[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: A problem with anonymity

At 10:12 PM 9/1/95, MONTY HARDER wrote:
>TC> This is one thing that _bonding_ is designed to partially ameliorate. One
>TC> posts a bond which is greater than the amount being carried, or at least is
>  A variation of a bond is an escrow agent....
>     Overload Alert: I use "escrow" here in the more mundane sense of
>     the folks who collect your real estate taxes and homeowners'
>     insurance from you 1/12th at a time along with your mortgage
>     payment, for instance.
>  If the buyer has a =nonymous= agent to recieve the payment, which is
>only released to the seller upon proof(s) of performance (whether in
>lump sum or on a schedule of staged payments tied to specific milestones
>in a long-term project) then the buyer has someone to go after in the
>event of such shenannigans.

Oh, I agree, of course. Except that the escrow agent need not be a
"nonymous" agent, to use Monty's terminology here.

The third party escrow agent can of course be a digital pseudonym.

(As I keep saying, having the True Name--whatever that means these days--is
only one facet, one factor of the overall equation. In some cases, very
important, in other cases, less important.)

The canonical--if morbid--example is the "Al's Murder Escrow" agent. Al
holds the digital money (deposited anonymously, etc.) and doesn't pay the
hitter until certain conditions are met.

(Chaum has schemes to partly deal with this, but "money mixes" eliminate
traceability, but may introduce other issues.)

There are of course issues involving the escrow agent deciding not to pay,
etc. But most escrow services, like banks, make more money by staying in
business than by defrauding customers.

(I mention banks because, when you look at it closely, today's banks can
quite easily claim that a customer made a withdrawal when he didn't. That
they don't says more about the nature of persistent businesses than about
any government oversight or security features. This is a side point, but it
bears keeping in mind that the real world of banks and businesses, etc., is
not fully secure, either. And yet it mostly works pretty well. The reasons
for this are interesting to consider.)

--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."