Re: Is Anonymous E-Cash Dead? (It Never Existed)

From: John Marrek (
Date: Sun Jul 16 2000 - 21:14:45 MDT

The systems described here are NOT anonymous; a truly
anonymous transaction requires untraceability for both
parties. Depositing the money (or digicash, or
whatever) reveals that you have received funds, and
also makes it theoretically possible for the
transaction to be traced by the amount and the time of
the transaction. Also, of course, there is the
possibility (if not probability) of hidden information
in the instrument itself.

CASH is the only truly anonymous and widely-accepted
instrument of negotiation--and then only until it hits
a bank.



Evidence to the contrary invited.


On 16 Jul 2000, at 22:50, Dan Fabulich wrote:

> Anonymous e-cash is, indeed, dead... but I have hope that it will be > reborn. > > The most potent e-cash system was invented by David Chaum. It died > when he decided that his anonymous e-cash program would be the ticket > to making him rich. (Of course, those who understand e-cash realize > that it's not a way to get rich; it's a way to provide unmatched > benefits to consumers. But I digress.) He patented blind signatures, > the process of writing your signature on something you can't read. > This allowed entities who functioned as "banks" to sign money orders > without reading the order. That way, you could later present the bank > with a signed money order, and the bank would have no way of telling > from whom you got the money. You could easily send the money orders > via e-mail. He also patented a mechanism to prevent people from > trying to reuse money orders they've already spent. He then signed up > with one tiny bank in Louisiana, and, with all the naivete you might > expect from a man who spends lots of time thinking about encryption > protocols, started his proprietary Digicash system, expecting the > world to beat a path to his door. > > To his surprise, they didn't. Oddly enough, people didn't want to buy > and trade currency that they could only use at one bank, and which > almost no merchants would accept. Nor would merchants accept the > currency when they had to pay Digicash money and retool their > already-working credit card payment systems in order to accept it. > > Anyway, Chaum's patent will run out in a few years. At that time, > expect to see a free version of Chaum's Digicash system proliferating; > one that anybody can download and use. You can even be your own > "bank" (in the Digicash sense) simply by proving that you have some > money and publicly signing an agreement to transfer that money to > anyone presenting you with a valid coin. > > An interesting point to note is that e-cash does NOT have to die > simply because governments pass laws saying that overseas transfers of > money may not be anonymous. If Alice in America wants to send money > to Bob in Britain anonymously, she can use something analogous to a > cypherpunk remailer system. Alice sends e-cash to her "bank" in > America, along with instructions to send that e-cash onwards to Bob's > (pseudonymous, if neccesary) address in Britain. That American bank > knows the identity of a bank in Britain, and legally sends the money > to the British bank, along with Alice's instructions to send e-cash to > Bob's address. The British bank receives the e-cash and sends e-cash > to Bob. > > Of course, governments *could* make this system illegal by saying that > NO transfers of money may be anonymous, overseas or not. Of course, > they'd never do that, right? > > -Dan > > -unless you love someone- > -nothing else makes any sense- > e.e. cummings >

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