1994-07-06 - Re: BoardWatch on digital cash

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From: roy@sendai.cybrspc.mn.org (Roy M. Silvernail)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 250ed543d745d9d264fa9afc4ffeafb75e9f4db1228f09414a31567252b2b565
Message ID: <940705.181112.7M4.rusnews.w165w@sendai.cybrspc.mn.org>
Reply To: <199407051850.LAA20572@netcom4.netcom.com>
UTC Datetime: 1994-07-06 01:16:31 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 5 Jul 94 18:16:31 PDT

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From: roy@sendai.cybrspc.mn.org (Roy M. Silvernail)
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 94 18:16:31 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: BoardWatch on digital cash
In-Reply-To: <199407051850.LAA20572@netcom4.netcom.com>
Message-ID: <940705.181112.7M4.rusnews.w165w@sendai.cybrspc.mn.org>
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In list.cypherpunks, tcmay@netcom.com writes:

> Indeed, there are many kinds of "digital cash" or "digital money"
> being floated. I suspect the term is about to join "Information
> Superhighway" and "infobahn" in the popular media.

I believe I'll just be cringing now.  Ugh!  I hate the cute metaphors.

> But all but a very few of them are polar opposites of what we as
> Cypherpunks want. Microsoft wants home banking, VISA wants it, and
> various cryptographically-incompetent schemes are being proposed.
> As you on this list all know, these are Bad Ideas.

Widespread home banking would give the Con a real good window into not
only the spending habits, but the sum of resources of a lot of people.
When you add in debit-card transactions at the supermarket, you have
pretty much a microscopic picture of a person (including a fair estimate
of their cash transactions, albeit with no hard link to where the cash
goes).  I'm sure the electronic banking being done even now is harvested
for statistical data.  (And I'm having real second thoughts about the
bank-by-phone service where I've toned in my account number and ATM PIN.
I have no guarantee that my phone line is secure.)

> What we can do to head them off or to deploy the right kinds of
> systems is the challenge ahead of us.

Preemptive deployment has to be the answer.  Just like strong crypto
everywhere else, get the product out there.  What we need (and probably
don't have a chance in hell of getting) is a regional bank to step out
and make cryptographically secure home banking available.  If it were
me, I'd hit everywhere... telephone modem links, Internet connection
(yeah, I know... trendy, but an effective attention-getting device) and
some kind of interactive cable system.  If one bank does it, and sells
the crypto security hard, the others will have to follow suit for
marketing, if no other reason.

Now, if that bank also were to be a real Digi-Cash agent as well...

> (My greatest fear: legislation to support home/cable banking, with
> restriction on competitors.)

That's the historical method, though.  It's tough to deflect that kind
of inertia.
- -- 
Roy M. Silvernail  []  roy@sendai.cybrspc.mn.org

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