Is Anonymous E-Cash Dead?

From: Paul Hughes (
Date: Sun Jul 16 2000 - 16:18:14 MDT

In the face of recent news, its sometimes hard to be optimistic.
Whatever happened to private e-cash? You know, that thing that was
promoted optimistically within extropian circles. It seems everyone who
tried it folded up. Worse still, people like the Dept of the Treasury,
IRS, World Bank and others are actively attempting to prohibit its use.
But even it were legal, most organizations capable of implementing it
have no interest in doing so - like Visa, MC, American Express. They
would rather our transactions remain open to scrutiny for marketing
purposes. The government wants money to remain in their control for the
ostensible purpose of tracking drug traffickers, money launders and
terrorists. Also recent legislation is passing through congress to
re-enact the "Know Your Customer" plan for international transactions.
The problem here, is once the system is in place to track that, its
becomes that much easier for them to implement it domestically.

The problem I see ultimately, is this allows the governments of the
world to continue increasing their power at the expense of individual
liberty. Previous talk about how network economics would ultimately
circumvent the state and render it powerless have failed to materialize
at least in the US. Perhaps this occurred on the scale of large
corporations, but again this seems to have happened at the expense of
individual liberty.

Of course some people will say "Hey, now we have HavenCo". But just the
other day, one of its chief engineers was barred from entering the UK.
I'm not optimistic this company will last very long.

Maybe I'm missing the big picture here. Does anybody think overall
individual liberty is increasing, particularly for US Citizens, or
decreasing? Please be as specific as possible.

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