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Re: Remailers and ecash


Matthew Ghio wrote:
>What people often forget is that these structures tend to evolve thru
>incremental changes rather than the immediate adoption of entirely
>new paradigms.  The 'barrier to entry', is often the deciding factor.

Good point.  I appreciated the following detailed discussion.  But, I
disagree on a few points.

>So, assuming that for-pay remailers are the goal, how do we get
>there?  If attaching chaum-cash to remailer messages were the answer,
>everyone would be doing it.

An economist was walking down the street and saw a hundred dollar
bill.  The engineer with him snapped it up.  Later, the engineer asked
why his friend hadn't taken the money.  "Well, the economist
explained, I knew that it couldn't really be there because if it was,
somebody would have gotten it."

>One potential scenario is "I'll let you use my remailer if you let me
>use yours," where people earn remailer credits by remailing other
>people's messages.  These remailer credits allow one to send
>anonymous messages via other remailers.  Once these remailer-credits
>become sufficiently valuable, they can be sold using whatever
>monetary system is popular at the time.

Think of ecash as "remailer credits", only somebody else has gone to
the trouble of solving all of the hard problems (including
infrastructure), and you can get remailer credits by doing any
productive activity for anybody in the world who will pay you in
dollars.  Some people will get ecash (i.e., "remailer credits") by
running remailers.  Others will get it by working for Microsoft and
converting part of their income to ecash.

Ecash suits the bill perfectly and it is available and working right
now.  It is actually easier to use ecash than to write some sort of
"remailer credit" system from scratch.

>Both of the above scenarios provide the desired end, which is that
>people pay for their remailer usage, and neither involves the
>(unlikely) model where people attach digicash to their remailer
>messages using the current system.

Again, there seems to be this idea that it's hard to get set up using
ecash.  If it were, long discussions about how likely it would be to
work with the remailers might be worthwhile.

But, the fact is, it isn't hard to get a remailer to accept ecash.
So, we should get a bunch of remailers accepting it and see how things

It should also be quite easy to modify existing client software to put
ecash into chained messages.

Consider premail.  Raph would have to add a keyword to his remailer
description table which means "accepts 25 cents ecash".

Premail could have a command line option to add ecash.

The ecash itself could come from a file of blocks of ASCII ecash made
out to cash, which are automatically clipped by premail and then
pasted into the message.  Easy, right?  Nobody even has to interact
with the ecash application from the program.

So where do these files full of blocks of ASCII ecash going to come
from?  People with ecash accounts can generate them by hand or by
having a program call the ecash software to generate them.  Then they
can give or sell them to their less fortunate friends who don't have
an ecash account.

If you don't use up all the ecash ASCII blocks, they can be

It's that easy.  It will work.

Monty Cantsin
Editor in Chief
Smile Magazine

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