Millicent White Paper ((
Tue, 2 Jan 1996 15:21:35 -0800

On 31 Dec 95 at 11:45, Internet Marketing Discussion wrote:

<i>> From: (Bill Moore)</i>
<i>> Greetings! Yesterday, I read the Millicent micro-payment systems proposal</i>
<i>> that one of the members of this group mentioned.</i>

Bill, having briefly reviewed the document in question, I have
a few comments:

- It appears that the broker is the most powerful entity in
the relationship, and that suggests that broker-spoofing will
prove to be a very profitable venture. (See below.)

- The assumption that spoofing scrip will prove to be
unprofitable based upon its limited value seems a trifle
naive. If I can pinch 1/4 of a cent from every transaction
conducted at your local bank, in the words of William
Proxmire, "A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon
that adds up to real money."

- All digital cash makes an assumption that I find terribly
interesting: that the user CAN be uniquely and
authoritatively identified through the application of a
purely digital abstraction: a password or private key. The
last time I raised this issue in public, during a panel
session with representatives from Visa, MC, Amex, Cybercash,
Digicash and First Virtual (I was the token iconoclast on
the panel. ;), I asked the audience how many used the same
computer they connect to the global Internet for the storage
of their private key. A surprising number raised their hands
and looked rather chagrinned when I asked them if they were
in the habit of trusting their bank accounts to the likes of
Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Compaq, UUNET, PSInet, and Netcom.

I don't recall who it was or what major financial institution
he represented who said the following, but I detect the ring of
truth here, my friends.

"Users will never embrace digital cash when they can
simply provide their credit card."

To this I would add:

"Credit institutions are experts at judging risk, banks are
not. How many credit companies have failed because they
lent money to shady realestate deals?"


"Micro-transactions do not exist in the real-world because
the administrative overhead is too high. The Internet does
not answer this problem, it only makes it easier to get the
records into the hands of those who must administer them."

Happy New Year to the list.

</rr> Rob Raisch

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