Cyphernomicon Index
Cyphernomicon 12.11

Digital Cash and Net Commerce:
Commerce on the Internet

  12.11.1. This has been a brewing topic for the past couple of years.
            In 1994 thing heated up on several fronts:
           - DigiCash announcement
           - NetMarket announcement
           - various other systems, including Visa Electronic Purse
  12.11.2. I have no idea which ones will succeed...
  12.11.3. NetMarket
           - Mosaic connections, using PGP
           + "The NetMarket Company is now offering PGP-encrypted Mosaic
              sessions for securely transmitting credit card information
              over the Internet.  Peter Lewis wrote an article on
              NetMarket on page D1 of today's New York Times (8/12/94).
              For more information on NetMarket, connect to
      or,  telnet" [
              Guy H. T. Haskin <>, 1994-08-12]
             - Uses PGP. Hailed by the NYT as the first major use of
                crypto for some form of digital money, but this is not
  12.11.4. CommerceNet
           - allows Internet users to buy and sell goods.
           - "I read in yesterday's L.A. Times about something called
              CommerceNet, where sellers and buyers of workstation level
              equipment can meet and conduct busniess....Near the end of
              the article, they talked about a proposed method for
              exchanging "digital signatures" via Moasic (so that buyers
              and sellers could _know_ that they were who they said they
              were) and that they were going to "submit it to the
              Internet Standards body"" [, 1994-06-23]
  12.11.5. EDI, purchase orders, paperwork reduction, etc.
           - Nick Szabo is a fan of this approach
  12.11.6. approaches
           - send VISA numbers in ordinary mail....obviously insecure
           - send VISA numbers in encrypted mail
           + establish two-way clearing protocols
             - better ensures that recipient will fulfill
                a receipt that customer signs (instead of the "sig taken
                over the phone" approach)
             - various forms of digital money
  12.11.7. lightweight vs. heavyweight processes for Internet commerce
           - Chris Hibbert
           - and the recurring issue of centralized vs. decentralized
              authentication and certification

Next Page: 12.12 Cypherpunks Experiments ("Magic Money")
Previous Page: 12.10 Prospects for Digital Cash Use

By Tim May, see README

HTML by Jonathan Rochkind