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Re: dbts: Cryptographic Dog Stocks, The Dirigible Biplane, andSending the Wizards Back to Menlo Park
Jeeez, I hope no one else sprained a finger getting the current
stock price for Security Dynamics (SDTI). Robert Hettinga
<[email protected]> took certain, ummm, dramatic liberties as he
paraphrased a Boston Globe column yesterday on Bay State stocks that had
"been discounted so deeply they raise eyebrows."
Said Mr. Hettinga:
>It seems that Security Dynamics, trading at about 6, about >10% or so of
>its high, is now considered an official dog >stock as defined by today's
What the Globe actually said was:
"Security Dynamics Technologies Inc. of Bedford, a leader in computer
security and encryption, has fallen from an April high of 42 1/2 to 12
yesterday. It traded as low as 6 two weeks ago."
Said Mr. Hettinga:
>Anyway, most of the comments in the article were about SD's >hardware
>token technology being made obsolete by digital >"certificates". (The
>Globe's quotes, but I agree with them. >Just like I put quotes around
>digital "signatures", which >are nothing of the kind, though I haven't
>heard of >something better call *them* yet, either.) The Globe did
>>mention SD buying RSA, but they forgot to mention anything >about the RSA
>patent expiring soon. About the only thing >they said was valuable about
>SD was their share in that >roaring success, Verisign, Inc., who, the
>Globe seems to >imply, is evidently the sole marketer of those self-same
>>digital "certificates". I wonder what Thawte, CertCo, >Entrust, etc.made
>of *that* comment...
Hmmmm. What the Globe actually said was:
"Security Dynamics made money for years selling authentication
systems for corporate computer users and later acquired RSA Data Security,
an Internet encryption leader. Now its original authentication products are
challenged by new technology using so-called ``digital certificates'' to
make computer communication and commerce secure - a serious problem that
has hurt the stock.
"But Security Dynamics, with a current market value of about $490
million, could still offer a bigger company a leading position in the
important computer security field and a huge embedded customer base.
"Security Dynamics also owns a stake in Verisign Inc., a competitor
in the digital certificate field. The company's cash and its investment in
Verisign amount to about $6.50 per share, slightly more than half the
stock's current price."
Hettinga essays are like handball games: the damn ball is
ricocheting off the side walls, both ends, the floor and the ceiling.
Linear coherence and internal consistency are less important than the
electrostatic energy and the rolling rhetorical thunder -- so hey, no big
deal if he's a little frisky and expansive with the facts, right?
For the full Globe article, cut & paste this URL:
Wall Street has not been kind to SDTI, from whom I have collected
many checks for contract assignments over the years. Mr. Hettinga's
explanation of the market's dynamics is, at the very least, guaranteed to
Hettinga's apparent scorn for modern cryptography's obsession with
strong authentication -- now manifest in the intensity with which
professionals worry the issues around PKC binding, key certification,
digital signatures, CA procedures (and in the demand for smartcards to
secure X509 certs apart from the networked CPU) -- bespeaks a truly
What tucked me in for the night was the declaration -- from R.H.,
the avatar of DBTS, e-cash, and geodesic recursive auctions -- that
(venture) capital is or will be counterproductive to entreprenurial
enterprise in the New Age. Un huh. Doomed, as well, by the hesitation
inherent in the merely human minds that control its flow (at least in Rob's
universe of cybernetic fiscal structures.)
Said Mr. Hettinga:
> It's beginning to look like venture capital is an
>industrial phenomenon, requiring correspondingly long
>ramp-up times, and it may be that geodesic markets move too
>fast for any "consensus" of the investment community to be
>achieved and, um, capitalized upon, soon enough to make
>money on a consistent basis, or at least in the presence of
>a savvy management team.
Gotta love a guy who can write a sentence like that, knot and and
double-knot it into a gangly tapestry -- and then glue the whole thing
across a wonderful image like a "dirigible biplane."
(That's a Hettinga vehicle is ever there was one. Even in the
imagination, it pushes or pulls large amounts of gas around in an unusually
"Cryptography is like literacy in the Dark Ages. Infinitely potent, for
good and ill... yet basically an intellectual construct, an idea, which by
its nature will resist efforts to restrict it to bureaucrats and others who
deem only themselves worthy of such Privilege."
_ A Thinking Man's Creed for Crypto _vbm.
* Vin McLellan + The Privacy Guild + <[email protected]> *
53 Nichols St., Chelsea, MA 02150 USA <617> 884-5548