1996-03-13 - Ecash press release

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From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 0f69db53775e5f2d82e358c7950f49879813c8609e1c7a97e61e1240c4903977
Message ID: <v02120d09ad6c705ea642@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-03-13 13:11:07 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 13 Mar 1996 21:11:07 +0800

Raw message

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 1996 21:11:07 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Ecash press release
Message-ID: <v02120d09ad6c705ea642@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

--- begin forwarded text

Comments: Authenticated sender is <paul@digicash.com>
From: "Paul Dinnissen" <paul@digicash.com>
Organization: DigiCash bv
To: ecash@digicash.com
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 1996 11:24:54 +1
Subject: Ecash press release
Reply-to: paul@digicash.com
Priority: normal
Sender: owner-ecash@digicash.com
Precedence: bulk

Release date:                           Contact EUnet Amsterdam:
Wednesday, March 13, 1996               Mr. Graham Wilson
Amsterdam, The Netherlands              Tel: +31 20 623 3803
                                        Fax: +31 20 662 4657
Contact DigiCash Amsterdam:             email: media@EU.net
Mr. Paul Dinnissen                      http://www.eu.net/
Tel: +31 20 665 2611
Fax: +31 20 665 1126                    Contact Merita Bank Helsinki:
email: press@digicash.com               Mr. Timo Nikinmaa
http://www.digicash.com/                Tel: +358 0 1654 2471

                 Europeans Can Now Make Cash Purchases
                    on the Information Superhighway

              First European Electronic Cash System Opens
                     for Business on the Internet

Today EUnet, Europe's leading provider of Internet services, and
DigiCash, the leading innovator in electronic  payment technology,
have launched a system that lets consumers make and receive payments
over the Internet--using an electronic form of cash. The "ecash"
technology gives even very small payments of a few cents the level of
security once reserved exclusively for large-value wire transfers,
while providing users with the familiar irrefutability, privacy, and
person-to-person payment capability of paper money.

The system is first being launched in Finland, the country with one of
the highest number of Internet  connections per person in the world.
Merita, Finland's largest bank, already provides over 3,000,000
account holders with access to its Solo payment service. This now
allows users to visit a "virtual ATM" on the World Wide Web, and
withdraw money directly from their bank account into their ecash
"purse". With this money they can make electronic payments to each
other as well as to on-line merchants.

The merchants already accepting ecash on launch day range from popular
magazines and newspapers, to  those selling stock quotes and GSM
paging through email. Soon, while travelling anywhere in Europe, you
will be able to dial a local number and pay for your Internet access,
via EUnetTraveller, using ecash. Following a successful launch in
Finland, EUnet, working with major banks, intends to roll out the
service during 1996, in more of the 41 countries in which it operates.

"We are delighted to be the first Internet Service Provider in the
world to make the benefits of ecash fully available to Internet users"
says Wim Vink, EUnet's Managing Director. "We see the ecash system as
a major enabling technology that will make electronic commerce into an
effective new way of doing business. Its simplicity and security
features mean that users can make purchases electronically with
confidence, convenience and privacy."

"We are happy to contribute to the development of a variety of secure
payment systems on the Internet," says Matti Karvonen, First Vice
President of Merita Bank. "Electronic commerce is likely to increase
as users are able to choose a payment system that suits them best.
Merita has around 200,000 customers who already use terminals for
their daily banking. We believe that the number will increase further
with the introduction of ecash and Solo payments."

"This launch and EUnetTraveller are really exciting new uses of ecash.
As transaction costs drop, low-value payments will be catalytic to
growth in electronic commerce" says Dr. David Chaum, the inventor of
electronic cash and Managing Director of DigiCash. "This will let the
unique advantages of ecash shine through: protecting the interest of
society better than paper money, while helping people protect their
own interests and enjoy the privacy and freedom they are accustomed to
with cash."

                            *  *  *

          (DigiCash and ecash are registered trademarks
            and should always be referred to as such)

                           -- end --

                      DigiCash Background

Since beginning operation in April 1990, DigiCash's mission
and primary activity has been to develop and license competitive
payment techniques that show the true capability of technology to
protect the interests of all participants. Dr. David Chaum, Managing
Director of DigiCash, received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the
University of California at Berkeley, then taught at New York
University Graduate School of Business Administration and at the
University of California, and headed the Cryptography Group at CWI,
the Dutch nationally-funded centre for research in mathematics and
computer science, before taking his current position. He has published
over 45 original technical articles on cryptography and also founded
the International Association for Cryptologic Research.

                       EUnet Background

EUnet is Europe's leading commercial Internet Service
Provider, offering the full range of Internet Services, serving over
100,000 customers and over 750,000 users in 41 countries. EUnet, which
manages its own dedicated network infrastructure, offers full local
support services in each country of operation. Outside Europe, EUnet
has developed an expanding network of national and regional service
providers, with the aim of continually extending the services it
offers to customers world-wide.

                    Merita Bank Background

Merita Bank Ltd was formed in June 1995 from the merger of the
largest commercial banks in Finland, Union Bank of Finland Ltd and
Kansaills-Osake-Pankki. In Finland, Merita provides a full range of
finance, payment and asset-management services for households,
companies and institutions. The retail bank serves some 3,000,000
personal customers and over 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses.
At the end of September 1995, the total consolidated assets of the
Merita Group stood at FIM 283 billion. Merita Bank's market share of
total Finnish markka lending was 43.5 per cent, and its market share
of total Finnish markka deposits was 43.3 per cent. The number of
employees was 16,870.

           Companies That Welcome Ecash in Finland

City Magazine -- City Magazine is the most popular magazine among
Finland's 18-35 year-olds. With interviews, fashion, the latest
trends, current affairs and local events, City's nationwide
circulation is 225,000. Over the last eighteen months, City Magazine's
online service, `Surf City', has grown to a consistent 30,000 hits per
month. Now, when placing a classified ad in either the paper or the
online magazine, customers will be welcome to pay with ecash

SOM -- SOM, the Finnish Securities and Derivatives Exchange and
Clearing House,  established in 1987, serves as a neutral integrated
securities and derivatives exchange and clearing house.
 SOM offers real-time financial market information on stocks, options
and futures via the Internet, with invoices payable in ecash. Somtel
for Windows -the application that offers real-time feed, as well as
simulation and position-analysis functions-, is already available via
leased line.
 "The use of money makes stock trading less complicated, with money
acting as a practical intermediary between the transactions." states
Asko Schrey, President of SOM. "However, since stock trades, as well
as the shares themselves, are electronic nowadays, this conventional
transmission of money has actually become a bottleneck and a threat to
the development of the financial world. Therefore, SOM actively
participates in projects to promote and improve the efficiency of
payment traffic. We believe that electronic money will offer
interesting new possibilities."

Yomi Media -- Yomi Media Ltd., a part of KSP Phone Companies Group,
offers solutions in the field of digital media, information networks
and multimedia. Yomi Media has opened a virtual shop which sells phone
accessories and other telecommunication-related products via the
Internet. And they are pleased to accept ecash. Yomi Media will
provide ecash transaction services for other companies in the near

Finnish Keltainen Porssi -- Finland's third best-selling paper,
Keltainen Porssi now accepts ecash payments. "Keltainen Porssi's
business has two features that make ecash the perfect means of payment
to us" explains Ari Ahola, CEO of Infosto Group. "Firstly the large
number of transactions (some 500,000 weekly readers for the printed
media) and secondly the low cost of each transaction. The large number
of small transactions is most easily managed using DigiCash's ecash."
Ahola concluded
 "Keltainen Porssi features some 80,000 classified ads per week in two
printed issues. The advantages of Dynamic Database Publishing are very
attractive in our type of media: The ability to crosscheck and analyse
data, enter and browse the ads in real time are just a few of the new
features which will be introduced in our Internet edition." added

MTV3 Internet -- MTV3 Finland is a nationwide commercial TV channel
which, with 43% share of the audience, is by far the most popular TV
channel in Finland. Since the autumn the MTV3 Web service
(http://www.mtv3.fi/) has been developing a media that combines news
and entertainment with the possibility to include advertising. With
ecash it is now possible to do real-time shopping at the MTV3
Marketplace. MicroMedia -- MicroMedia is a private Finnish direct
marketing service house specialized in business-to-business marketing.
The Address File lists 300,000 Finnish decision makers at 135,000

                     How does ecash work?

Using ecash is like using a virtual ATM (Automatic Teller
Machine). When connecting to it over the Internet, you must first
authenticate your ownership of the account, and then request the
amount of ecash you want to withdraw. But instead of putting paper
cash in your wallet, your software stores the digital cash it receives
on the hard disk of your PC.
  When you want to make a payment, you simply confirm the
amount and the payee (you can add a description of the items bought,
or services wanted, if it is helpful) and then your ecash software
transfers coins of the correct value from your PC direct to the payee.
Merchants, (ranging from casual participants in the global Internet
bazaar to mega-retailers), can deposit the digital coins they receive
into their ecash accounts.
  Behind the user interface, your computer actually creates
some 'serial' numbers for the electronic coins based on a random seed.
Then it hides them in special encryption envelopes, sends them to the
electronic bank for signature and, when they are returned, removes the
envelopes while retaining the bank's validating digital signature on
the 'serial' numbers. This way, when the bank (eventually) receives
the coins you spend, it cannot recognize them as coming from any
particular withdrawal because they were hidden from the bank by the
envelopes during the withdrawal process. Therefore the bank cannot
know when or where you used a shop, or what you bought.
  The number of each signed coin is unique, allowing the bank
to be sure that it never accepts the same coin twice. In case you wish
to identify the recipient of any of your payments, you may
subsequently decide to reveal the unique coin number and use your
ecash software to prove that you created it.

                       How safe is ecash?

Security is fundamental to electronic cash. The cryptographic
coding that protects every 5 cent ecash payment is the same as that
routinely relied upon for authenticating requests to move huge sums
between banks and even for national security. But in principle ecash
goes beyond such communications security to achieve true multiparty
security: no one (buyer, seller, bank) can cheat anyone else, no
matter how they might modify their own software. Even if two parties
collude, they cannot cheat the third.
  Replacing paper and coins with ecash would make life much
harder for criminals. Because the payer's computer chooses the serial
numbers of the coins, he or she can later irrefutably identify
blackmarketeers, extortionists, and acceptors of bribes--were they to
accept ecash. Paper notes, briefcases full of which can be passed from
hand to hand without leaving any record, allow money laundering and
tax evasion today. With ecash, however, all the amounts each person
receives are known to their bank. Significant criminal activity could
thus be thwarted by completely replacing paper money; moreover, the
privacy of ecash would be essential to widespread acceptance of any
electronic payment system.

For more information on ecash please contact DigiCash.
info@digicash.com, http://www.digicash.com/, fax: +31 20 6651126

            Join the new ecash mailing-list!

   Mail to ecash-request@digicash.com and type 'help'
    or 'subscribe' in the first line of your message

// Paul Dinnissen, DigiCash bv, http://www.digicash.com/
// Experience is what you get, when you don't get what you want

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Robert Hettinga (rah@shipwright.com)
e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"Reality is not optional." --Thomas Sowell
The e$ Home Page: http://thumper.vmeng.com/pub/rah/