Electronic money

Peter Sommer peter at pmsommer.com
Tue Dec 2 07:49:25 GMT 2014

On 01/12/2014 21:40, Francis Davey wrote:
> I'm doing some writing/teaching about legal aspects of money and
> payment systems on the internet (as a more general part of
> e-commerce). I'm trying to get my head around what systems of
> "electronic money" there are out there. Most of what I read is too
> sales-oriented for me to tell what is actually going on.
The problems around the sort of schemes to which your definition applies
are two-fold.  The first is that unless transaction and infrastructure
costs are significantly below the existing ones for handling traditional
cash a new scheme won't take off.  Second,  too many people in society
"need" the existence of the black economy - any scheme which makes black
transactions difficult will face resistance.

NFC schemes,  limited to low value transactions, using enhanced credit
cards and slightly-more-expensive smart phones meet many of the
convenience / low transaction cost elements, at least for retail. 
PayPal (and perhaps others) have relatively high transaction fees but
have made inroads into a potential e-money market.

And then there  are the cryptocurrencies which also potentially
undermine any economic and convenience arguments for your notion of e-money.

Peter Sommer

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