1994-08-24 - Re: In Search of Genuine DigiCash

Header Data

From: Jason W Solinsky <solman@MIT.EDU>
To: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Message Hash: 8d989da68ca1d4b0fa8cf9e8ea825370b63307af2a3c9c7a184b970820acd17d
Message ID: <9408240208.AA01039@ua.MIT.EDU>
Reply To: <199408231722.NAA04896@zork.tiac.net>
UTC Datetime: 1994-08-24 02:09:02 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 23 Aug 94 19:09:02 PDT

Raw message

From: Jason W Solinsky <solman@MIT.EDU>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 94 19:09:02 PDT
To: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Subject: Re: In Search of Genuine DigiCash
In-Reply-To: <199408231722.NAA04896@zork.tiac.net>
Message-ID: <9408240208.AA01039@ua.MIT.EDU>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Bob sez:
> At  9:25 PM 8/22/94 -0700, Timothy C. May wrote:

> >Anonymity is what gives digital cash it's raison
> >d'etre, it's technological advantages over conventional schemes.

Well I don't buy the idea that people will shell out cash for this (i.e.
I think the only way we'll wind up with annonymous digicash is if the
people who put together the best system insist on anonymity) but I can't
claim to have data to refute this.

> I'll try to to come at this from another tack. Cryptography gives
> anonymity. Anononymity reduces the overhead. The reduced overhead should
> make digital cash more economically efficient than on-line systems like
> NetBank, or credit-cards or much of anything else, at the moment. The
> economic efficiency is what may make digitial cash economical as a way to
> provide liquidity for internet commerce.  The major selling point is *not*
> privacy.  The major selling point is economic efficiency.

Well we agree that the selling point is economic efficiency. But "anonymity
reduces overhead" ?

All that you save is the space required for the recording of names. Since
whichever digicash system wins will almost certainly include software
automating double entry accounting, I have real trouble buying this.
How much overhead do you really save? Is it enough to offset the costs
of implementing the double spender identification system? I don't think
it is. [Although it seems to me that the costs of both are absolutely
trivial and not worth considering when speaking of the overhead in a
digicash system. Far more important are the investment of capital and the
pragmatics of the exchange mechanism]
> >If anonymity, untraceability, and other "Chaumian" notions are only
> >seen as peripheral side effects, then we already _have_ "digital cash"
> >in the encrypted credit card systems some folks are already offering.
> They are peripheral side effects. They also are the very things that make
> digital cash a more efficient medium of exchange.

How? There are alot of reasons why I think anonymity is important, but I fail
to see any significant economic advantage that anonymity confers to a person
who otherwise couldn't care less about it.

Jason W. Solinsky