1994-08-10 - Re: e$: Cypherpunks Sell Concepts

Header Data

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 8966f4759b39ac578408641856084f3aa67dad27be58495d43252c89b06b3585
Message ID: <199408101246.IAA18622@zork.tiac.net>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-08-10 12:48:39 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 10 Aug 94 05:48:39 PDT

Raw message

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 94 05:48:39 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: e$: Cypherpunks Sell Concepts
Message-ID: <199408101246.IAA18622@zork.tiac.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I posted this:

> Second, we need a lawyer.  This is a good thing, 'cause a you can't hack
> laws without a lawyer (most of the time, anyway...), and
> (ObThreadRelevance) we need one to pitch this stuff to other lawyers
> (regulators, et. al.) anyway...
> In search of Vinnie "the Pro" Bono, honorable second cousin of the esteemed
> mayor of Palm Springs,
> Bob Hettinga

I got the following in e-mail from a law professor (shall we call him/her
"Professor Vinnie"?) who wants to remain nameless for some reason...
Somebody should teach "him" how to use a remailer, eh?  This person is
emblematic of all the usual interface problems with spiffy new stuff... Oh
well. The posting is late because of the time took me to get permission.
They should be a little faster next time. Here's what s/he said:

>My specialties involve law about the government, not law about financial
>transactions, so I'm guessing more than anything else here, but it seems
>to me that there are two simple rules of thumb that ought to apply:
>1) E$ is not a security so long as there is no suggestion that you might
>ever get back more than you paid.  I.E. no interest, no dividends, no
>profits.  So long as e$ is exchanged at 1:1 (or less if there is a
>transaction fee) with US$, then odds are very good it's not going to be
>seen as a security, at least under federal law (who knows what funny rules
>they may have in *your* state...).
>2) It's not going to be a scrip problem so long as every e$ is purchased
>in advance for a US$.  People run into problems when they are seen to be
>creating value, e.g. as banks do with fractional reserve lending.  So
>long as e$ sticks close to the travellers check model, I would imagine
>rules which apply in the US will be UCC rules that apply to checks, and
>IOUs.  This would seem to be a desireable state of affairs for e$.
>I am late to this subject, so if in fact e$ fails either of the tests
>above, please let me know.

After I got this, I asked "him" to reply directly to the list, and "he"
replied declining to do so, the following is the only part of "his" reply
that is relevant to the above.

>I should warn you again:  I'm an administrative lawyer.  The 'research'
>for that note consisted of five minutes conversation in bed with my <spouse>
>who is a securities lawyer.  From another country. There's a good chance I
>have no idea what I'm talking about...

Great. We've got ourselves a lawyer in the loop who'll help us talk about
this stuff. I fingered "him" <fingering a lawyer?> and "he" looks real to
me.  Guess I have some reading to do about this anonymity stuff, eh?

Anyway, it's real nice to have another pair of (trained) eyes looking at
the problem.

Bob Hettinga
(Human remailer and mouthpiece mouthpiece)

Robert Hettinga  (rah@shipwright.com) "There is no difference between someone
Shipwright Development Corporation     who eats too little and sees Heaven and
44 Farquhar Street                       someone who drinks too much and sees
Boston, MA 02331 USA                       snakes." -- Bertrand Russell
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