February 10, 2013
October 27, 2011
An excerpt: "...an echoing message was prevalent at SIBOS — the leading global payments conference, attended by ‘serious bankers’ – in Toronto this past Sep. One of the Innovation topics highlighted the opportunity for currencies to not only reflect the growth potential or the financial stability of a Nation, but a larger set of values including: innovation, the status of the environment and yes the degree of social happiness and stability...."
Check out his full post here.
August 3, 2011
Possiplex, an autobiography of Ted Nelson
Ted Nelson is not unknown, but he is certainly underknown. A spectacularly creative and energetic thinker, Nelson is in that beloved group of American outsider-inventors who at first appear harmlessly eccentric but then change the world. Think Orville and Wilbur Wright, Buckminster Fuller, Philo Farnsworth and Nicola Tesla. This autobiography (make note, the supertitle says "An Autobiography of Ted Nelson," raising expectations for more) is a hypnotic thrill to read, as it conveys the excitement, danger, disasters and rewards of a life lived in pursuit of the Big Breakthrough. Grasping early (ca 1960) that computers had been misperceived as counting or math engines, he sets out to design systems for general usefulness across the worlds of Business and the Arts. Laying out the original concept of Hypertext in the mid-1960's at Brown University, his work began to be taken seriously and influenced numerous conceptual breakthroughs that lead to many of the computing paradigms of today. Except, as detailed in his generous and engaging style, too many ill-considered compromises and wrong turns were taken (by companies and other corporate-think designers), leaving us with difficult-to-use systems that limit creativity, undermine rights and stifle commerce (online newspaper crisis anyone?...music business?...publishing?) Possiplex is the only recent book on inventors and invention I have read that positively bursts with optimism about the great things that are (still) possible. Along with a view into now-historical software designs, we get a fascinating look at some near-misses and yet-to-be's. For that reason alone it deserves status as required reading. And you won't be disappointed with the insider talk and juicy personal bits either. Recommended.
February 11, 2011
February 6, 2011
This unfortunate state of things comes from two places. First, complacency. Who would bother tracking me? If they did, who cares what they would find? -and- They track everybody, so what? Second, a misguided sense of citizenship, a position opposite of Troll. I want to show my real name in this forum, so everyone can see that I stand behind my words and am accountable. It is the "I challenge you to do the same" stance as a reflection of the desire to make the Web a better, move civic, and civil, place.
Well, this is not good. Your footprints, and fingerprints, stay online forever. Things you say, in the context of the moment, may sound profoundly inappropriate at some future time, stripped of context. And there will be nothing you can do about it. The Big Nasty is something we have been warned of too many times but seem not to care about: Identity Theft.
Identity Theft will grow as a sector of white-collar crime because so much of our lives is migrating to the Net. And, when virtually all our money activity is conducted there (and we're not far off), the ripoffs will grow to alarming proportions. Don't count on Amex and Citi to cover all this damage. They will not-- they will not be able to! At some point soon they will require you to practice rigid identity hygiene...it may be too late for some, who have been so promiscuous that they will have to petition the government for new identities.
Reset your identity now. Change you email address to something that does not use any part of your real name. Dial down your sharing settings on Facebook. And, dare I say it- encrypt your messages. Yes. Encryption. It's easier than ever with PGP and GPG, and is an excellent practice in every way. 'Cause it ain't just the crooks who want to track you.
December 13, 2010
WikiLeaks most certainly has other business names with which it registers itself with payments gateways. Visa/MasterCard process the transactions from these gateways, who are trusted partners, and never know, and don't want to know, who the actual customers are. That is how online casinos, porn sites with underage models, unprescribed prescription drug services and other shadow operations continue to accept credit cards unabated. Once in a while an announcement is made by one of the card processors about "shutting down a major..." you name it, Russian spam-scam, whatever, but it is always by definition a PR stunt.
Which is good news for WikiLeaks.
November 15, 2009
February 11, 2009
Responsibility: since you have a relationship with your bank and they are proxying you, you risk losing your banking privileges if you abuse the anonymity aspect of the system. Example: Getting a piece of content and then denying you ever received it, requesting a refund. Anonymity as a fundamental quality of online payments is a return to the freedom of cash-- buying a carton of milk at the corner store never required an information relationship between you and 7-11, for instance. It can be posited that a chill effect contaminates all Internet commerce as long as personal identity and more (credit card info, social security #) are required to complete a transaction.
June 24, 2008
May 31, 2008
March 7, 2008
February 26, 2008
Visa: Bailing Out The BanksFebruary 25, 2008, 1:56 pm
Visa plans to go publc this spring, and the prospectus filed today indicates that it will get $15.6 billion (after deducting about $481 million in underwriting fees) from the offering if it is sold at $39.50 a share, the mid-point of its offering range.
Of that money, how much do you think will stay in Visa to help the company grow?
In round numbers, zero.
This offering is evidently intended to serve two purposes. First, to bail out the banks that now own Visa from the financial responsibility of antitrust violations involved in Visa’s effort to keep its member banks from offering American Express or Discover cards. The first $3 billion raised goes into an escrow account to pay damages.
The second purpose is to get cash to banks that may need additional capital, which is to say a lot of banks. Essentially all the remaining cash from the offering will end up with the banks, from repurchasing stock from them. The banks can use the extra capital.
Full post here.
February 25, 2008
February 19, 2008
Originally uploaded by grgwr
Gregoire Vion, a talented graphic designer with an elegant office on a houseboat in the Emeryville Marina, designed this critter for one of Settlenet's proof-of-concept presentations.
February 15, 2008
"More important, however, is the way the ever-widening financial crisis has shaken investors’ faith in the whole system. People no longer trust assurances that fancy financial instruments will function the way they’re supposed to — after all, they know what happened to people who thought their subprime-backed securities were safe, AAA-rated investments. Why, then, should they believe that auction-rate securities are as good as cash? And loss of trust can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now that new investors won’t buy auction-rate securities because they no longer believe that they’re as good as cash, those securities become a much worse investment."
This is not trivial. If investors doubt the soundness of an instrument, no matter its reliability in the past, they will refrain from investing. Think about that.
February 13, 2008
A Gpay Payment Screen
Originally uploaded by bragadocchioThis illustration is from a Google patent application filed in August, 2007. Apparently a stored-value account that leverages sms/texting as the messaging format for generating payment instructions.
February 12, 2008
Yes, it is. The reason that those things can be called money is that we all agree that they are instances of money. General agreement about how to represent and transmit value is the foundation of the money system. We trust that everyone, at least everyone we are likely to interact with, will abide by the same understanding of what money is and how it works.
So agreement, mutual trust, is the very essence of money. The actual rules and details we accept as part of the agreement are not important, really. They are temporal. When the rules need to change, as long as the majority goes along, they change. The important thing is that we all accept and believe in the system.
The next important feature of money is that it is persistent. It works 100% of the time. Yes, it does. Do you doubt that the $20 bill on your dresser will buy your lunch today as you dash off to work? It works every time, because the cashier at the deli knows with absolute certainty that she can transmit that bill into the deli’s bank account, where it can in turn be used for the financial needs of the business.
Now, wait just a second you say! What if the cashier has reason to doubt? What if there is massive inflation, like in
Exactly. When trust fails, the money system falls apart. There is absolutely no permanent value in a dollar bill, or your travelers checks or postage stamps for that matter; it only exists as long as the community believes it is there. Call it consensual hallucination. And this is a very useful thing for the community, because it enables a lot of things to happen quickly. As we go about conducting the business of our local, regional, national and international economies, we don’t stop and renegotiate the idea of money every time there is a transaction. It’s understood, and commerce flows.
Money is a system where value can be represented and transmitted in a consistent way. Communal belief in the system is the foundation that supports continuity.