1994-08-06 - e$: Cypherpunks Sell Concepts

Header Data

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
To: Blanc Weber <cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: b6a371e0c660bc05f60f7832456d77f7b634d2096705d65601861c172b1aa761
Message ID: <199408062229.SAA24471@zork.tiac.net>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-08-06 22:30:08 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 6 Aug 94 15:30:08 PDT

Raw message

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 94 15:30:08 PDT
To: Blanc Weber <cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: e$: Cypherpunks Sell Concepts
Message-ID: <199408062229.SAA24471@zork.tiac.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At  1:38 PM 8/6/94 -0700, Blanc Weber wrote:
>From: Timothy C. May
>* what's really holding back the spread of digital cash?
>        What is the status of the work on this?  I would like to keep
>        up with its progress, if there are sources for the information.
>        (besides The Economist)


I'll bite. I think that practically the only thing holding digital cash
back at this point is pure and simple hucksterism. The whole concept of e$
(shorthand for e-money, with apologies to other currencies) should be
promoted more.  People who Really Work for a Living in Finance should be
educated about the potential impact of strong crypto on money.  There was a
comment from Perry a while back which hit home with me. He said:

>The problem is not a need for a killer app -- there are dozens. The
>obstacle is regulatory problems, and finding a large and reputable
>sponsoring organization (like a big bank).

Now, that makes sense to me.  It would go a long way towards legitimizing
e$ and strong crypto if a largish bank put up a pilot project where they
were exchanging, that is, making a secondary market in, real e$; maybe even
DigiCash(tm).  Ethier they or someone else could actually underwrite it,
because you have to have both to make the market exist.

Having heard what Eric has said about potential regulatory problems, I
think that most of them are inadvertant obstacles, because they certainly
weren't put there to obstruct e$, which didn't exist when they were
written.  I think if a reasonable (i.e. not illegal) business case were put
to the regulators, they would (as usual) conform to whatever business
interests want.

I think that in order for the above to happen, some softening up of the
targets has to occur. I understand that there are people on this list who
are interested in selling seminars on strong crypto to the finance
community.  What about doing that in the context of a conference program to
a larger audience?  Get some famous heavies in the business world and in
cyberspace to salt the conference flyer with.  A certain EFFer comes to
mind, among others who may be sympathetic to e$.  Invite mostly
businesspeople, preferably those in finance and finance operations, but
also regulatory/political types. Teach them what e$ is and how it works.
In return, e$vangelists can learn what questions their potential market
actually need to have answered before e$ will be real.  Maybe a deal or two
happens, who knows?

Repeat the process every year or two, but start the first one off as a
"ground school" in the fundamentals.

This thing doesn't have to be affiliated with the cypherpunks list any more
than the original Computer Faire was affiliated with the Homebrew Computer

I wrote up an agenda when I was in the throes of the idea, and it's
somewhere around here (I *know* it is...). Off the top of my head, I
figured there'd be a schmooze reception the evening before, a brief primer
on strong crypto and e$ in the morning, a schmooze luncheon (with speaker),
a "where do we go from here" panel populated with business heavies in the
afternoon, and a schmooze reception (with product demos, if any) in the
evening to close.

Notice it's very heavy on the schmooze. I challenge you to do huckster
without lots of schmooze...

This is not to be a volunteer effort. People who worked on this would get
paid.  The conference wouldn't happen if the attendance numbers weren't
there. The participants will pay somewhat serious money to attend, and they
will be interested in making money with the information obtained and
contacts made at the conference.

I'm pretty sure I want to do this one. I'd like to do it on this coast
(Boston) because the money's over here, anyway, and there's still some
technology over here that hasn't been made obsolete in the Bay Area.
Besides, the east coast's halfway to Amsterdam, right? (yeah, I know, so's

So. Does anyone have any pointers?

Robert 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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