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Mark Twain Bank (was: Anonymity: A Modest Proposal)

First of all, those who have looked over the MT Bank stuff all
know that they are clearly off to a very shaky start. I know of
three guys that could have done a _much_ more professional job,
almost a year ago. Unfortunately we were rejected by Chaum as
insufficiently respectable. So now we get a service that is
lame, confusing and expensive -- at least at the bank end.

Chaum apparently continues to suffer from the belief that he
needs a real bank to issue e-cash. Well, MT Bank is a real bank,
but they have managed to violate at least one major Federal Reserve
requirement (accounts in the ECash mint are clearly demand deposit
accounts -- it would have been trivial to define them differently
but somebody apparently wasn't thinking.) A technically-oriented NBFI
could have done a much better job, without a lot of the "real bank"
baggage, such as minimum deposits ($250, not $2,500, but still
pretty steep for someone wanting to spend $.10 on something.) My
understanding is that the _bank account_ is FDIC insured, but not
the ECash. I could be wrong -- their materials are extremely confusing
and hard to follow.

As one of my co-workers said today, "It will be interesting to sit
back and watch them take regulatory mortar fire." Indeed.

I'm really hoping that they pull their act together -- I've already
sent in my account application -- but things look really grim at
the moment. There are certainly a lot of projects list members are
working on that would be greatly enhanced by functioning, popular
e-cash. I encourage everyone to give them lots of helpful feedback
so that they can turn this around.

On another note, I'm hoping that some of you will also bite the
bullet, get accounts, and join me attempting to win valuable
prizes in Sameer's "Hack Digicash" promotion. I'd rather see one
of us find holes in this than see the whole thing melt into the

This extremely unprofessional, bungled launch does, I admit, make
Mondex (with scads of beautiful marketing literature) look better all
the time, although based on some conversations on Sunday, it appears
that they may have _extremely serious_ architectural security problems.
We'll see how things play out.



>        With the release of digicash I hope that we can soon make this
>stuff for-pay and much of the spam problem will be fixed. (Not all of
>it, of course.)
>        (I am rather hesitatnt to setup an account with Mark Twain
>though.. $2,500 min balance and not FDIC insured?)