W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments@w3.org > June 2014

Re: Is payment "timeliness" addressed in our work yet?

From: Dave Lampton <dave.lampton@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2014 07:50:20 -0700
Message-ID: <CAHbN0exS7QJSpekLJqkgvLt-j78C3dsW=MU=+N7zPBbOZgUWgw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Joseph Potvin <jpotvin@opman.ca>
Cc: Web Payments CG <public-webpayments@w3.org>
Since its inception, PayPal has primarily made their money "on the float"
meaning that during those few days they have your money, they are able to
invest it in short-term money markets, etc. When you're dealing with such a
large number of transactions, these investments can be very large and the
returns quite handsome.

I'm new to this group, but I have joined because I've been developing my
own solutions for "digital money" and wanted to see what else is going on.
So far, I am gathering that both the current WebPayments (PaySwarm)
platform as well as other proposed alternatives like OpenTransact are still
all based on email for the sending/receiving of payments, is that right?

There is STILL no way for me to send $5 directly to my brother, for
example. There is still always going to be at least one third party
involved, and often more than one, just for me to give my brother five
bucks. Or have I missed something?


Has anyone discussed the development of something entirely new like a
protocol especially used for nothing but financial transactions? My feeling
is that email servers don't know what a payment is and never will be able
to do anything with one. End users are still dependent on a third-party to
move money to/from their bank accounts.

On the other hand, I have a much more complete system for digital money
developed in my mind if anyone is interested. If our money were held by our
own digital accounts, we could send money to one another just like we can
already hand one another cash without any third-party involvement. (it
would even put into question the need for banks!) A super brief overview

First off, this idea would actually require governments/central banks to
issue the digital currency that could subsequently only live in my proposed
digital accounts. Yes, I realize that's a huge hurdle to expect their
involvement at any stage, but frankly, I think it is the only real way to
solve the larger problems permanently.

So, what if every financial account in the world were assigned a permanent
URL (either a domain or subdomain that is owned by the account holder).
Every website already requires a domain, so it's not a big leap to require
every digital account to also have a domain or subdomain (and with the
advent of IPv6 we'll have so many IP addresses at our disposal, it's
absurd). Ownership of digital accounts and the transfer of their ownership
would all be handled using the same mechanisms we use today to manage
domains using registrars and DNS. In this case, every digital dollar must
have a home in a digital account somewhere. Each digital dollar knows its
issuing bank, its unique serial number, its current owner (holding account)

Essentially, a digital account would be a new type of Internet endpoint,
one that is similar to the function of an email server, but only processes
financial transactions. It would be addressed in much the same way that
email servers have an MX record in DNS, the currency servers might have a
CX record. In my mind, the easiest way to implement something like this
would be with a Node.js server using secure WebSockets (wss://) and a
simple NoSQL document store, most likely a MongoDB instance. The software
itself could be so simple as to be mindless, not even needing
configuration, knowing only how to either send or receive currency, nothing

Lastly, my ideas to keep it all secure turn the traditional cryptographic
methods upside-down. Rather than make every financial transaction in the
world a big freakin' secret, I would instead make every transaction
completely public and recorded by a whole lot of people at once. It would
be impossible to fake because only the central banks will transmit
transaction confirmations, but everyone will be keeping copies of them as
they happen on their network segments, and records can be looked up by
anyone at any time. However, to be fair to everyone, money must have no
memory, and so only the current owner is known for a given piece of
currency, previous owners are purged from the records when a new
transaction is confirmed.

There are lots more details to all of this if anyone is interested.

Not sure if perhaps you're all more interested in forwarding the
established ideas, but I wanted to throw this out there since I still do
not yet see any proposals which would allow me to send that $5 directly to
my brother!!  :)


Dave Lampton
* @dave_lampton <https://twitter.com/dave_lampton>*

* DaveLampton <https://www.facebook.com/DaveLampton> +DaveLampton

On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 4:40 AM, Joseph Potvin <jpotvin@opman.ca> wrote:

> I don't recall seeing anything specific yet about basic timeliness of
> web payments.
> Here's an example. In the course of having some funds reimbursed to me
> by a business via PayPal, I then transferred the money from my PayPal
> account to my bank account. Once that transaction was processed via
> the PayPal site, I recieved the following emaIl message:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: service@intl.paypal.com <service@intl.paypal.com>
> Date: Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 7:03 AM
> Subject: We're transferring money to your bank
> To: Joseph Potvin <jpotvin@opman.ca>
> We're transferring money from PayPal to your bank
> Jun 3, 2014 07:03:36 GMT-04:00
> Hello Joseph Potvin,
> You asked us to transfer $XXX.XX CAD from PayPal to your bank account,
> and we're processing it now. It usually takes 3-5 business days for
> transfers like this to go through, so you should see the money in your
> bank account by Jun 10, 2014.
> -----------------------------------------------
> Huh?  3-5 business days?   But the ACH system clears at least every day.
> Does anyone here know in which organization's hands the money sits for
> 3-5 days? And why?
> Is this a delay due to some slow anti-launderiing verification
> processes mandated by government?
> Alternatively I can imagine there's a cloth bag tied with sisal
> containing my $XXX.XX CAD being loaded onto a side-bag of a donkey,
> getting ready to make the trek in this direction. I'm fine with that.
> Just need to know though.
> --
> Joseph Potvin
> Operations Manager | Gestionnaire des opérations
> The Opman Company | La compagnie Opman
> jpotvin@opman.ca
> Mobile: 819-593-5983
Received on Tuesday, 3 June 2014 21:26:42 UTC

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