Electronic money

doug doug at lemonia.org
Thu Dec 4 20:01:48 GMT 2014

On 01/12/14 21:40, Francis Davey wrote:
> Apologies if this seems like a very stupid question (or series of
> questions) but this list struck me as being the best place to ask it.
> 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.
> Specifically I am interested in knowing if there are any systems of
> open circulation "electronic money" that don't involve smart cards or
> similar physical tokens.
> By "electronic money" I mean specifically money that is a liability on
> the issuer. I.e. there is an issuer and if you present your "copy" of
> the electronic money the issuer must present (or will present) you
> with some currency issued (say) by a sovereign state.
> By "open circulation", I mean one that allows parties to transfer the
> money between them without reference to the issuer or some other
> central body.
> Mondex was, as I understand it, an example of such a form of open
> circulation electronic money but relied on a physical token to make
> sure there was no double spending (forgive me if I have misunderstood
> this point). 
> NB: please no criticism of whether it actually achieved these goals :-).
> Clearly cryptocurrencies openly circulate but they aren't "electronic
> money" (*) because they don't represent a liability on anyone.
> Are there any examples of such things, or are all "electronic money"
> systems essentially reliant on smart cards or references back to an
> issuer?
> Ultimately I am trying to work out whether there is anything new (from
> a legal perspective).
> (*) There's a directive on "electronic money" and being a liability on
> the issuer is an essential (though not only) part of being electronic
> money. Bitcoin is not "electronic money" in that sense and so doesn't
> fall within all the regulatory rules of the same.

have you checked out C3 ?:


Lietaer's book 'Rethinking Money' has many examples of different types
of promise money - might be a useful resource...

cheers, Doug.

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