Every MintChip has an ID, and every transaction is logged on both the sending and receiving device with the ID of the other device. This means that if someone takes your chip, they get a complete record of every transaction you’ve ever made. In other words, it’s not anonymous at all.
The details are vague, but tying cash to a ‘tamper-proof’ hardware seems like the wrong direction.
Yours truly contributed to a New York Times “Room for Debate” forum on the future of the dollar:
Canada is eliminating the penny, but not the cent: digitally, consumers can still pay to the cent, for instance charging $1.03 to a credit card rather than paying $1.05 in cash. It’s almost inevitable that digital money will soon replace not just the penny, but all physical money — in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere. Moving away from paper notes and coins and toward a digital currency is a no-brainer, at least when it comes to cost and efficiency. But when it comes to privacy and freedom, cash can’t be beat. We must ensure that we protect our civil liberties by preserving some untraceable payment method.
Germany plans to introduce legislation that would require search engines to pay content owners for using snippets shown in search links to news items. Obviously this would be a curtailment of fair use, and as a result, free speech. But what’s truly amazing is that the stated reason for this plan is that search engines are making more money than new sites.
A site like Google News (or standard Google when it returns news links at the top of a search) are not substitutes for news sites. In fact, search engines are the primary source of traffic for news sites. So it’s not the case that news sites are harmed by search engines. They are not losing any money to search; it’s quite the opposite. So why the law? According to the New York Times, “The proposal was cheered by German publishers, who complain that Internet companies like Google have profited hugely from their content, while generating only scraps of digital revenue.”
Got that? They’re saying, ‘Google hasn’t taken anything from us—in fact they’ve driven traffic to us—but at the end of the day they’re making more money than we are, and we want some of it.’
If you’re dubious, consider that publishers right now have the ability to opt out of being indexed by Google—or even just opt-out of Google News and stay in Google search. Yet they don’t. If the aggregation and linking that Google and other search engines are doing was not a fair bargain, publishers would opt out and demand payment. The fact that they don’t shows that they already value being in Google’s index. They are already being fairly compensated. This plan is not about fairness; it’s about rent-seeking.