Steve Schear wrote:
> [I wonder what if any effect this might have on crypto patents, e.g.,
> Chaumian blinding?]

My guess is, nix, nada.  Patents are a red herring
in the blinding skirmishes, they became a convenient
excuse and a point to place the flag when rallying
the troops.  The battle was elsewhere, but it was
good to have something to keep the press distracted.

You can see this in, for example, the long available
Wagner variation, and the availability of a bunch of
other variations.  Even when people started doing
demo code of the various alternates (Magic Money,
Ben Laurie's Lucre, etc) there was little to no
amounts of interest.  (There is one guy working
to turn BLL into a system, and then there is our
WebFunds project, originally started from on an
old port of MM back in 1999 or so.  That's it as
far as I know, what is clear is that there is no
inundation of monetary offers for the tech.  I
know a couple of people who put or promised some
money, but it was all pocket change.)

Any one with any business experience realises that
the patents were a huge risk factor, so the obvious
thing was to de-risk it.  Hence, use Wagner first
and shop for another method later (we figured this
out in 2001 after the first coder's Chaum code was
replaced by the second's Wagner efforts...  Or was
it Brands....).

Hence, there are no business analysies being done,
and therefore, no business.

Here we remain within sight of the expiry of the
first of Chaum's patents, and still lukewarm
interest in blinding.  I predict the date will
pass and nothing will change.

The real barriers to token money systems are these:

   1. lack of a viable application
   2. tokens require downloaded clients
   3. bearer is a dirty word
   4. full implementation requires too many

(not authoritive)

As against approximations (DGCs, Paypals, nymous)
blinded token money systems don't attract enough
real business zing to make them attractive enough
to overcome the barriers.

(I personally am somewhat agnostic on blinding,
to the annoyance of many high priests of the
order.  I think the bank robbery problem is a
bit of a devil, but OTOH, I just spent today
working on getting token withdrawals going
again.  That's because I know of a group that
wants it for a very interesting application
to do vaguely with the 3rd world :-)

> "The European Parliament's decision to limit patents... risks creating a
> "patent war" with a fallout that could make it illegal to access some
> European e-commerce sites from the United States..."
> "Pure software should not be patentable, the parliament argued, and
> software makers should not be required to license patented technology for
> the purposes of interoperability--for example, creating a device that can
> play a patented media format, or allowing a computer program to read and
> write a competitor's patented file formats. "
> "The amendments also sought to ban the patenting of business methods such
> as's patent on one-click purchasing. "
> Full story at

Another factor is that Europe has effectively
emasculated the entrepreneurial digital money
field with the E-money directive.  It's been
a while since I read it, but it basically forces
the small guy to be "just like a bank" or to be
so small as to not have a future.  Empirically,
I know two people - entrepreneurs - who've tried
to get into it, then read the directive, and said
"it can't be done" (both from different countries
that actually claim to promote the field).

(The USA, under the quiet guidance of certain
very smart people, went the other way and
deliberately held off from doing or saying
anything.  They realised that they could do
nothing but harm... so they "declined" to get
involved.  Also, in the US, there is very
much more of a spirit of doing something if
it is not explicitly banned.  In Europe, there
is much more of a spirit of getting permission
if it is not explicitly permitted, on the
assumption that the government knows what it
is talking about.)

The only ones who are interested in reducing
transaction costs (in the blinding fashion) are
new outsiders looking to set up new payment
systems.  Hence, the arisal of the digital
gold currencies was centered around the US, and
the smart card efforts of the Europeans were
centered around the national banking structures.

Smart card schemes cost O($100,000,000)
whereas these days a DGC costs O($100,000).

Go figure.


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