Re: Anonymous Internet Barter.

From: Paul Hughes (
Date: Fri Mar 10 2000 - 23:54:44 MST

Billy Brown wrote:

> Exactly how is this better than an online sale using money? The
> computational requirements are much larger, the probability of there being a
> possible chain of trades is not especially high, it takes a lot more work on
> the part of the participants, and it is almost impossible for any
> participant to know what he should be able to get out of any particular
> trade.

That's my point, a sufficiently designed system would require no work on the
part of the participants - all complex matching would take place in the program.

> This last point is an especially big problem for such systems. There may be
> a few thousand sales of VWs in any given year, but the odds of any of them
> being traded for wheat are just about zero. The number of possible trades
> of dissimilar goods is so large that you will never accumulate a meaningful
> history on any particular type of exchange, which means no one can tell what
> their goods are worth. The only way around this is to use some item as a
> common intermediary step - in which case you've just re-invented money.

That's exactly my point! Since a system is created that blurs the definition
between traditional currency and complex barter, all traditional barriers are
broken down.

So here is the question, does the IRS have the legal right to tax me if I trade
my old bicycle for a tennis racket? If the answer is no, then the system I
envision will allow people to carry on the majority of economic activity tax
free. Because in the end there is no difference between simple and complex
trade. If the answer is yes, then my system still eludes the IRS because all
economic activity is hidden by pseudoanonymous identities and encrypted
transactions conducted on offshore computer systems.


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