
C++, Java, Smalltalk, etc., is that these terms and concepts will be
reified in code, with browsable definitions and examples.

The "financial instruments" people have been working on this "ontology of
money" for a long time. I have long been surprised that the crypto and
financial communities have little overlap.

No, I don't mean you folks are not bridging both worlds. And I don't mean
the banking and finance industry is not working on incorporating more
crypto. I mean that the "Crypto" conferences have very little stuff being
published on finance and money, save for the Chaum stuff.

The interesting stuff for me lies in the intersection of:

Crypto + Game Theory + Economics

--Tim May

Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
Corralitos, CA              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^756839      | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."