Our ability to vote electronically from our mobile phones is now the focus. Built on a career in payments and digital identity the next chapter seeks to embrace cryptography and platform security to further expand what we can do using the essential tools of a connected world.
When we think of governance and how we control society, we immediately must consider the realities of people in the tribes they belong to.
Recently the emergence of bitcoin, the understanding of the power of a distributed ledger, the use of a hash chain, the power of cryptographic processes, and the security of the devices we carry establishes a foundation for a brave new world.
What is governance? It is the method processes and mechanisms a society puts in place to establish order and ensure harmony?
The ancient Turks, Greeks, slave spoke of democracy, the idea that each member of the tribe, the town, the city, or the state could assemble and determine new laws, regulations, and best practices. We then evolved into Republican governments the concept of a group of people representing a larger number of citizens.
Influence and power define what shall evolve. In my lifetime, the idea of being able to plug the handset of your telephone into the back of a terminal and establish a connection to a computer somewhere out there was a novelty. For my father it is Time in Geneva when Aryanism stood out as a challenge, opportunity or threat. Telephones were just emerging and radios were available. TV was still not present. Paper books and libraries surrounded the environment we will call Geneva.
City on the Lake, what is this thing place in his history his is as relevant as your or mine.
One question why anonymity at the profound process of engagement. When you are something called anonymous I am not sure I want to play. If your anonymous is mandatory; I don’t want to play.
The innovative spiritual and the. Nurturing essence of life.. How this evolves involves countless engagements.
Each sublime note to the fabric of the virtual environment we present to the public is.
And, all of us form the fabric of the public.
He answered them,“And why do you break thecommandmentof God for the sake of your tradition?4For God said,*‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’5But you say that whoever tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,’*then that person need not honor the father.*6So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word*of God.7You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:
8‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
9in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines
“Listen and understand:11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”
What shall we do? Simple honor the one Jesus answered,“The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one;30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’31
You commit to what you believe in with a robust desire to adhere to the moral imperatives. The one God is the same God written about in so many different ancient lore.
The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32
Who is your neighbor?
Anyone you engage in an event. An event is is anything we all seek to record. By the way any unit of one can record as long as all parties are aware. It is our contracts and promises. Those such as payment, voting, identity and influence.
I must begin with an apology to the person who caused me to start this post. I am sorry about how things evolved. I was looking forward to exploring what could be.
I also appreciate how my spiritual foundation differs from many. In this post, I will attempt to share what I believe.
There are four great teachers Lao Tzu, Siddhattha Gotama, Confucius, and Jesus. To these four, we must add the Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, and the other great scholars whose words graced the libraries of Alexandra and other great centers of ancient learning.
Their thoughts and ways of looking at life and our surroundings transcend time.
Jesus, between age twelve and thirty, I suspect, walked the northern silk route and traveled home along the southern maritime route, searched, and explored all of their thinking. He probably voyages around Europe with the Phoenicians. When he emerged, he taught. He was a truly enlightened man. He taught a new way.
Maybe he simply merged all the thoughts many civilizations had of the single creator into one homily.
The Golden Rule Is How We Should Live
Stories told of Jesus caused the common people to establish a deep feeling for Jesus son of Mary and Joseph a martyr who died on the cross preaching peace and harmony.
If only those in power had embraced the love, he shared. Instead, they took control of the image of Jesus and God.
Western civilization has claimed superiority and justified its claim using The Bible. The hubris of the Bible Authors to claim their Book was better than any other book is where the sins of our global culture emanate.
That arrogant better than thou feeling is our greatest sin.
Look at the tower of Babel. We once were one. The people who wrote that passage wrote of our inability to work together. They blamed God for our human failures. The story is of us.
We could not create a society
Capable of standing up and saying to God.
Father, you can be proud of us
We are one together on earth Bound together peace and harmony In the spirit of the Creator
Is that not what Jesus told us was our task?
I was taught that he died on the cross so in his name we would come together as one, both Gentile and Jew? Instead!
Supposedly reborn I tried to learn and listen for God’s words.
What happened next resulted from several evangelical better than thou experiences.
Their demand – I see things their way.
This better-than-thou attitude caused me to run back to the Episcopal church.
Party, nationalist, MAGA, slave owner, racist, sexist, cults, schools, churches, temples … whatever holds one group together divides us. This is our failing.
We did not listen to those four great teachers
I don’t think the evangelist understands the red words
We are not listening to Jesus. He knew and had learned from All the many before him
With this ancient depth, even he has not convinced those now living and those who came before to come together as one family. He asked us, in the name of the creator, to be the stewards of this planet and friends to any who enters our space.
This is who we are expected to be
Look at us today. We have not been true to his teaching. Unfortunately, much of the New Testament is John, who was Saul. Only the red words in the Gospels and Acts are the truth.
In 2017 my mother died. It was late February. We had just elected a racist President. Two priests Robert and Tom stood talking as friends. Of two different disciplines, these men told me the local spiritual leaders met for Lunch – Dinner – Musical … whatever.
Years later Tom and Allan along with the local rabbi took a group to Palestine.
They told me who did not
The Imam did
At the beginning of 2020, living once again in the Golden Isles, I attended three of the churches here on St. Simons. I listen with great respect to Alan & Tom as they tended to their Presbyterian and Episcopalian flocks. I also had a chance to experience Catholics sharing their faith.
I have stayed away from most people since COVID, especially those rude people who would not wear a mask and do not want to accept the free vaccine and become part of the herd immune society.
A lovely woman asked the question of my spiritual beliefs.
While cycling one beautiful afternoon along the Chattahoochee, I listened to one particular way of interpreting the Tao.
After listening to the full series, the Trinity became nothing more than an element of the mythology used to help people find a common purpose.
For me, our purpose should be to find union with all. People should not insist we all believe in the Jesus described in the Nicene Creed. Instead,
We could all agree
He is a Great Spiritual Teacher
Many tell me I must give God my full and undivided attention. They tell me he will fill my mind with heavenly wisdom and knowledge.
They tell me – he has plans for me.
They tell me they see and hear greatness in my ideas. Can it be true?
Is God calling and asking me to step up
Reach higher and prepare to do more than I can imagine?
My therapist believes I have a calling. Others cause me to fear the burden God wants to place on my shoulders. The woman who caused me to write told me she heard greatness in my ideas.
Then they pray that I will experience the outrageous love of Christ. This one idea reminds me of the division and hubris of the Christian.
Sometimes even I wonder if I am destined and here for a reason
In 1976 I learned software & telecommunication with the equivalent of a 4-year master’s in computer services. 1982, while replacing the back pages of the WSJ with computer screens, I saw how marginal satisfaction is not a human instinct and was confronted with the flaws of socialism and capitalism. 1986 off to Europe for 15 years.
1991, I moving into senior management and saw the world through the eyes of Mastercard and Visa. I helped them grow and focused on securing the world of payments and heralding in eCommerce.
Big data, identity, and cryptography take me into today.
The fourth industrial revolution is underway; it calls us to embrace machine learning, natural language interfaces, 3D printing, and the internet of things.
How God fits in begs the question of why God would put Putin and Trump in power. Why would income inequality be so raw and health a profit center? Those waving the Trump and MAGA flags worry me. Their supremacist attitude solidifies for me one thing. Tribalism is our greatest sin.
Has he put me here to address the real issue!
Stop believing in the absolute truth of One book. Instead, we need to collectively believe in the one creator who taught the four or more ancient scholars the truth. They all have one common message.
It is time to listen and embrace The Golden Rule.
If this is my destiny, I need help. I need the OMI cheerleader. Moreover, I need to meet men and women of faith who have experienced a truth and have grown to see the truth.
When we think of governance and how we control society, we immediately must consider the realities of the people and the tribes to which they belong. Without understanding their history and the context of the culture, we gamble with knowing the truth as we try to understand their focus, purpose, and future.
What is governance? It is the methods, processes, and mechanisms a society puts in place to establish order and ensure harmony? The ancient Greeks spoke of democracy, the idea that each member of the tribe, the town, the city, or the state could assemble and determine new laws, regulations, and best practices. We then evolved into representative structures where appointed, elected, or heredity groups of people came together to represent many citizens.
Long ago, yet, in my lifetime, the idea of plugging the handset of your telephone into the back of a terminal and dial into a computer somewhere out there was a novelty.
Last decade, in response to the financial crisis brought on by those who sought to profit from the creation of financial instruments derived from the derivate of another financial derived instruction, we read Bitcoin: A Peer-to-peer Electronic Cash System. This seminal piece of work drove us to understand the immutable and trustless power of a distributed ledger.
When bitcoin emerged, Satoshi’s whitepaper described a new world order. A world built on mathematics, founded in a meritocracy, and governed by software. It makes one wonder about the written into science fiction novels. They expressed concern and worry about computers and pure logic taking over the world. Sometimes humanity became technology’s servant.
While learning, I remembered a series of conversations with David Chaum as he explained the concept of a hash chain, the power of cryptography, digital signatures, and certificates as I explored the security of the devices we carry. This journey drove me to explore relationships, artifacts, cards, and credentials.
After 45 years serving the financial community with a technical orientation, I came to understand the power of identity, the fallacy of software, and the integrity of people. At the same time, history was rewritten, curriculums were changed over and over again. Disinformation, trust, fake news, and propaganda meld into this cacophony. A collage of perspectives linked to our identity and flavor soured by the relationships and encounters we have had during our limited existence. Today I wonder about elections, opinion polls, proxy votes, and the selection of representative government.
Today it is time to embrace a citizen-centric view of technology. If we do not stop and think, the brave to a new world we may construct could look like 1984 or a world under the watchful eye of Skynet. If we reflect on what we, the citizen, want and direct what we do to achieve that collective vision. We can work as one together and establish the foundation of that brave new world we all seek.
A distributed autonomous organization seeks to address a myriad of challenges. As peers in a decentralized structure, the participants deliberate, vote, and reach
Like in any organization, people are attracted to thoughts and ideas that meld well with their own. But what makes this so new? Long ago, when representative governments or councils were created, the community decided to allow a few to manage the needs of the many.
What is so different? Our interfaces have changed. The way we engage has expanded and no longer restructured to verbal or hand-delivered written communication. In written communication, there is a thought. I stare at my computer screens; my pen is poised over a tablet as I use script to write notes or the keyboard to chat across multiple instant messaging applications. While staring at a word processor, PowerPoint presentation, or spreadsheet, I can engage and share with people spread across the planet using my cameras, speakers, and microphones.
A distributed Autonomous Organization is simply the grouping of people using technology to widen the breadth of participation. No longer restricted to location, we can continue to expand networks and engage with our peers.
I am confused. I thought the goal of a democratic society was to ensure each citizen of age had the ability and the right to vote. In 2020 there was and still is a pandemic often in history there have been natural disasters these challenges create issues voters have to consider when attempting to voice their intent on who shall represent them at a city, municipal, county, state, or federal level.
Many legislatures, Secretaries of State, or Lieut. Governors decided to expand the ability for voters to vote by mail. Our previous president argued mail-in voting was subject to fraud and built a case or better-said conspiracy theory that would allow him to contest the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Now the GOP is busy attempting to rewrite the law that will remove the ability of those unable to attend the voting place to use mail-in ballots. Why one should ask! To restrict the number and class of people who can vote in a democracy is unacceptable. Our political class should wish and work and make sure our democratic process of voting enables each of us the ability and the right to vote. Any attempt to limit someone’s ability to vote should be classed as a criminal act. By making this statement one could easily argue the GOP are criminals.
Often in history, those who seek power seek to suppress those who wish to also participate. We can only hope the good people of this country will decide that we are a free nation built upon laws that engender respect and seek to include everyone.
A long time ago, while installing Voice, Video, and Digital services on Trading Rooms in London and on Wall Street, stories of dis-information and the ability to manipulate the market were often told around the Bar at Harry’s on Hanover Square. Today we see manipulation in the political and economic spheres capable of alternating world order and drives nations into Civil war.
We must find a way of removing the risk of misinformation and restore truth and fair play into everything we hear and do.
When we listen to the news we must think first of the bias of the reporter. This unfortunate truth is troubling in a world where the leader of the United States speaks of fake news and uses Twitter to stir up the masses. This body of citizens struggles with truth and is easily bent to believe what the leader says.
This particular charismatic leader, like many others in the past, is able to cause people to believe anything. The challenge these same people will follow both those with hi morals and those with any.
Jesus Christ, Siddhartha Gautama, Confucius, Laozi and a few others spoke wisely and became spiritual leaders many continue to follow.
Hitler to name one well remembered is like the one now President of this great country spreads lies and ferments hatred.
How can we rise above when so many are unwilling or is it unable to see the truth and rise above the madness these charismatic immoral individuals ferment.
That is the concern I have felt since first I looked upon the control the church exerts upon the mass.
It is 11 AM December 6 and I wonder about the past and future of the United States of America. The news is divided. There are those that focus on the Trump-centric right-wing media. There are then those that focus on the Biden-centric left-wing media. The challenge where is the truth. For those capable and willing to watch both sides of the story we may be able to fathom reality. For those fixated on one side or the other, they are no longer are capable of appreciating where the middle of this country lies.
November 3 we had an election and over the next several weeks it became clear that Joe Biden would be our new president. Unfortunately, the current president Donald Trump could not nor would not accept the fact he lost.
In 2016 the popular vote said he lost. Based on how our Constitution is written, the electoral college decided he won. We had to accept this truth and we had to get on with life.
The challenge, since then we have had to live with the lies, the untruths, and the constant cry “fake news”. We had to deal with the constant barrage of POTUS reminding us he is a narcissist, he is the president of the United States, and recognize he was allowed to lie to the public. Is he sane one might ask. Are we?
When we think of investing in various businesses the goal, of course, is revenue. One of the keys to such success is loyalty. Loyalty is all about the relationship companies create with their customers and the revenue these relationships assure.
If the buyer has something the seller wants, in exchange for the good or service they desire, then a transaction occurs. The challenge is simple, each party defines the value of what they are providing or exchanging and presto the trade occurs.
When society grows and the complexity of what each of us produces and when our needs are not aligned to this process called barter, a means of monetization is established. Society creates a trusted means of exchange – pebbles, coins, money, a promissory note or now even, some would argue,cryptocurrencies.
In other words, society created an answer to enable the exchange of goods and services between parties, who do not have the goods and services the other party seeks.
With cash, coins or other tangible representations of value, commerce is easy. When society does not develop a secure and trusted means of facilitating the exchange of things commerce, innovation and a good life cannot be achieved. To this end, paper money is imbued with ‘value’ based on the integrity of the party issuing the physical or now electronic ‘money’. The addition of the word ‘electronic’ brings technology, computers, and networks into the conversation. One network, typically referred to as the Automated Clearing House ‘ACH’ allows banks to electronic instruct the movement of ‘money from an account at one bank to an account at another.
These payment networks, by necessity, add complexity. They create the need to establish a two sided market. On one side the relationship with the buyer, consumer, or cardholder. On the other side if this market the seller, merchant, or retailer.
Issuance and Acceptance. Two words to describe the two sides of a network. It’s only when the two sides of the market have sufficient participants. Only at the tipping point, when critical mass exists, can one claim to have created a self-sustaining network. A network of people promoting use to buyers and a network of merchants willing to accept payment based on the terms and conditions defined by the network. Beginning at this tipping point, the network and it’s Brand blossoms. If either side of the market does not achieve critical mass, the network collapses.
Relationships – The oil of commerce
Any two entities familiar and trusting in the Brand, or each other, can easily establish a temporary relationship with entities associated with the brand. If one or more of the entities require anonymity increases the level of trust and recognition the Brand must establish with these participants.
In a digital environment, we are in need of mechanisms to share and establish trust across trillions of electrons. The two sides of a relationship, in other words, the market, will not take the time to understand or appreciate the need for network and endpoint security; until the risk exceeds a threshold understood by the participants.
The Artifact of Trust
When a mutually trusted set of parties gives the citizen, consumer, employee or courtier a letter, card, device or any uniquely registered object, and provides every acceptor with a reader capable of recognizing the trusted thing. Then the two parties are in a position to establish “trust”. The consumer has a thing which is recognized and trusted by the acceptor. This is often referred to as “What You Have”.
Once the thing is recognized by the acceptor, then, the process of identification and authorizations (the transaction) can take place. The object – the artifact – carries an identifier. It possesses unique characteristics. The object also possesses a means of assuring the acceptor the presentation of that identifier represents a unique representation of that identifier.
The simplest artifact of establishing “trust” is a handheld thing, be it a key, fob, card, watch, pendant, phone, earpiece. It does not matter what it is, all that counts is that the merchant recognizes it and that the consumer is willing to carry and present it.
Trust, for the merchant, means they can, according to defined procedures, recognize and authenticate the thing. They are then in a position to pursue a temporary and trusted relationship. What can be achieved during the time the relationship of trusted is bounded, is constrained by an additional layer. In this layer the consumer, the acceptor and any third parties address which the rights and privileges are to be granted or pursued. This is when the exchange, sale, conversation, tranaction, event or access is granted.
Voter suppression, voter apathy and voter regret are what we feel, hear and must tolerate.
COVID-19 the corona virus and the ranting of the American President set the stage of an interesting lead up to the November election.
How will we assure the success of the election. We worry about polling places not being open creating very long lines at those polling places we are able to open. We think about Vote by Mail and wonder if some states will even allow those seeking to maintain social distance to request and absentee ballot. Worse still he whose name should not be spoken will accept the results of an election where a significant segment of the population will have taken advantage of the healthier Vote Remote option.
All this said there is another way to enabling the people to express their opinion. We could take advantage of technology. We should ignore those who live in the past and argue technology can never be secured and call this “settled science”. We could bring together the practitioners who are securing technology and ask them to work together to make sure those solutions already pilot tested are as secure as is possible.
Voatz has created a Remote Ballot Marking solution built on the secure foundation of current generation mobile devices. A platform built to mutually authenticate the verified voter is eligible to vote, the device they are using is secure and not infected with malicious software, the communications is encrypted to assure no one can see who the voter decided to vote for, the secure cannot be hacked and each vote is immutable.
All of these security precautions then enhanced with sophisticate detection techniques designed to monitor and make sure those who attempt to attack the system are identified and prosecuted.
Security is inherent in Voatz’s design as is the simplicity of the user interface. A user interface designed to assure everyone, no matter their situation or disability to ability to vote.
Voatz began by focusing on serving our military. People who do not have access to printers, the post office or any other means of casting their ballot. What they do have is a mobile phone and access to the internet. Voatz makes sure they could vote. Voatz then saw an opportunity to serve those with disabilities. With these two constituent solved for Voatz is ready to help each and every America election authority protect your right to vote.
The next step is for you the people to demand the ability to vote. Ask the secretary of state or lieutenant governor to work with Voatz to offer Vote by a Phone as an option this year.
Since early February, we here in the United States have had to live with the coronavirus and its economic implications. Over the last two weeks, we have confronted with the reality of our racist tendencies. Over the last 20+ years, this country has fractured into the left the Democrats and the right the Republicans; groups like the tea party have driven these tribal tendencies who wish to engender their thoughts on everyone.
The sense of discomfort that lives within my soul creates tensions and a sense of despair. If only we could see the light. If only we could believe the truth. If only we could come together as one people each of us would be much happier and able to live a more productive and satisfying life
What can I do? What can you do to change the way we think to change the way we act to change the way we embrace each other? Some would remind us of the works of great religious leaders such as Jesus Christ, Lao-Tzu, Confucius Siddhartha Gautama. Men and I am sure women who have spoken of peace and tranquility. They talked about friendship and the bonds of togetherness? It is these bonds of friendship we have to find again. It is the ability to accept and embrace each other we need to remember. We need to stop arguing with each other. We need to start embracing each other. We need to remember that debate is a good thing, while arguments are not.
When I was a young man, I believed it would take three generations for us to address are the racial tensions in this country. I think my problem then was from which age do we begin; it was not the generation that I came from the baby boomers. Maybe not even Gen X. It needs to have a fresh start. It needs to be built on the beliefs of togetherness. Yesterday evening we watched a documentary about Thurgood Marshall. I had no idea how complexed the arguments and the legal battles have been to reach where we are today. The Jim Crow laws so divisive created the division in the South. Separate but equal established a baseline to segregate those of color from those who believed they had the power.
I so much want to walk forward into a world where peace is the norm where cooperation is how we work together. But, the tension, the tribal tendency, seems to be deeply ingrained in our human psyche. It is the human psyche we need to address. We need to transform our thinking from that of fight and right to that of compassion, cooperation, and solidarity.
What more can I say? I can only pray that ‘we the people’ will find the way forward. That ‘we the people,’ will work together to find a more peaceful union. That we, the people, will finally achieve what the founders envisioned. What some would say God offered us in the Garden of Eden before we fit into the fruit of knowledge. We should harness understanding for good.
In March 2020, I moved from the payments industry into the election industry. This movement caused me to wonder about democracy, politics, academia, and the world of technology. What amazed me is how computer science academics could rail at the idea, technology could be used to innovate on the election process. Years ago I imagined participating in a national referendum simply by opening a browser searching for the government website and voting on the measures and contests currently under consideration.
Unfortunately what I’ve learned troubles me. Certain clusters of intelligent individuals believe that they know best. They stigmatize technology and argue that a human being, who writes software, could leave unintended bugs which might lead to unintended consequences. They forget software is an evolutionary science. Through piloting, continuous improvement, testing, and rigorous testing we can eliminate bugs and create stable and secure critically important applications serving our financial, health, national security, and public interests.
Recently in a letter written by verified voting, a nonprofit organization, the word settled science appeared. An intriguing word, an intriguing phrase. I was driven to wonder what did it mean. From my high school years, science was an evolutionary process. A hypothesis was put forward. it was tested. If it was found to be false a new hypothesis was offered, it was tested and on the scientific community went. In one article when googling “Settled Science” I was intrigued to read the word oxymoron followed by an explanation of how if Sir Isaac Newton’s beliefs had been settled science Albert Einstein would never have been able to put forward the concepts of general relativity.
This whole conversation feels very much like a religion, a church, who has a dogmatic belief in the written word of the Bible being the written and only word of God. We forget how man inserts himself into every dialogue. Too often we insert our beliefs on others. Maybe “Settled Science” is the dogmatic belief that we are right and everyone else is wrong.
If this is the case then how do we move forward? If scientists – academics force there will on society than society has lost its objectivity.
Two words each can be seen as the same as the other. Yet, it is important to create a distinction.
The method of payment should be related to how we execute and not from where the money comes. The means of payment should relate to the source of funds.
Too often, we allow these terms to get lost. Is tapping a payment card at the point of sale or typing in the 16 digits printed or embossed on the card a means of payment? I would argue not! This is the method we use to inform the merchant how they will be paid for the goods and services we seek to procure.
When we talk about the means of payment, we should focus on the source of funds. Are these funds held on deposit, funds in the wallet, or a loan of funds?
Our vocabulary is rich in confusion. These two words in the complex space of payments need to have independents reason.
As an example, I use Apple Pay to pay does not mean Apple is involved in managing the funds. It is simply the method used to share the payment card details with the merchant, enabling the merchant to request funds from the account selected by the user through the Apple Pay user interface.
This question of the extinction of the payment card is misleading.
What is a payment card? It is the carrier of a set of credentials, A means of Identification offering financial Attributes capable of being authenticated by a party seeking to sell something to the individual or entity presenting the credential as a mechanism to assure payment.
Back when credit cards were designed, the goal was to offer merchants a guarantee of payment and anonymous consumers a means of paying. Behind this means of payment, a financial institution, the issuer, provides the consumer with a “Line of Credit”.
On the merchant side, another financial institution buys these guaranteed receivables from the merchant and charges the merchant a “merchant discount”. Later that day the Issuing Institution advances payment to the Acquiring Institution based on an agreed set of terms and operating rules. Terms and conditions the involved financial institutions collectively agreed upon.
For this method of payment to be effective, a large number of consumers and merchants had to agree to participate; hence the financial institutions came together and formed what we now know as MasterCard and Visa.
Given the state of technology at the time it was essential this new mechanism work without the burden and expense associated with the merchant, supported by the acquirer, contacting the issuer to receive approval, or, in stronger terms be assured of a guarantee of payment. To achieve this result, the merchant needed something to acquire the necessary information to submit a request for payment. For both the merchants and financial institutions,, there had to be a means of authentication. Designed to assure the responsible parties of the authenticity of the person or entity to present their payment credentials.
Overtime criminals successfully counterfeited these security features.
As these features were compromised additional features had to be added.
Today, a computer has been embedded inside the card, in order to assure the authenticity of the payment card credentials being presented to the merchant.
These computers embedded onto the front of a payment card exploit the power of cryptography. Cryptographic certificates and digital signatures are created by and for these computers, allowing:
The Issuer (symmetric cryptography) to support Online Authentication
The merchant (asymmetric cryptography)to support Offline Data Authentication
These two mechanisms prove to the merchant and issuer that the card is unique and the data, credentials, and digital signature it contains or produces are authentic.
Once all the merchants have are capable of reading the data from the chip card, the security features of the card become redundant.
As these features become redundant and the merchants embrace Near Field Communications, based on the ISO 14443 standard, the issuer can replace the card form factor with anything equipped with the necessary computational capabilities and ability to communicate with the terminal over the NFC interface.
This is exactly what Apple Pay and Google Pay have done. They replaced the card with a device. Yes, the Payment Card may become redundant. But, the Payment Credentials they contain, remain.
What we know as card payments, is fundamentally an account-based solution. Money, through the defined settlement process, ultimately move from the line of credit or deposit account of the buyer, through a series of accounts with the participating financial institutions, to the account of the merchant.
Card-based credential payments simply become Device-based credential payments
As is my habit each morning I run through a serious of Google Alerts scanning and reading those that tweak my interest. One of these alerts helps me to stay abreast of what is happening in the crypto market. Most often times the articles present the hype and expectation of those enamored with Bitcoin and the excitement the last ten years of cryptocurrency excitement has wrought.
One article’s conclusion deserves a bit more thought.
There’s a lot of money to be made in cryptocurrency, but it belongs to those who can avoid making ruinous mistakes.
Whether you’re trading or mining, it is important to treat your endeavor with the utmost care and diligence.
As a crypto newcomer, you will go much farther and enjoy success if you note these tech-mistakes and steer clear of them.
This middle sentence once again reinforces my skepticism.
What is behind these immaterial assets?
Is the price of a bitcoin simply the result of the actions of crypto believers, speculators, and gamblers?
Is a cryptocurrencies price driven by the value of the reward required by miners to cover their cost for electric, space and computer resources?
Unlike the US dollar, the British pound, Swiss Franc or other stable country issued currency built on “trust” in the future of the USA, UK or Switzerland; these new currencies are built on peoples’ belief in a speculative and trustless cryptographic universe.
In essence, these cryptocurrencies are built on
The hopes and dreams of many
Behind all of this is the cost of supporting these cryptocurrencies. Costs measured in electric bills and the investment in racks of mining resources “computers”. Is it the ever-increasing need for computation power that drives the ever-increasing need for higher rewards set against the process of halving, apparently designed to address inflation.
This mystery of “inflation” leaves me wondering if inflation of the price a built-in part of a scheme to assure the original and still invested success of the few?
In 1993, I was asked by the then CEO of Europay International to establish a relationship with Mastercard, and Visa focused on developing the specifications necessary to assure the interoperability of chip card-based security for credit and debit payment cards. The result published in 1996 was the “EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specifications for Payment Systems.”
From these humble beginnings, EMVCo has emerged as a key organization in managing the standards behind card payment systems. In the white paper Payment Insecurity, commissioned by the Secure Payment Partnership, the author reminds us of the difference between standards managed by an open body and those tightly controlled by an exclusive group of competitors. One wonders if the owners of EMVCo will listen and strive to open up their membership or continue to use this entity to protect their proprietary interests.
In the introduction, the author speaks of a series of questions he intends to address. The first question of the paper
Is EMVCo furthering the entire U.S. payments industry or simply protecting Visa and Mastercard’s market share? page 5
begs the question, why limit the discussion to the USA?
This American only focus is driven by the desires of the Unaffiliated Debit Networks and a set of merchants. The paper ignores fundamental and, yes, anti-competitive elements of the EMV specification – the AID or the Application Identifier. It was and is directly related to the Brand responsible for the underlining technology incorporated into the Chip.
I then read the following complaint and am driven to ask how the consumer interpreted the prior Debit versus Credit prompts.
Visa’s response to this solution was to require merchants to display to consumers a choice between “Visa Debit” and “U.S.
Debit” at checkout. – page 13
In essence, what Visa required was simple, the terminal should comply with the EMV specification for “application selection,” key and inherent in the multi-application design of EMV and the underlining ISO 7816.
Moving further into the document in Section 6.1, the author attempts to document the history leading to the creation of EMVCo. As one of the founding members, the author’s sources were not involved and did not understand the history.
First, only France had a smart card solution designed to address Credit and Debit card fraud. They referred to their implementation as B Zero Prime.
Second, the UK in 1995 was driven by Visa to embrace an earlier version of the Visa specifications adapted to the unique requirements of the UK market and branded UKIS. UKIS and the unique UK requirements are responsible for changing many of the shall’s in the EMV 2.0 version of the specifications to should’s in the EMV 3.0 version. This accommodation was the result of legacy limitation within the X25 network the United Kingdom depended on for card authorizations.
To further identify issues with his record of history, the statement on page 22
EMVCo developed standards for chip cards that could work with credit, debit and stored-value cards
It is fair to suggest EMV attempted to incorporate Stored-Value cards in the specification. But as a result of the competitive realities of Europay’s Clip, Mastercard’s Mondex, and Visa Visa Cash stored value solutions, they agreed to exclude stored value cards from the specifications.
It then goes on to suggest EMV compromised and offered a Signature option. There was not a compromise; it was intentional. The goal, afford the Issuer the ability to determine, by Cardholder, which cardholder verification method they could be configured for. One need was to address issues of the disabled, e.g., the Blind.
Debit Routing as a result of the Durbin amendment. One might wonder why EMV did not consider this idea of multiple networks associated with a card.
EMVCo was unable and unwilling to resolve the lack of a debit AID because EMV was never designed for the U.S. market.
I sense that there is another front coming out of the Debit Networks seeking to argue the anti-competitive nature of EMV. The paper, link below, draws me to wonder about the argumentation surrounding “Application Selection.” Please let’s get back to basics – the “AID=Brand=Payment Scheme” drives “Routing.”
On page 13, it argues consumer confusion. I would argue it ignores the past. The EMV default user prompts of “Visa Debit” and “US Debit” are no more confusing than the historic “Credit,” and “Debit” prompts. I would argue consumer confusion already existed. The EMV specification for Application Selection simply afforded the Issuer the ability to provide more descriptive prompts by employing the “Application Preferred Name” instead of the default “Application Label.”
This whole fight surrounding EMV and Payment Security is really a fight about the future of Card Payments. On one face, they argue the Payment Networks did not assure the security of the card payments to protect revenue. On the other hand, they argue EMVCo is a closed standards organization designed to protect and assure the interests of its shareholders, without consideration for the other stakeholders in the payment, e.g., the merchant.
In the end, the argument comes down to the role, definition, and control. How we structure the underlining payment transaction is what we need to talk about. Who provides the mechanism, guarantee, and support for a particular mechanism decides the rules.
1: a document containing a certified statement especially as to the truth of something
specifically: a document certifying that one has fulfilled the requirements of and may practice in a field
2: something serving the same end as a certificate
3: a document evidencing ownership or debt
: to testify to or authorize by a certificate
When we designed the EMV specification we employed a cryptographic mechanism to assure the merchant and ultimately the issuer of the presence of a uniquely issued payment card. The goal, address the weakness of the security features then present on a physical payment card.
For the merchant – a local mechanism capable of allowing the device – the point of sale to attest to the membership of that card to the family of cards issued under one of the Payment Network brands.
For the Issuer – a mechanism where the card signed transaction details the merchant would forward a digital certificate – the cryptogram – to the issuer for authentication. This cryptogram included in the message sent to the issuer assured the issuer, the card they issued; was presented to the merchant as a means of payment, for the transaction.
What is a payment card? – It is a certificate, issued by a financial institution, designed to guarantee the merchant will be paid – if they follow the agreed payment brand rules.
What is a ticket? – It is a certificate, issued by the movie theater, or a designated vendor, granting access to some venue or event.
What is a license? – It is a certificate, issued by some authority identifying your right to be or the ability to do something.
In the digital world, certificates are strings of characters, such as 2FG%4T678&b23, created, using some mechanism, by an Authority. The readers, of these characters, use the certificate to Authenticate the uniqueness and Authority associated with the presentation of this certificate by someone or thing to something or someone.