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e$: 24 Hours


e$: 24 Hours

Yesterday, I had probably the most amazing day I've had in a very
long time. As the day revolved around e$, strong crypto, cryptoanarchy,
Macs and the life on the internet, I thought I would share it with you.

     Got up before the alarm. Carol, my wife, dropped me off at the gym,
     where I hadn't set foot in about 6 months. Started up yet another
     new exercise program. Did a lot of big muscle stuff, like squats
     and deadlifts -- now I can't climb stairs so well for a while. Shaved
     off yet another unfinished goatee (3rd time in 6 weeks) because I
     had to be presentable in public today.

     Showed up at the speaker's desk at Infoworld Boston, got
     credentialled and went to find David Fox's session on transaction
     methods. Had some time before, so I ran down to the floor and
     weaseled an Apple Internet guy named Tom Bartlett into shooting a
     picture of me with a QuickTake so that Vinnie Moscaritolo, another
     friend at Apple, wouldn't have a picture of him holding a scrawled
     sign saying "Bob: send me a GIF for this!" on the e$ web-page he's
     building for me at http://www.webstuff.apple.com/~vinnie/Rah/ . I
     had Tom e-mail the GIF to me from the floor, and ran back to
     the session, with 5 minutes to spare.

     The session got about 300 attendees, who listened to presentations
     from Pierre from First Virtual, Cliff from Open Market and Mike
     from Checkfree, and then I got to talk a bit.

     I had never spoken to a convention before, and here I was batting
     cleanup after all the pros pitched their stuff. David Fox introduced
     me as a "Wild Card", and I did my best to help him out. We were running
     late, but after asking them to get up and stretch after sitting
     through 2 hours of dog-and-pony, I asked the audience how many
     people people were from Boston, and told them about The Boston
     Society for Digital Commerce and when the meeting was. I then asked
     them how many of them had ever sold a car, and then asked them whether
     they took MasterCard from the buyer, and got a nice laugh.

     I told them that I thought that digital commerce *was* financial
     cryptography, and that most people settling trades on the net were
     just figuring that out. I told them to go out and buy Applied
     Cryptography by Schneier, and Out of Control by Kelley. I told them
     about the difference between certificate-based and book-entry
     transaction systems. I told them about Tim May's idea of
     Crypto-Anarchy, and about the Cypherpunks.

     Finally I asked them to imagine a world where instead of needing to
     enforce copyrights and patents, a developer's code would simply
     refuse to run periodically without a digital receipt saying that
     some specified amount had been paid, to the developer, preferrably
     in cash. I told them about Digicash, Mark Twain Bank, and about
     how important that was, even if it was a bumpy first start.

     At question-and-answer time, a guy from Germany asked us about the
     ITARs, regulatory restrictions on international transactions, and
     deutchmark-denominated business. All of the other presenters allowed
     that while that was hard, they had patches or were working on it, and
     that regulations were a problem. I talked about Eric Hughes' idea
     of regulatory arbitrage, how John Gilmore said that the internet saw
     censorship, and by extension arbitrary regulation, as damage, and
     routed around it, and I said that the folks at Mark Twain and
     Digicash had seen this as a problem and set up their system to be
     denominated in one of 5 currencies, including marks.

     I picked up about 10 cards from people who wanted to come to lunch at
     the Boston Society for Digital Commerce. (Plug: The first Tuesday of
     the month at the downtown Harvard Club. This month's speaker is Win Treese
     from Open Market, on how to design systems for digital commerce. E-mail
     me for details.)

     In addition, I saw BSDC member Dave Lash, a real-estate mogul turned
     web-fanatic who told me how to clean up my presentation style for next

     After schmoozing, and trying to find a bank to cash a check. I met
     David Fox and his web guy (forgot your name, sorry) on the trade
     floor in front of the Netscape booth, which was about 20% the size
     of the IBM booth, and was blocking the aisles so much that the fire
     marshall was giving them grief for it.

     We then went to see Jim Phillips at Security First Network Bank.
     SFNB is in Atlanta, and while the likes of Citicorp and Chase were
     putting together proprietary, dial-up, bank-by-phone systems, Jim
     went ahead and did his stuff on the web for some rediculous fraction
     of their costs. They were the only bank there. They had this tiny
     booth way back in the corner, and they were also a fire marshall
     problem. Jim was talking to a guy from California somewhere about
     setting up an account right then and there.

     I told Jim to expect a visit from my anonymous digital signature
     law source "Irwin" , (for Irwin Cory, The World's Foremost
     Authority, RIP), who had asked me earlier in the week about SFNB,
     and how to get ahold of them.

     Then, David, who was the original Aldus and Radius distributor in
     Australia before moving here a few years ago, went around lining up
     sponsors for his WWW pre-tradeshow tradeshow which in turn evolved
     out of his tradeshow directory business.

     While we walked around, I talked to David some more about e$pam, my
     idea for building a group of three e$-mail lists (a filtered list of
     other e$-ralated sources, an unmoderated "watering hole", and a
     newsletter), and we agreed to talk more about it on Friday sometime.

3:00 Cashed a check from my first-ever writing sale, a longish rant
     entitled "The Geodesic Network, OpenDoc, and CyberDog", which
     originally was posted to apple-internet-users, was cross-posted by
     bunches of other people in the Mac world to other e-mail lists all
     over the place, got me fan mail from the likes of Kawasaki, Alsop,
     Petreley, and various Apple Vice Presidents, and was even cited in a
     New Zealand law journal. An editor from InfoWorld bashed it from
     a 20kb rant down to a feature article of about 1300 words, and it
     will appear this Monday in the November 6th issue.

4:00 Went to see a client, who is the CFO for a famous, er, beauty salon,
     with about 50 salons world wide. I sort of core-dumped at him about
     how someday he could send his e-mail his cash to the home office in
     London every night. He's seen me like this before, so he didn't
     quite think I was from Mars...

5:45 As a lurker on the internet-marketing list, I got invited to a
     party at Bob Metcalfe's 5-story Back Bay townhouse. I had recruited
     Julie Rackliffe, a friend of mine in "Development" at the Computer Museum,
     to come along so I would know at least one person there. When I got
     there, I saw Dave Lash again. Small world.

     Besides the usual groceries, Bob had a big bunch of posterboard on a
     on his dining room table, and another piece of posterboard on his
     fireplace mantle. There were a bunch of questions on the table's poster,
     and one was about winners and loosers. I said that digital
     financial certificate underwriters would be the winners, and that
     loosers would be companies which depended on large information
     hierarchies. There was a question about anonymity, and I quoted
     Gilmore on network damage again.  On the fireplace mantle was this
     posterboard with an org chart with business-card sized blank boxes
     all over it. One side of the pyramid said "Client", the other side
     said "Server", and so I drew a big cloud off to the side with the
     label "Crypto-Anarchist" in it, and put my card there. A few people
     moved their cards into the cloud. I was rather pleased with myself...

     I went upstairs where I met John Levine, who was in the PBS internet
     special last year, and Margy Levine Young, who wrote "The Internet for
     Windows for Dummies Starter Kit" in a room with a Windows box, a bonded
     ISDN connection and a wall projector. I showed a few people the e$
     web-page, met the author of the refrigerator magnets page, and found
     out the John and Margy were fellow Unitarians, and that Margy's husband
     is the UU webmaster. We're everywhere, we're everywhere.

     I went up to the third floor, where by that time they were serving
     coffee and dessert, and Bob Metcalfe was there reccommending desserts
     to people. By that time I was talking to a trust officer at a very
     large institutional trustee bank here in Boston about how to
     underwrite digital cash. This guy was sympathetic because what he
     really wanted to do was chuck it all and go to work for Open Market. I
     told him that the next best thing was to let me come in and evangelize
     his bank a bit. He agreed. Dubiously. Anyway, He wants to come to
     lunch at BSDC, probably to schmooze the Open Market folks.  So while
     I was standing there waiting for coffee, I told Metcalfe about
     getting a feature article into his magazine.  One thing led to
     another, and the next thing I know, we're up another flight of
     stairs, and I'm dumping core again, this time about 10 steps from
     ARP-1, the original ARPANet transponder.  Oh. Metcalfe uses a Mac,
     even though his internet feed is to a Wintel box.

     Metcalfe first starts off with a few coy questions about Phiber
     Optik, and Phil Zimmerman, and he figures out that my interest in
     cryptography is pretty much in its financial implications. So, for the
     better part of half an hour, he's quizzing me about stuff like
     digital cash, digital certificates and financial disintermediation,
     and pretty much the whole geodesic market rant.  He says he likes
     "Mr., Doctor, Doctor, Huber's" stuff, a reference to Huber's
     hypercredentialed resume.  He talked about these crazy people who
     were creating a secondary market in Digicash's beta certificates,
     so I told him about Lucky Green, Rich Lethin and how all of us
     created ecm.

     I told Metcalfe about reputation capital, and, when he talked about
     the evils of anonymity, I talk about how on the net, a key pair *is* your
     identity, and about Tim May's cryptoanarchy stuff.  I told him about
     BSDC and asked about him speaking sometime, but he says he's working
     on a conference and a book, and his wife will kill him if he starts
     making speeches again.  He wanted on the BSDC list, though, so I'm
     going to subscribe him and see what happens. I also said I'd mail him
     the e$ URL.

     I get home and after telling Carol all about my day, I still can't
     sleep, so I jump on the net and filter cypherpunks for buyinfo, and
     then answer some mail from my college roomate, who found me last
     week.  He's a commander in the Navy who's now flying planes at
     McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.  I shot him back a message and told him
     about the e$ web-page, which he's going to have to sneak into another
     office to look at some other night, ;-), and I told him that I was
     writing this and would send it to him when I was through.

     I still wasn't sleepy, so I plinked on the development version of the
     e$ page with the new picture, and when I was done with that, I read
     news, and, in reply to a comment I posted on soc.culture.alaska (I
     spent middle school in Anchorage), I get a reply from Mr. Pickett, my
     7th and 8th grade science teacher, and my favorite science teacher on
     the whole planet.  Since I had just put a picture on my web-page, I
     put the development page's URL on the message so he could see what I
     looked like now.

     I finally go to sleep.

Bob Hettinga

Version: 2.6.2


Robert Hettinga ([email protected])
Shipwright Development Corporation, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131
USA (617) 323-7923
"Reality is not optional." --Thomas Sowell
>>>>Phree Phil: Email: [email protected]  http://www.netresponse.com/zldf <<<<<