1994-07-22 - Re: Voice/Fax Checks

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From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
To: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Message Hash: d405d623e503fc738d4f6252978abeb6a6ac243a0da2df05cc5edf0a9a81a95a
Message ID: <199407220458.AAA08181@zork.tiac.net>
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UTC Datetime: 1994-07-22 05:02:15 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 21 Jul 94 22:02:15 PDT

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From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 94 22:02:15 PDT
To: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Subject: Re: Voice/Fax Checks
Message-ID: <199407220458.AAA08181@zork.tiac.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At  8:33 PM 7/21/94 -0700, James A. Donald wrote:

>All existing substitutes are either insecure (credit cards) or involve
>excessive labor and transaction costs.
>Electronic transactions will take off like a rocket once they
>*undercut* existing methods.
>As yet, our mail encryption interface is still bad.  Convenient
>crypto cash must come after convenient crypto mail.

Chaum's going to do a full-blown internet demo real soon now, but the topic
of this thread (faxed account, ABA#, etc) is being done right now, right
out of the box.  There are the various "net.malls" on the net out with
secure mosaic credit card transactions.  A guy just said he made his first
sale (encrypted receipts and all) and we pooh-poohed him 'cause he didn't
tell us anything we didn't already know. (We gotta be nicer to these guys,

To mutate what I said in the previous post in this thread, 85% of the
people will settle for 75% privacy.  If there's something to buy, and they
can do an honest transaction and get the stuff they buy without being
ripped off, then they probably don't care who's looking over their
shoulder. Privacy will probably never be a selling point.  Privacy will
probably be an outflow of the need for e$, not vice versa. At this point I
may have a quasi-religeous faith that the key to the adoption of e$ is that
e$ reduces transaction costs, but we don't have any data to back it up.

As someone who's been thrashing this a little bit, I've gotten stuck on
exactly how to "*undercut*" the transaction costs of existing methods.  Got
any ideas?  Are those transaction costs as a percentage of total cost
meaningful enough to embue digital cash with the rocket-like competitive
advantage we hope for?

I don't have answers to these questions. I challenge you to come up with
that analysis without a working system to benchmark your assumptions
against.  Mr. Solman, who seems to have pre-announced an agent based system
with e$ "ticks" like in telescript, has my devoted interest at this point,
but until there's some actual data, we're only speculating.

BTW, I agree with you that Crypto mail isn't convenient. I still don't use
PGP because it's way too much trouble to screw around with, and I bet
doughnuts to dollars (Perry can hold the stakes.  He's a wagering man
;-)...) that the Mac PGP I have is easier to mess with than any version on
any other machine. <MacBigotMode(off)>

But, as I said above, you don't need secure email to move e$ around. Secure
mosaic will do just fine.  I used email in the section you quoted because
it's the simplest protocol conceptually, and I'm sorry you got tripped up
in it.

Light dawns on Marblehead. (Massachusetts joke).  Isn't the point of
digital cash that you *can* send it through unsecure mail and buy things?
Perry, I want my bag of doughnuts back. No need to have a "mine is better
than yours" bet after all.

I really should just go to sleep now...

Good Night,
Bob Hettinga

Robert Hettinga  (rah@shipwright.com) "There is no difference between someone
Shipwright Development Corporation     who eats too little and sees Heaven and
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