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Re: Remailers and ecash



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>At 03:18 AM 9/27/97 -0400, Anonymous (Monty Cantsin) wrote:
>>Just out of a curiousity, why is it that no remailers accept ecash?
>>
>>The brutally simple way to do this would be to generate an ecash
>>certificate, made out to cash, and tack it at the beginning of a
>>message which is then encrypted for the remailer.
>
>The answer to your question may be to first recast your questions and
>ask why would someone want to attach ecash?  I assume you are trying
>to "pay" for the email you send.  This goes against the general model
>of the internet.

We are solving a different problem.

The reason I want to attach ecash is to get good reliable service and
to encourage many other people to offer good high quality remailing
services.  Let's a remailer operator can make $200/month by handling
messages at 25 cents each.  (That's 800 messages a month, hardly
overwhelming.)

You might not go public on that much revenue, but you might use your
desktop machine as a remailer.

>Unlike the phone company, the net peers freely with no
>interconnection charges, so inter lata charges do not have to be
>tracked and collected.  This allows for a flat rate pricing scheme.
>For remailers, this flat rate is generally zero dollars, i.e. free.

Free usually doesn't work very well, and it isn't working well now.

Use of ecash in the remailer network means there is no tracking and
collecting or a final bill.  This would somewhat defeat the purpose of
using remailers, would it not?

>There are remailers of various types who offer services for a charge
>of some sort.  This is generally a flat rate fee, either per month,
>or per year.

Really?  How does this work?  (And which remailers offer these services?)

If implemented naively, each message must carry some sort of
identifier.  Even if the owner of the account isn't known, all of his
messages are easily linked.  This is undesirable.

A more sophisticated implementation would use something like blinded
credentials.  But, that's the functionality ecash provides anwyay,
right now, this day, without any work.  So why not leverage off it and
take advantage of the payment features as well?

>There is likely no desire to price on a per item basis.  If there
>were, I would think it would be in the millicent range of pricing.

Given the existing infrastructure, per item pricing is the easiest to
implement while retaining full anonymity.  Digicash and Mark Twain
Bank already did the hard work!  They already have a bank set up!

All we have to do is make use of it.

As for millicent pricing, we'll see.  Once things get rolling, the
price should fall below a quarter.  But it will have to be high enough
to make running a remailer worth the trouble.

There also seems to be an idea that there is some big R&D investment
in adapting a remailer to use e-cash.  There isn't.  You have to open
an account at Mark Twain Bank.  You have to figure out how to call the
Digicash executable from within a Perl script.  (Since nobody has
corrected me on this, I am becoming confident that it is really as
easy as I think.)  Why not try it?  Worst case, you lose a little
time.  Best case, you get rich and the remailer network takes off.

Here's another reason why this is important to cypherpunks.  We would
really like to see wider use of e-cash.  It is a great product and it
respects our privacy.

The way ecash will catch on is that a small group of people will start
using it regularly for services and trade within their loosely defined
community.  Once things start rolling, more people and services can be
added.  Once things catch on, they will snowball.

The place to start is in this group with the remailers.

Monty Cantsin
Editor in Chief
Smile Magazine
http://www.neoism.org/squares/smile_index.html
http://www.neoism.org/squares/cantsin_10.html

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