1995-01-19 - Re: Electronic cash illegal?

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From: wcs@anchor.ho.att.com (bill.stewart@pleasantonca.ncr.com +1-510-484-6204)
To: GIETV@ns.rhodes.edu
Message Hash: 6d33e63d6525a79fe6af80661253de137b6791f92899fbd4fe6f73e1fff8f609
Message ID: <9501190223.AA07519@anchor.ho.att.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1995-01-19 02:25:16 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 18 Jan 95 18:25:16 PST

Raw message

From: wcs@anchor.ho.att.com (bill.stewart@pleasantonca.ncr.com +1-510-484-6204)
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 95 18:25:16 PST
To: GIETV@ns.rhodes.edu
Subject: Re: Electronic cash illegal?
Message-ID: <9501190223.AA07519@anchor.ho.att.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> Within the United States (and most other sovereign states) Hal Finney is
> correct to point out that the power to print currency is reserved to the
> government.  I would think that e-cash is a currency and therefore illegal
> TO ISSUE WITHIN the geographical (legal) domain of the US.  

He didn't say it was illegal to print private banknotes, just taxable.
Anybody can issue paper or metal tokens or whatever - the difference
with goverment-issue currency is that they can pass laws saying you
must accept it as payment for debts, even though your contract
specified repayment in real money instead of private bogons
like green paper IOUs or lightweight impure-metal coins with
politician's pictures on them.

As far as I know, the legal definition of a "dollar" in the US is still a
certain weight of silver, and payment in silver legally satisfies debts;
under current silver prices, that probably costs more than a 
$1 US Federal Reserve Note, so nobody bothers.