1998-05-13 - Philodox Symposium: Digital Bearer Transaction Settlement

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From: Robert Hettinga <rah@shipwright.com>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
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UTC Datetime: 1998-05-13 18:00:00 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 11:00:00 -0700 (PDT)

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From: Robert Hettinga <rah@shipwright.com>
Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 11:00:00 -0700 (PDT)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Philodox Symposium: Digital Bearer Transaction Settlement
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From: Robert Hettinga <rah@shipwright.com>
Subject: Philodox Symposium: Digital Bearer Transaction Settlement
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Announcement Date: May 13, 1998

The Philodox Symposium on Digital Bearer Transaction Settlement
The Downtown Harvard Club
Boston, Massachusetts
July 23-24, 1998

Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism, of Boston, Massachusetts, in
association with the Digital Commerce Society of Boston, announces the
first in a series of symposia, conferences and workshops on the subject of
digital bearer transaction settlement.

The first of these gatherings, a symposium examining the technology,
economics, markets and law of digital bearer settlement, will be held at
the Harvard Club of Boston, Thursday and Friday, July 23 and 24, 1998.

What is Digital Bearer Settlement?

A digital bearer transaction is one where a cryptographically secure
value-object, issued and underwritten by a third party, is exchanged
between the two parties in a trade, typically over a public internetwork.
The object, when passed in trade for something else of value, executes,
clears, and settles the transaction instantaneously, securely, and,
usually, anonymously. And, at considerable savings in transaction cost
compared to "book-entry" transactions, such as credit and debit cards,
checks, and modern securities clearing methods.

It is estimated that $100 billion in transactions are being executed on the
internet annually.  40% of all retail stock trades are now executed from
the net, for instance. If it's possible to properly call a credit card
transaction transmitted under Secure Socket Layer to be settled and cleared
on the net itself, then an estimated maximum of $10 billion of those
transactions, 10%, are actually cleared and settled on the net, with
marginal market share to other transaction protocols. By comparison, $3
trillion in foreign exchange transactions are executed, cleared and settled
every day, using standard book-entry processes.

There are electronic check and debit protocols in experimental development,
but, as transaction settlement time tends towards the instantaneous, the
more cost, security, and non-repudiation advantages there are for digital
bearer settlement.

It is not unreasonable to see how transaction costs can be reduced
enormously by digital bearer settlement, possibly by several orders of
magnitude over any analogous book-entry method. It is completely
conceivable that digital bearer transactions, of all kinds and sizes, from
macrobonds to micropayments, will be executed, cleared, and settled on
ubiquitous global internetworks, and will become the dominant transaction
mechanism over time on those networks, and, by extension, in the global
economy in general.

It may happen sooner than we can imagine. Electronic book-entry settlement
itself is only 40 years old at best, and internet financial cryptography
and digital bearer settlement are much more a phenomenon of collapsing
microprocessor prices than electronic book-entry settlement ever was.

The Philodox Digital Bearer Transaction Settlement Events

Towards that end, Philodox has taken it upon itself to focus the attention
of the information technology, financial and legal communities onto the
technology of digital bearer settlement though the following series of
events. First, this initial Symposium of professionals interested in
digital bearer settlement, to be held in Boston. Then, contingent on
interest, a peer-reviewed Financial Research Conference to be held
during the winter of 1998-99 in Manhattan or Washington, followed by a
small Developer's Conference in the spring of 1999, held in more casual
surroundings, and, finally, a teaching Workshop for Financial Professionals
held in the summer of 1999 at a resort location, probably Bretton Woods, New
Hampshire. It is hoped by Philodox that some, or perhaps, all, of these
events will be recurring ones, and of course, that they will increase in
attendance over time.

The Symposium

Each section of the Symposium agenda will consist of a short presentation
on the topic by the most expert symposium participant on the subject
present, followed by discussions led by a moderator. While it is not
expected that everyone will even be conversant on each topic, it is
expected that participants will bring their own particular expertise to
bear on specific elements of the symposium program, and, of course, not
everyone will have to present something.

We have a lot to teach each other, but, fortunately, most of the people who
are interested enough in this topic to come to this first symposium will
know more than enough to have at least some opinions on the topics under
discussion, and will certainly want to share those opinions with everyone
else.  Finally, there are lots of differing opinions this subject, so
expect some animated discussion.

Because of the expected demand and the size of the Harvard Club space we're
using, participation in the symposium will be limited, and advance
registration will be required. See below for details.

The Symposium Agenda


The Philodox Symposium on Digital Bearer Transaction Settlement
The Downtown Harvard Club of Boston
July 23-24, 1998

Thursday, July 23, 1998
(Club Dress Code: jacket and tie, no jeans or sneakers)

0730-0830:  Check-in, Breakfast

0830-0845:  Welcome

0845-1015:  History of Bearer Transaction Settlement

            How old is bearer settlement?
            Why should we think about physical bearer settlement?
            What were the market models for underwriting digital bearer
            What sanctions prevented non-repudiation?
            What happened to physical bearer settlement?
            What is digital bearer settlement?
            How was it invented?
            What is the status of digital bearer settlement now?

1015-1030:  Break

1030-1200:  Digital Bearer Settlement Technology Survey and Forecasts

            What are the different digital bearer settlement protocols?
            How do they work?
            Which ones are on the market today?
            What are some of the technical limits of these protocols?
            Can they be overcome and do they need to be?
            What kinds of technology is in the labs?

1200-1300:  Lunch

1300-1500:  Bearer Settlement Legal/Regulatory Survey and Forecasts

            How did we get transaction regulation in the first place?
            What are the legal restrictions on bearer transactions
             in general?
            What are the laws on strong cryptography?
            How do the above laws and regulations effect the prospects
             for digital bearer settlement?
            What effect will cash-settled, and possibly anonymous,
             digital auction markets have on intellectual property rights?

1500-1515:  Break

1515-1715:  Possible Legal/Regulatory Solutions

            What can be done about bearer settlement law and regulation?
            Are there ways that internet digital bearer settlement can
             coexist with book-entry settlement laws?
            Will the potential cost savings overcome the need to regulate?
            What about intellectual property laws?
            Should there be a legislative/regulatory strategy?
            If so, what would it look like?

1730-1930:  Reception, Cocktails and Hors d'Oeurves

Friday, July 23, 1998
(Dress Code: "business casual", no jeans or sneakers)

0800-0830:  Breakfast

0830-0845:  Announcements

0845-1015:  Internet Transaction Settlement Economic/Financial Survey
             and Forecasts

            What is the annual dollar volume of all transactions worldwide?
            How are they broken up by payment mechanism?
            What is the actual and forecasted dollar volume of internet
             transaction execution?
            How will those transactions clear and settle?
            What are the current clearing and settlement costs?
            What are the expected costs of internet digital bearer
            What is the micro- and macroeconomic impact of a digital bearer
             settled economy?

1015-1030:  Break

1030-1200:  Capital Market Applications for Digital Bearer Settlement

            What kinds of securities can you create digital bearer
             instruments for?
            How do they work?
            How do you vote stock, collect dividends, etc.?
            Can you really do limited liability in software, without law?
            What size transactions can be cleared and settled like this?
            How much transaction volume can a digital bearer market handle?

1200-1300:  Lunch

1300-1430:  Other Market Applications for Digital Bearer Settlement

            Just how ubiquitous can the internet be?
            Can you create cash settled pay-per-use utilities? Even roads?
            Digital bearer gambling tokens? "Digital Collectibles"??
            Lions, and tigers, and bears: "Perfect kidnappings",
             "crypto-anarchy", auction markets for force, geodesic warfare,
             the end of civilization as we know it, and other monsters
             under the bed.

1430-1445:  Break

1445-1630:  New Product/Market Ideas for Digital Bearer Settlement

            Who are the entrepreneurs?
            What else can we do with digital bearer instruments?
            When is the transition to digital bearer settlement
             going to happen?
            Where's the most bang for the buck, right now?
            How are we going to make money on this?

1630-1645:  Closing

Symposium Cost and Registration

The cost for the Philodox Symposium on Digital Bearer Transaction
Settlement is $447, payable by company check or personal money order to
"Philodox", and sent to Robert Hettinga, Philodox Financial Technology
Evangelism, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA, 02131, USA. Massachusetts
residents should add 6% sales tax. Please contact Robert Hettinga
<mailto:rah@philodox.com>, or <mailto:rah@shipwright.com> for wire
instructions if it is necessary to make your payment by bank wire.

Include the participant(s) name, shirt size, email address, and company
affliation, if applicable, with your check or money order. Confirmation of
your check and your Symposium seat will be sent by email. If you pay by
wire, please notify Mr. Hettinga by email that you intend to do so, and
include in your email the other requested information.

In order to organize the Symposium properly, payment must be received by
Philodox no later than noon, Thursday, July 9th, 1998. Again, attendance to
the Symposium is limited, so please register as soon as possible to assure
your seat.

The Symposium fee goes towards conference room rental, breakfasts,
lunches, a cocktail reception on Thursday night, snacks, audio-visual
rental, internet access on-site, various mementoes of the occasion, and, of
course, Philodox's event management fee.


A small number of scholarship fee-waivers will be available, contingent
upon direct sponsorship and the size of the Symposium, to be selected by
Philodox and based upon the applicant's financial need and ability to
contribute to the symposium. Please contact Robert Hettinga, <mailto:
rah@philodox.com>, or <mailto: rah@shipwright.com>, if you want to request
a fee-waiver.


In addition to direct event and website sponsorship opportunities,
including the possiblity of exhibition space, there are several in-kind
sponsorship opportunites available, particularly in the areas of
audio-video services and internet services, including internet access,
web-casting and web-page development. Please contact Robert Hettinga,
<mailto: rah@philodox.com>, or <mailto: rah@shipwright.com>, if you're
interested in in-kind or direct sponsorship of the Symposium.

The Digital Bearer Settlement Email List: dbs@philodox.com

As part of Philodox's ongoing support of the technology of digital bearer
settlement, an email list has been established to discuss the technology
and it's ramifications in an unmoderated, informal setting. Please see
<http://www.philodox.com/> to see the archives of the Digital Bearer
Settlement discussion list, and its subscription information.  If there is
enough demand, an additional announcement list for the Symposium itself
will be created, but it is hoped that the Symposium's participants will use
dbs@philodox.com as a "watering hole" for their discussions.

Who is Philodox?

Philodox is a new financial technology evangelism company founded by Robert
Hettinga, founder of the Digital Commerce Society of Boston, and founding
moderator and editor of several internet discussion lists and newsletters
on digital commerce and financial cryptography. Mr Hettinga is also the
founder of both the International Conference on Financial Cryptography, and
the International Financial Cryptography Association.

For more information on Philodox, please see <http://www.philodox.com>. For
more information on Robert Hettinga, please see <http://www.shipwright.com>.
For more information on the Digital Commerce Society see <mailto:
majordomo@ai.mit.edu?body=info%20dcsb>. For more information on the
International Conference on Financial Cryptography, see

See You in Boston!

Robert Hettinga

Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism
Boston, Massachusetts

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Robert Hettinga (rah@shipwright.com), Philodox
e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
The e$ Home Page: http://www.shipwright.com/

--- end forwarded text

Robert Hettinga (rah@shipwright.com), Philodox
e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
The e$ Home Page: http://www.shipwright.com/