close this bookVolume 5: No. 25
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View the documentElectronic commerce
View the documentInternet advertising
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View the documentPhilosophy and cognitive science
View the documentEducation and scholarship
View the documentComputists' news

Can you create real value on the net just by issuing funny money? Apparently so. Digicash distributed $1M in Ecash, e$100 per user. A few merchants have accepted the cyberbucks for shareware or information products, and Adam Back in Great Britain will sell you an "export-prohibited" cryptographic T-shirt for e$250 (or UKP 8, which sets up a different exchange rate). The first known exchange to US currency occurred when Lucky Green agreed last month to sell his e$100 for $5. That establishes a street price of $50K for the Digicash issue, although it's possible that the limited edition will have a much higher value as a collector's item. Internet commerce analyst Robert Hettinga says "The price we're talking about here is the marginal value of the concept of e$ itself: anonymity, fluidity of transfer, convenience, whatever." Hettinga has set up an Electronic Cash Market (ECM) mailing list where people can arrange trades of electronic and real currencies. Send a "subscribe" message to . For more on Digicash, see . [Jim Crawley, WEBster, 7/11/95.]

The Internet Online Offshore Electronic Casino (from Turks and Caicos Islands, the Caribbean) should be open now. Financial transactions will be based in banks outside the US. Online gambling could become a $10B business, if consumer trust can be earned -- but note that US and CA law prohibit wire transmission of wagers. . [Jim Crawley, WEBster, 6/13/95.]

The "c|net central" website that I mentioned last week, , had 26K subscribers register in the first 12 days. Their Digital Dispatch newsletter claims 65K subscribers for the 13th issue. Having a high-tech TV show, a web site, and a newsletter to advertise each other is certainly a help. This week's show and WWW pages will list online gambling sites that will accept your credit card number. . For advice about online investing, see . [ or , 7/6/95. Bill Park.]

America Online (AOL) now has 3 million subscribers, making it the largest commercial online service. Two years ago it had only 300K. [WEBster, 7/11/95.] (A continuing complaint on the net is that AOL makes it easy to join but difficult to unsubscribe. Another frequent view is that AOL is fine for beginners, but CompuServe has more business-oriented content and an Internet connection is better for Web browsing and file access. Still, all that money pouring in gives AOL a chance to be a major "user interface provider." And services will grow where they find the largest paying audience.)