A 'Funky A.T.M.' Lets You Pay for Purchases Made Online

Jamie Lawrence postgres at jal.org
Fri Jul 25 05:08:41 PDT 2003

On Fri, 25 Jul 2003, Tim May wrote:

> There is much that could be said about whether this difficulty is why 
> we don't have untraceable, Chaum-style forms of money (I don't think 
> this is the reason). Regardless, wishing won't make it so, and so 
> wishing that people would "grok" the importance of blinding without 
> having spent at least a few hours brushing up on RSA and exponentiation 
> and all that and then following an explanation very, very 
> closely....well, wishing won't make it so.
> So it's best to ignore the "unwashed masses" and their inability to 
> understand untraceable money.

As far as it goes, I'm willing to bet that many of the unwashed masses
who hold a mortgage don't actually understand how it was calculated, much
like there are many insurance policy holders who don't understand
actuarial statistics. (As far as it goes, except in the broad terms of
understanding statistics, I fall in to the latter category. I once tried
to read up on how insurance risks are calculated, and simply couldn't
get through the text, without more reason to. A friend who works in
reinsurance still laughs at me over this.) Same story in securities and
mutual funds. Or, for that matter, SMTP.

As a further example, a very intelligent person, very successful in
chosen pursuits, asked me how secure the new Visa cards with online
passwords were. The ones that are being advertised all over TV. It
took a fair amount of explaining to get across that they don't protect
the user of the card, they protect the merchant and the bank. Once the
"lightbulb came on", she was annoyed at having been taken in by an ad,
and completely forgot to care whether or not the protocol is 'secure'.

I'm not sure that understanding matters for broad adoption of a
financial instrument. The sales pitch does matter.

> More troubling is that so many _here_ don't seem to "get it."

True, but this list has always been made up of mostly nitwits.

> --Tim May


Jamie Lawrence                                        jal at jal.org
Be aloof, there's been a sudden population explosion of lerts.

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