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Identity – A Most Complex Thought

The idea of my identity, your identity, and our identity took me on a journey into social norms, physical realities, spiritual considerations, psychological consideration, and philosophy.  Starting with the classic approach of learning the definition of a word takes us to the dictionary.  What then assured the complexity of my quest is each of several definitions is similar, but, not the same.

I then found an interesting quote:

G.K. Chesterton once observed that the “special mark of the modern world is not that it is skeptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it.” His point was that moderns have forgotten that they are assuming what they believe to be a given. “In short,” he concludes, “they always have an unconscious dogma; and an unconscious dogma is the definition of a prejudice.”

With this thinking in mind on definition stood out:

identity n.

          1. an individual’s sense of self defined by (a) a set of physical, psychological, and interpersonal characteristics that is not wholly shared with any other person and (b) a range of affiliations (e.g., ethnicity) and social roles. Identity involves a sense of continuity, or the feeling that one is the same person today that one was yesterday or last year (despite physical or other changes). Such a sense is derived from one’s body sensations; one’s body image; and the feeling that one’s memories, goals, values, expectations, and beliefs belong to the self. Also called personal identity.
          2. in cognitive development, awareness that an object is the same even though it may undergo transformations. For example, a coffee cup remains the same object despite differences in distance, size, color, lighting, orientation, and even shape. Also called object identity.

I then thought of the various ways people expand on this word Identity and began to build a list.

        • Brand Identity
        • Cultural Identity
        • Digital Identity
        • Ego Identity
        • Emotional Identity
        • Ethnic Identity
        • Family Identity
        • Gender Identity
        • intellectual Identity
        • Material Identity
        • Moral Identity
        • National Identity
        • National Identity
        • Official Identity
        • Organizational Identity
        • Personal Identity
        • Physical identity
        • Political Identity
        • Psychology Identity
        • Racial Identity
        • Sexual Identity
        • Social Identity
        • Spatial Identity
        • Visual Identity

I am convinced my list is not complete.  What I can say is each item can be found in an article, definition or other written material produced by others.

As a final thought
Understand our identity leads one to wonder
“Who am I”
an Existential question
we each must answer for ourselves

xmaslist

Merry Christmas All

Welcome to the Andreae Secret Santa Wish List

This is the original message Liz sent via Messenger slightly modified.

Good afternoon, I am writing you this note to let you know that we are going to do Christmas a little different this year.

We are going to draw names (actually I’m going to use a random number generator to pick names from oldest to youngest) for whom you will buy Christmas presents.

Married couples will be treated as one unit, unless each member of the couple wants to buy a present.

The dollar amount for the presents will be between $50 and $150 (the lower dollar amount is for those who have just gotten out of school and just are starting with their jobs).
To make sure everyone gets what they want, we are each going to make a wish list with gifts in various price ranges. We will draw names after Thanksgiving.

Please post your wish list here and have it ready by December 1. This should be a fun new family tradition.

Please use the comment section below to publish your Christmas wishes. 

We assume Santa will also be reading entrees on this Blog and will be checking the list at least twice to find out who has been naughty or nice. Hint, Hint Santa Claus.

Philip will approve without edits or comment, all comments/wishes emanating from family members.  The need for approval is simply to avoid SPAM across the Blog

Why do we humans ignore the instruction of the ages

John 23:1 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD. Woe to the shepherds {officials, kings, priests governors} who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD.

When I read this passage of today’s liturgy I was drawn to think of the Shepperd as those responsible to lead and the sheep those who are led. If the sheppards seek to control, kajoul and threaten the sheep with taxes, racist jargon or lies wend up with a tribe bent to the will of these malicious leaders who seek to profit from the efforts of others.

One is then drawn to ponder the colonial instincts of various nations to subjugate others to their will.

Tribalism, nationalism and racism these are all driven by the greed and a belief one is better than another.

The Identifier should not be the Authenticator

I was asked to look into the value of the EMV Secure Remote Commerce Specifications.  In the first section they wrote:

“1.1 Background … While security of payments in the physical terminal environment have improved with the introduction of EMV specifications, there have been no such specifications for the remote commerce environment. …”

This statement caused a bit of angst.  It caused me to think of the work to create SET and Visa’s efforts to promote the original version of 3D-Secure.  I was further reminded of how difficult it has been to find the balance between convenience and fraud and how merchants are more worried about abandonment than they are about the cost of fraud. Ultimately, it caused me to wonder about the goal of the EMV 3-D Secure specification.

“To reflect current and future market requirements, the payments industry recognised the need to create a new 3-D Secure specification that would support app-based authentication and integration with digital wallets, as well as traditional browser-based e-commerce transactions. This led to the development and publication of the EMV® 3-D Secure – Protocol and Core Functions Specification. The specification takes into account these new payment channels and supports the delivery of industry leading security, performance and user experience.”

The keywords found in the last sentence “the delivery of industry leading security, performance and user experience” suggest these two specifications are searching to solve the same problem.

According to the Oxford dictionary

Security is

    • “The state of being free from danger or threat.”
    • “Procedures followed or measures taken to ensure the security of a state or organization.”

Authentication is

    • “The process or action of proving or showing something to be true, genuine, or valid.”
    • Computing The process or action of verifying the identity of a user or process.

On this same page, the authors go on to make the following statement

“… there is no common specification to address the functional interactions and transmission of data between the participants.”

This then causes me to wonder about the original ISO 8583 specification, the current ISO 20022 specification, and the subsequent concept of the three-domain model within the 3D-Secure specification.  All three of these specifications define the interaction between the participants while not restricting the method of transmitting the data.  It seems the authors of the SRC specifications have forgotten history.  Or, are they trying to rewrite history.

At this stage, Authentication seems to the most important part of what EMV is attempting to address.  But,  the focus seems to be more about rewriting history that solving the fundamental problem.  We seem to have this desire to take public identifiers and convert them into secrets.

“An industry transition from a dependency on Consumer entry of PAN data can be accomplished by providing an SRC specification that meets the needs of all stakeholders involved.”

These intriguing contradictions beg the question.  Why did the authors of the Secure Remote Commerce specification not reference the good work of those that created the 3D-Secure specification and propose an approach unlike EMV?  They all are part of the same organization!

Is the goal not to address authentication and Security of the payment transactions, be they instore or on the Internet.  I would argue

We allowed the PAN, the payment card identifier, to become a means of authentication

This use of the PAN as both an identifier and an authenticator; reminds me of a hearing of the United States House Committee on Ways and Means May 17th, 2018 hearing on “Securing Americans’ Identities: The Future of the Social Security Number”.

“House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced today that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Securing Americans’ Identities: The Future of the Social Security Number.” The hearing will focus on the dangers of the use of the Social Security number (SSN) as both an identifier and authenticator, and examine policy considerations and possible solutions to mitigate the consequences of SSN loss or theft.”

All the witnesses and most of our members of congress accepted and understood the problem.  We allowed a simple government-issued identifier to become a means of authentication, in other words, an authenticator.  Like allowing the social security number and now also the PAN to become part of how we authentic someone’s identity.  We caused these publically available identifiers to become valuable and sensitive PII data.

Cardholder Authentication and Consumer Device Identification

What is clear, as one continues reading the SRC specifications, is the goal is to reduce the frequency of presenting payment credentials on merchant websites.

“Minimising the number of times Consumers enter their Payment Data by enabling consistent identification of the Consumer and/or the Consumer Device”

A very different approach to what the payment schemes do with the EMV based payment process.  The authors of EMV saw the PAN as public data, they architected something designed to assure the uniqueness of the card and the ability to positively verify cardholder.  Card Authentication and Cardholder Verification.

Why not simply think and focus on the same architecture?  Simply change the word “card” to “device” and focus on Device Authentication and Cardholder Verification or as everyone is promoting Multi-Factor Authentication.  We simply need to make sure the thing is genuine and the right individual is using the thing.  The thing is what the cardholder has – The “what you have” factor.  Add a pin/password or better still a biometric to be the second factor the “what you know” or “what you are” factor.

EMV 3D-Secure creates the ability to exploit the “what you have” factor by offering Device fingerprint data to the issuer’s authentication process.

 

A Nation Divided

Reviewing Facebook comments I worry for some who have lost sight of the center.  We as a country or maybe we as a globe appear to be splintering into two oppositional groupings.

Some simply brand the divide as the Right and the Left or the Liberals and the Conservatives.

With this in mind, we should look back in history. At 5 PM June 16th, 1858 Abraham Lincoln spoke in the Springfield Illinois Hall of Representatives.  He spoke of the issue of slavery yet if we reflect on the bigger issue he was also speaking to those who still insist on racial, religious or any other difference as reason for segregation.

If we delve back in time we find in Luke 11:17, Matthew 12:25 and Mark 3:25 writings of how Jesus spoke of a simple reality.  Every Kingdom or house divided against itself will be laid waste, become a desert, fall upon itself or will not stand.

We could read and listen to the lyrics of  Dave Mustaine.

Brother will kill brother
Spilling blood across the land
Killing for religion
Something I don’t understand
Fools like me, who cross the sea
And come to foreign lands
Ask the sheep, for their beliefs
Do you kill on God’s command?
A country that’s divided
Surely will not stand
My past erased, no more disgrace
No foolish naive stand
The end is near, it’s crystal clear
Part of the master plan
Don’t look now to Israel
It might be your homelands
Holy wars
Upon my podium, as the
Know it all scholar
Down in my seat of judgement
Gavel’s bang, uphold the law
Up on my soapbox, a leader
Out to change the world
Down in my pulpit as the holier
Than-thou-could-be-messenger of God
Wage the war on organized crime
Sneak attacks, repel down the rocks
Behind the lines
Some people risk to employ me
Some people live to destroy me
Either way they die, they die
They killed my wife, and my baby
With hopes to enslave me
First mistake, last mistake!
Paid by the alliance, to slay all the giants
Next mistake, no more mistakes
Fill the cracks in, with judicial granite
Because I don’t say it,
Don’t mean I ain’t thinkin’ it
Next thing you know, they’ll take my thoughts away
I know what I said, now I must scream of the overdose
And the lack of mercy killings
Mercy killings
Mercy killings
Killings, killings, killings, killings
Mercy you know, they’ll take my thoughts away

In the end, the question is clear

When will we learn?

 

 

Pay to be Paid

An interesting concern and a telling phrase. When one Googles the phrase “Pay to the Paid” the result takes us into the contracts associated with Protection and Indemnity insurance P&I.

When I entered the search term, I was thinking about how financial institutions see ‘payments’ as a revenue source. In particular, the word ‘Interchange’ springs to mind.  I remember sitting in a management meeting in Foster City and the Visa International offices as we discussed the results of a McKinsey study

It is time to move to Multi-Factor Authentication built on a Restricted Operating Environment

Passwords should become a thing of the past. Here’s why

This morning one of my Google alerts found a blog coming from the World Economic Forum.  It reminds us of the inventor of the password Fernando Corbato.  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said passwords have become “a nightmare”.

The open question is how do we solve for the nightmare of password management we have created that is both effortless and secure.

This article calls for private enterprise and our governments to find answers.  I hope in finding these answers capitalism and profit do not become the reason to act.  I hope social responsibility and community action drive all to find answers that are affordable, convenient, secure and more importantly consumer-friendly.

We Keep Talking About It, When Will We Solve For Identity in the Digital Space

This morning I read an article in the Financial Times The real story behind push payments fraud.  What is disturbing, the acceptance of fraud and the focus of bankers on adding fees (like Interchange) to help cover the cost of fraud.  This article speaks to Push Payments and how liability shifts from the merchant back to the Issuer and ultimately the consumer.  It makes reference to Pull Payments and the use of debit cards where the fraud liability, unless online, is the merchants’.

To address card payment fraud in the physical world the payment schemes developed EMV.  In the digital or eCommerce realm everyone accepted allowing the merchants to not attempt to authenticate the cardholder and simply ask the consumer to provide openly available data {cardholder name, PAN the account number, expiry date, and address details}; if they, the merchant, would accept liability for any fraud.

As the world moves to embrace “Faster Payments” and Real-Time Gross Settlement ‘RTGS’, instead of focusing on assuring the identity of the sender and the recipient; we assume fraud will occur.

Why not focus on solving the problem?  Solving for Digital Identity solves for Card Not Present fraud, RTGS fraud, Faster Payment fraud, and so much more.

 

 

God of Israel

Who is this God of one place. It is not the God of my imagination. The God of my imagination extends far beyond Israel, extends to all mankind.

God is a spirit who does not care how we worship. God only seeks the memory of the grace of God, the story of those who spoke boldly of each of our responsibility to love and do for others as we would expect to be loved. The doing is the key to our social engagement.

Generational poverty this is the bane of our society. This division between those that are brought up with and those brought up without. How do those without escape poverty. What hand reaches out across the abyss to help those without.

Or is it capitalism without a thought for society. The innovation capitalism and the effort of those who can is significantly better than the concept of a society managed by the few for the many. When there is nothing unique to be gained for our effort, the desire to do our best is lost. The flaw of capitalism is when wealth and power become the aims. It is this concentration of wealth and power which takes from the many to benefit the few.

We must find a method to merge the good of capitalism with the warmth and humanity of socialism. We must help the powerful to appreciate their role to help the many. We need to find a way to share wealth while assuring the individual desire to innovate and strive to create, Shepard’s and be good stewards.

Nature, the resources and the spirit within society and this earth are here to be employed, conserved and cherished. When greed wants for me and my pride assumes I am better than you then we lose and society slips into conflict within itself and with its neighbors.

The End of Time

Today at Church the sermon started with a reading of Wacky Wednesday. A story of how we wake and nothing fits into place or is as it should be.

Our rector then proceeds to like it to today’s passage in Luke’s Gospel

21:7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’* and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.

9 “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.

The sermon reminds us of the time after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. I, maybe we, are caused to reflect on current times. I wonder of the impeachment investigation. I worry of the conflicts within families. The fractured nature of civil society. The structure of our economy where wealth accumulates at the top and flows away from those in the lower 50%. A a global worry; driven by dictators tyrants, democracies and republics. No social system has yet found the way of balance.

Battles of religion and belief bring lose, assure destruction and feed those that profit from conflict.

Our spiritual leaders, Jesus Christ, the vortex of so many before, brought all of the positive thoughts from within and beyond. Asked each of us to adhere to two simple commandments.

Why can’t we? Is it greed? Is it our pride?

Until we finally understand we are all the same and yet different. Stewards of this earth. Servants here to care for each other.

when the end, is it simply the fear of what we see today and know has been. Is there an end or simply repetition of the continuous conflict between tribes who can’t see the value of love and peace.

What is a Cryptocurrency or better yet why do we want them

As a member of a committee responsible to develop the agenda for Payment Summit this February in St Lake City, we’ve been discussing a panel on Cryptocurrency.  The initial conversation spoke of blockchain and cryptocurrencies and how these two topics, while related, need to be independent of each other.

With an agreement to focus on Cryptocurrency, I began to ask myself, “What is a cryptocurrency”?

Off to the Internet.  My computer instantly offered a definition.

A digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank

        • ‘decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin now provide an outlet for personal wealth that is beyond restriction and confiscation.’
        • ‘States will undoubtedly resist the spread of cryptocurrencies.’
        • ‘Bitcoin was the first widely used cryptocurrency, but few people know it is not the only one.’
        • ‘What does your cryptocurrency allow people to do that they could not do otherwise, and how does it help them do existing tasks more quickly or cheaply?’
        • ‘If cryptocurrencies are like other speculative activities, the early players and the big players benefit to the detriment of the late entrants and the small players.’
        • ‘As with all cryptocurrencies, price is based on supply and demand.’‘Even with recent fluctuations, the total value of the cryptocurrency is still over eight billion USD.’
        • ‘The majority of cryptocurrency activity still appears to be speculative.’
        • ‘A cryptocurrency may be hackable, but it can also be really, really, really hard to hack—harder than robbing a bank.’

The interesting challenge in this definition is the words operating independently of a central bank”.

In September 2017 the Bank of International Settlement BIS published a report on Cryptocurrencies.  This report spoke to the idea of CBCC or Central Bank Cryptocurrency.  The authors offered a diagram known as the Money Flower.  The flower positions this idea of CBCC within the world of money and argues a Central Bank could easily create a sovereign cryptocurrency. 
The article then goes on to describe a series of examples.  As I moved through the document I was drawn to the idea of Digital Currency and once again was compelled to search for clarity.  At the same time I noted the recent announcement by China and how the
European Union recently suggested the European Central Bank consider just such an investment.

During my research, I was reminded of the work of David Chaum and remembered how early in the growth of Bitcoin someone suggested David could be Satoshi Nakamoto.  I am also reminded of my time at Europay and how we explored the use of Chip Cards, given their hardware and cryptographic capabilities, to create a Cash Replacement, Mondex.  In parallel with our efforts Visa Cash emerged, Proton, Chip Knip, Chipper and, others emerged.  This led me to a BIS report on Electronic Money.

Looking back in history to the early discussions of Electronic Money and read the early views of the European Union and the US Treasury, it reminded me of some of the original concepts and issues.  I’m reminded of words like anonymity, traceability, origination, and sovereignty.

Anonymity and the lack of traceability are what criminals and Silk Road Market Place saw as the benefit of Bitcoin.  The concepts of origination and sovereignty clearly are key to the thinking of Governments and Central Bankers and critical elements of the origin of Bitcoin, as expressed in the original white paper.

What these cryptographers have created is amazing, yet one worries about who is responsible for and benefits from the origination of Bitcoins, forks of Bitcoins and the multiple cryptocurrencies now in existence.

If we look inside Bitcoin its architecture promotes the idea of mining and allows the successful miner to originate new bitcoins.  They argue this is the incentive driving participation.  I then wonder about the cost of Bitcoin mining or the cost of Ethereum mining.  Does the cost of supporting Bitcoin justify its continued existence?  Does the supposed benefit of cryptocurrencies justify the profit earned by the miners who support the work to assure consensus?

As my research progressed  I ran into a speech given at a conference and the Bundesbank Money in the digital age: what role for central banks? The article attempts to address three questions:

      • What is money?
      • What constitutes good money, and where do cryptocurrencies fit in?
      • And, finally, what role should central banks play?

The author’s arguments are worthy of consideration.  Especially the questions of efficiency and trust.

The question we all must consider
What is money?
Especially in the global and emerging digital market place.

In the end, I remain confused and concerned.  Digital Money, Electronic Money, Digital Currencies, Cryptocurrencies, Feit Money, stablecoins and the potential of the distributed ledger clearly are set to disrupt much.

 

Where are we

Today.

How many passwords are you trying to manage!  Does your LinkedIn contact list connecting you to more than  4,000 individuals?  Does Facebook, Instagram, and other social media websites inundating you with news and stories about your friends, colleagues and interesting people?

How many cookies have your computers accumulated?  How many databases have more information about you than they need?  If we search the dark web, how valuable is your data?

Cando seeks to help you manage your data, identity, assets, and relationships.

Philip lives on Sea Island with his 93-year-old father, the Doctor.  They pursue travel and Philip keeps his head into what is happening in financial services, blockchain, authentication, digital identity, and, whatever else people seeking to understand the transformation; particularly those in the identity and payments space.

What is happening means we can unlock our hotel rooms, cars, and homes from our phones. Our security system iwill be another app we have to find on our phone.

Instead, we need an intuitive assistant seeking to simplify our lives by taking on repetitive tasks like driving, working inside a data table or simply opening up the house for the season.

Normalizing data and performing the analysis capable of earning value is the name of the game.  Management is about stimulating a team to work in the mutual interest of the organization.  Executives define the strategy and articulate the vision in a manner conducive to success.

Cando seeks to help you manage your assets and relationships.  Assets those places and things you use doing your daily life and those interactions you have with people and entities seeking to serve, sell and partner with you.

Then there are friends who we expect to be part of our lives and therefore have privileges and access capabilities.

All of this with a target of selling integration services to the top million and simply assuring each person has an identity thus serving the bottom billion.  ultimately earning $1 per year per user to simply be there when it all breaks and you wish to restore your digital life.

At the core, your digital security will be based on the use of cryptography and sophisticated matching algorithms designed to assure anyone that you are that one individual in the populatations of the universe.

What You possess, What You Are, What You Claim … Your Certificates

NCCOE NIST Multi-Factor Authentication

What you Possess — The Thing

What you Are — You

Your Relationships

Responsibilities

Authority

Advice

— Secrets

My Certificates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Words

World Wide Web Consortium

FIDO Alliance

Global Platform

The Trusted Computing Group

Future interests

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Nature Language Interface
  • Predictive Analytics

Another short description of Blockchain

WTF is The Blockchain? The ultimate 3500-word guide in plain English to understand Blockchain.

This technology called the Blockchain is built on the desire to create a new model to assure “trust”. 

To establish trust between ourselves, we depend on individual third-parties.

Could there be a system where we can still transfer money without needing the bank?

This statement begs the question, What is a Bank.  Is it simply an institution for recording the value we deposit with them and then allow us to move/transfer some portion of that value to another.  This then means the loans a bank makes, based on the sum of the deposits we trust them with, is not part of what a bank does.

If the only role of the intermediary is to maintain a ledger capable of recording and facilitating the transfer to electronic facsimiles of something, then, yes a distributed ledger removes the need for the middle man the trusted intermediary.  Instead of trusting a third party we agree to a methodology “The Distributed Ledger” to record these intangible assets or rights of ownership of a tangible asset in a manner where each of us has a copy of the ledger.  The beauty of this concept is for someone to attempt to change a record in the ledger, recording the disposition of a tangible or intangible asset; 51% of us would have to agree to that alteration.

In the above-linked article, all of what happens can be summaries with this quote

Earlier the third-party/middleman gave us the trust that whatever they have written in the register will never be altered. In a distributed and decentralized system like ours, this seal will provide the trust instead.

 

Review of the IMF The rise of Digital Money

While reading the recent document produced by the IMF I am compelled to wonder.

What is the difference between what they call Bank Deposits and e-money.  My first question, ignoring the words bank deposit.  Both are electronic accounts of value, recorded in someone’s ledger.  These two diagrams extracted from a BIS paper offer a perspective.  

They then speak to four attributed to the “means of payment”

  1. The Type, be it a claim or an object.
  2. The value, be it fixed or variable.
  3. If it is a claim who is liable?
  4. The technology, be it centralized or decentralized


They then speak to the five ‘Means of payment”.

Object-Based

  1. Central Bank Money (cash)
  2. Crypto-currency (non-Bank Issued)

As we think of the evolution of these object-based means of payment, we need to reflect on a new term “Central Bank Digital Currency” CBDC.

As a historian, I then wonder where things like Digi-cash and Mondex fit into the classification.  The value was originated and then distributed into a personal and secure storage device (Wallet).  Redemption or better said the guarantee, was provided by a party.  Maybe not a bank or the central bank, yet, easily embraced by such an institution.  Somehow history seems to lose sight of the origins of money and assumes the existence of a central bank.  Here in the USA, the formation of a Central bank was one of many areas of political discourse.

Claim-Based

  1. b-money (Bank issued)
  2. e-money (Privately issued)
  3. i-money (Investment funds)

The magic word behind all of these discussions is “Liquidity”.  The bottom line does the receiver of the money appreciate the value of the unit of measure and is the receiver confident they will be able to convert that money into another form, of their preference

 

 

Blockchain made simple

Let’s start at the beginning, the transaction, the distributed ledger entry. Think about the content of the transaction as the payload. Next think of the payload as the land deed, cryptocurrency value, record of ownership, journal entry, smart contract … marriage contract.  Whatever two or more people seek to exchange and record. Another way to think about all of this is as a block of data, code or other digital representation of something duplicated in every participant’s copy of the current ledger.

A governance model is required

What is essential, before anyone can do anything.

The parties seeking to exploit a distributed ledger must define how it will work.

It is what the community or parties seek to represent and manage, using distributed ledger technology, agree.

The whole process of defining the payload begins when the community agrees to and sets off to publish the processes, procedures, rules, functions, and purpose of their application. It is this act of governance we use to define how and what will be conveyed in the payload to be stored and recorded on a blockchain. Which blockchain, protocol, and cryptographic processes; obviously is a decision of the community.

We should be clear before we can do anything with the payload.  Ourselves and ultimately others will have initially and subsequently defined the mechanics and processes designed to assure the integrity of the blockchain, itself.

A Transaction is appended to the chain

There are two parties to each event recorded within these transactions. The agreed events, transactions and smart contracts are ultimately included in a block and properly extended onto the chain for everyone to see and read.  More about Confidentiality in another post.

Once governance is established
People can now interact

Each party has an address and then addresses unique to each asset e.g. coin. The address, in most cases, is simply an asymmetric cryptographic public key.

    • The individual, as is always the case with cryptography, has their own private key(s); they must retain, never lose and keep secret.

When the two parties decide to record an event; the sale or transfer of the title to a car.

    • A formal record of a property, a transaction, ledger entry is created.
    • The basic data.
      • The seller’s public key
      • the buyers public key
      • the payload
      • a hash
      • the signature created by the seller using their private key.

The transactions are broadcast to the network. The nodes or miners continuously work to assemble a defined number of transactions and create the next block.

The chain’s role is to record the providence of an asset and the immutability of all the associated transactions.

These records and blocks of data include content: of, by and following the rules of the consensus process.

    • Each active node or miner is attempting to create the next block.
    • The mathematics involved and the use of hashes to bind this new block to the existing blocks in the chain is beyond the scope of this blog.
    • Let us simply assume the mathematicians and cryptographers define as part of the original design of each chain an infallible solution to the issues of economics, security, integrity, and immutability.
    • These specifications will define the hash game and how one adds the next block to the chain retaining the immutability of the present and the past

By being the first to calculate the cryptographic nonce

The winner receives a reward.

    • Hopefully proportional to the cost of work or other discernable and agreed method of reward.
    • The other active nodes then test to see if they agree the first got it right.
    • If consensus is reached the new block is appended to the chain.
    • This all assumes 51% or more of the miners or nodes reach consensus on the winner’s answer.  And no one can control 51% or anything closer than 33%.

Around and around the game continues, as transactions are added and immutably recorded on the chain.

This whole process fundamentally assures history cannot be altered.

Chains split and fun things happen

If the process is not elegantly managed in full sight of all the participants.

Going Cashless

For some twenty plus years, I can remember hearing people speak of the dream of an economy without coin and paper money.  A dream, driven by the desire to promote the use of electronic payments.

Over the last months, a number of articles focus on promoting the idea of a cashless society.  They all speak to the advantages and attempt to promote the concept, arguing we can:

  • Eliminate the concern of thugs insisting at gunpoint for the cash
  • Reduce the risk of employee theft
  • Stop paying people to count all those dirty coins
  • Remove the need for an expensive safes
  • Stop paying to have a specialist truck take the money to the bank
  • Eliminate the grey market

The business case for a merchant to eliminate cash seems to be beneficial.   Many have tried and succeeded to no longer accept cash.

At the same time articles report on the new regulations; various cities and states are implementing and considering.  These regulations are intent on outlawing merchants from going cashless.  The argument often focuses on how eliminating cash disadvantage the underbanked.

Then there is a reality! As a consumer, I recently have been surprised at the need to carry cash and the unsettling pleasure of finding out I still had cash in my leather wallet.

The first wake up to this reality took place while driving from St Simons, GA to the Orlando International Airport. In the trusting hands of Google Maps, I traveled down I-95, across I-4 and was directed to the FL-417. Suddenly a road sign informed me that I was on one of the various Florida toll roads.  Above my head was a road sign indicating which lane, based on my preferred method of payment, to move into. Driving a car that was not mine and knowing it did not possess a PeachPass, my only option was cash.

Fortunately, I had cash and was able to continue my journey.

The following Friday my father and I went to The Lodge to play Sniff, a dominoes game. The game was competitive and cash was the only method to settle. With a bit of cash in my pocket, I was able to pay the few dollars I lost.

One Saturday a street vendor in front of the local Harris Teeter was selling spare ribs. When I went to pay they informed me, they only accepted cash. Once again I was fortunate, I had enough cash and was able to buy those delicious ribs for dinner.

On various Sundays, when the collection plate came around, I’ve had a check or a bit of cash and was able to leave my tithing.

On a number of occasions, the valet, tour guide or other service individual deserved a tip and I’ve had a few dollars in my wallet.

Two more events brought the reality of how society does not want cash to disappear.

One morning, I wanted to enjoy a pastry. Not having $2.75 to pay for the Danish, Sweet Mama’s, a local baker, charged me $0.50, an eighteen percent surcharge, simply to use a credit card

Finally, yesterday as a guest for lunch at the local Rotary Club, I was confronted with a series of cash only events. This time I did not have any cash and was not in a position to contribute to various worthy causes.

We dream of a cashless society. Yet churches, valets, toll booths, street vendors and the Rotary all continue to desire or require cash. Some are not even willing to accept anything but cash.

Looking at our society from two different angles, we must accept the continuing need for cash.  Be it the underbanked, unable to acquire a credit or debit card; or those who carry many credit cards, both need to use cash simply to eat or enjoy life.

Later today I will have to visit the ATM and make sure I have a bit of cash in my wallet.

 

https://www.paymentssource.com/news/target-outages-show-the-failings-of-cash-as-backup