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The Almighty Buck Patents

ATM For Anonymous Online Payments 254

Posted by simoniker
from the hopefully-no-camera-mounted-in-atm dept.
prichardson writes "The New York Times has an article about a way to anonymously transfer cash online (NYT registration required)." The inventor, Carl Amos, believes the target market for his newly-patented 'Aunty IM' ATM machine "..might be teenagers.. [who] do not usually have their own credit cards, they usually have cash and are more than willing to spend it to download music or games", as well as "those who were worried about identity theft on the Internet, or who simply wanted the privacy it provided."
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ATM For Anonymous Online Payments

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  • google linkage (Score:4, Informative)

    by Neophytus (642863) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:32PM (#6494268)
    heh. No reg required ;) [nytimes.com]
  • Yay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by B3ryllium (571199) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:35PM (#6494293) Homepage
    Now we can secretly fund the legal defense of mp3ers and linux users ...

    Power to the people! Vivé la transaction!
  • Perfect. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dildatron (611498) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:37PM (#6494312)
    This would be perfect for when you want to buy something without being tracked... but there is still a trail. You could use one of these machines, but if the feds got involved, they could probaqbly find you (from the camera, etc). It would leave some sort of a trail. Still, not bad for buying that fake vagina you always wanted.
    • Anonymity (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vegan Pagan (251984)
      if the feds got involved, they could probaqbly find you (from the camera, etc).

      What's the penalty for wearing a mask in front of the camera?
  • How can I pay you? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arslan ibn Da'ud (636514) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:38PM (#6494318) Homepage
    So how would I go about paying someone online? Today I could use
    a credit card or Paypal at someone's web site...how could this be
    done from an ATM? (No, I'm not gonna try to punch in the recipient's
    URL!)

    That's a rather critical detail not mentioned in the article.
    • by dildatron (611498) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:42PM (#6494365)
      It could issue a "temporary credit card" - maybe it could spit out a tempporary card with the number on it, etc, that had the balance of the cash you put in. Basically an anonymous, pre-paid credit card

      . You could then use that number like any other card (visa/mastercard/etc). Jsut a thought. The article didn't really specify.
      • by Jac_no_k (5957) * <jsuzuki@spamcop.net> on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:13PM (#6494584) Homepage Journal

        Doesn't American Express have something like this? It's called Private Payments [americanexpress.com]. It gives you a unique number that's lets you obscure your identity.

        Now there's probably a market for teenagers and such. But I'm thinking pre-paid cards will take care of that...

        • by ptbarnett (159784)
          It gives you a unique number that's lets you obscure your identity.

          No, Private Payments simply gives you a temporary American Express card number that expires at the end of the month in which it was issued.

          The charge is still posted under your name and all the usual billing information is required. The amount is debited from your existing account.

          The idea is that you give an on-line merchant a "throw-away" credit card number, without potentially compromising your primary credit card number. It cann

          • by jaydeekay (96431)
            Not really since they are one-time use numbers. So as long as the merchant uses it for the item/service you intended to buy, you're all set.

            Also, it is nice because you can give them the number (as a deposit for example) and then revoke it - though this may be fraud, so use at your own risk :)
      • Yeah, but MasterCard is already doing this -- selling debit mastercards that work like gift certificates. He wouldn't get the patent if that was it. No, I bet it depenses some sort of cryptographic string which is impossible to generate meaningfully, but which will unlock the cash purchase.

        MMM
    • Presumably, it will provide something like the disposable calling cards.
    • "So how would I go about paying someone online? Today I could use a credit card or Paypal at someone's web site.."

      You do it by publishing your P.O.Box on a website, freenet, invisiblog, or whatever. People can then pay you anonymously by posting cash.

      This gives plenty of options, such as "use this to enable username x" or "to support blog y" or "for general use on project z". It allows you to pay for services such as email accounts, web proxies, etc. without having to trust some online e-tailer who almos
    • I could be mistaken, but to pay by PayPal I believe that you just need the email of the person or business entity you want to send money to -- assuming they have a PayPal account.

      It seems this device simply needs to collect the cash and credit the desired PayPal account with the cash collected. Therefore, with an email address and a transaction id as a comment, this device can convert PayPal into a cash transaction. Not too much punching in of information considering the convenience.
    • by E_elven (600520)
      Dear lord, reading these replies. 'It dispenses a disposable credit card for you.' Morons.

      He's trying to sell it to banks. Ergo, the routing can take many shapes -an easy solution will be a virtual credit card number granted by that bank. Other solutions may well work on existing systems, but something using Visa and MasterCard networks is the most likely option (since they're not slow as hell like wire transfers.)

      As to why this is necessary? Because not everyone has a credit card. Because not everyon
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:38PM (#6494321) Homepage Journal
    'nuff said
    • IANAMobster but I don't think the idea of money laundering is to hand it to a bank. If the bills are being tracked, the bank/treasury will pick it up. Don't forget, one end of the transaction is traceable.
      • The most common way of laundering money is to create a shell business and over-report sales.

        In other words...

        1. Set up sham software business.
        2. Buy licences from yourself.
        3. PROFIT!
      • Money laundering doesn't mean turning counterfeit money into real money, it means turning money earned through illegal activities into "legitimate" income. Like say you make money though selling millions of dollars worth of cocaine, you have to somehow hide the source of that income. You turn dirty money into clean money, thus the laundering part of money laundering.

        This system is simply a way of transfering cash online. I don't see how this would be usefull for money laundering.
        • you don't see how this would be useful?

          Step #1: Earn $100,000 selling cocaine.

          Step #2: Make 100 anonymous $1,000 purchases to "friends"

          Step #3: "Friends" make legitamate purchases from you on Ebay.

          thus your money is laundered (provided you pay income tax on your ebay sales.)
          • you don't see how this would be useful?

            Step #1: Earn $100,000 selling cocaine.

            Step #2: Make 100 anonymous $1,000 purchases to "friends"

            Step #3: "Friends" make legitamate purchases from you on Ebay.

            You forgot Step #1a: Spend all day standing at a machine feeding in five thousand $20 bills.

            No, some of your drug customers might conceivably pay with this system -- just like they now pay with cash -- but you'd still have to funnel the accumulated funds through the accounts of legitimate-looking busin

          • And how is this different than how money laundering is done now with fake businesses? Currency is anonymous too, even more so than an ATM machine which has cameras on it.
            • It's not any different at all. Problem is, many of these fake storefronts are so obviously fake that they attract attention just by existing. I've been in jewelry stores that have an inventory of a few hundred dollars. This is one of the reasons strip clubs have family ties, it's an efficient way to clean the cash. Problem is, then you actually have to run the business.

              Of course, there's a few side benefits....
          • > Step #1: Earn $100,000 selling cocaine.
            > Step #2: Make 100 anonymous $1,000 purchases to "friends"
            > Step #3: "Friends" make legitamate purchases from you on Ebay.
            > thus your money is laundered (provided you pay income tax on your ebay sales.)

            If you pay income tax on your coc^H^H^HeBay sales, so much the better for the IRS. If we can't legalize it, the least we can do is tax it to fund the costs of not legalizing it :)

            Seriously, I can't imagine Joe Mobster using this as a means of laun

        • by L. VeGas (580015) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:17PM (#6494604) Homepage Journal
          OK, I'll show a very concrete way this could be done. Create an online business that sells access to content, like porn. Or perhaps you could have an online casino. Or software. Anything.

          Now typically you would have records of credit card transactions, that could be traced back to the card's owner. With this system, you would have records of transactions that cannot be traced to anyone.

          You could then simply pump a buttload of cash into the system and report legitimate profits.
          • Now typically you would have records of credit card transactions, that could be traced back to the card's owner. With this system, you would have records of transactions that cannot be traced to anyone.

            What a great idea!

            In fact, let's take it a step further. Eliminate the possibility of being seen shoveling cash into the ATM at night (and the embarassing questions by law enforcement that invariably follow), and just write a bunch of fake receipts for your:

            • restaurant |
            • cleaners |
            • Linux distro company
            • Suppose your records show your sold twice as many meals for the amount of food you bought as any other restaurant. Or cleaned twice as many clothes for the amount of cleaning material used as any other cleaner.

              Has to be data, content, not anything material. Even then, a simple trace would show how much was actually transferred in the period you claimed.
          • The first two examples you mentioned would be prime targets for investigators on the lookout for laundering and other illegal activities. Even with a more inocuous facade I think you might stand out like sore thumb if you received too much cash thru this system.

    • probably so, but you could cap the limit to 50 bucks or something. enough for the kids to download their music from iTunes w/o a great risk for $$ laundering. at least not too big of a risk.

      just my 0.02c i'll pay you anonymously :)
    • 'nuff said

      I dunno... trying to stick a million dollars' worth of bills (even hundreds) into one of these machines would take an awfully long time. And that assumes that they even take large bills - have you ever seen a vending machine which takes hundreds, or even fifties? More than likely, these ATMs will only be useful for relatively small transactions.
      • have you ever seen a vending machine which takes hundreds?

        Every day. Come to Vegas, baby.

        I admit, I'm talking out my ass, but money-laundering doesn't typically handle a million bucks per whack. A few thousand, or even 20 - 50 grand maybe.

        Millions are the very rare exception, not the rule.
    • Hmm... I'm trying to see a downside here. ;)

  • Too Much Freedom? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 2starr (202647)
    Ok, I'm normally a big proponent of identity freedom on the internet, but I'm having a little trouble justifying this one. I think you need to be able to trace the money trail. I just think there are too many bad uses to justify the few good ones.

    Arguments?

    • by Lord Kholdan (670731) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:42PM (#6494364)
      Ok, I'm normally a big proponent of identity freedom on the internet, but I'm having a little trouble justifying this one. I think you need to be able to trace the money trail. I just think there are too many bad uses to justify the few good ones.

      How about the fact that it's no different from cash?
      • by 2starr (202647)
        Well, no, that's not true. Sure, I can hand cash to someone annoymously but I can't (easily) send cash to someone in -say- Afghanistan. I'm sure it's possible, but you'd really have to work at it.
        • Well, no, that's not true. Sure, I can hand cash to someone annoymously but I can't (easily) send cash to someone in -say- Afghanistan. I'm sure it's possible, but you'd really have to work at it.

          Physical Mail?
        • Well, no, that's not true. Sure, I can hand cash to someone anonymously but I can't (easily) send cash to someone in -say- Afghanistan. I'm sure it's possible, but you'd really have to work at it.

          Just stick it in a bloody envelope! My god people are so uncreative these days. (Sure, you risk losing it, but the risk isn't that great. You could also break up the cash into several letters to diffuse the risk of loss)
        • And I can't imagine it'll easy for someone in, say, Afghanistan, to retreive cash from this service if it's based in the US. It'll be heavily regulated. So as far as that goes, it'd be better than paypal.
      • Cash sales generally happen in person. The main abuse I see with this system is black market money being moved around without a trail, but this isn't a whole lot different than Western Union.
        • Cash sales generally happen in person. The main abuse I see with this system is black market money being moved around without a trail, but this isn't a whole lot different than Western Union.

          Serial numbers, OCR, easy to track. Along with cameras mounted in the ATM you lose more privacy by using this system than the US Postal service.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      I think you need to be able to trace the money trail.

      So you believe in no privacy at all? You believe that nobody should ever be allowed to pay cash at stores? If I go to a store and pay cash, where is the money trail?

      there are too many bad uses to justify the few good ones.

      Please name a few bad uses... The money isn't really anonymous, law enforcement can still trace your payment to a source and destination. I would assume that this guy will be smart and require the companies recieving the money to

    • Re:Too Much Freedom? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Knife_Edge (582068) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:05PM (#6494537)
      There is a money transfer system called hawala that allows two people in different locations with a means of communication, who trust each other absolutely, to transfer money without the aid of the banking system. Lots of people use it to send money from America to the the Far East - mostly because it is cheaper than Western Union, etc. However, I understand it is being cracked down on because terrorists were using it to move funds around. Still, it will be difficult to shut down completely since it only takes two people and a means of communication to operate. Most of the people who use this system today do so because there is no reasonable alternative (financial system is not good in their area), not because they are terrorists.

      I have read that organized crime transfers money from country to country by wiring small amounts (under the amount that must be reported) constantly. Even though there is a paper trail of sorts, it is very hard to sort through. But again, most of the people who wire money are not organized criminals. Should we stop this practice because some of the people are?

      Means of moving illegal money secretively already exist. I think the idea with this system is it could allow people to make online purchases, even if they are from an area of the world that does not have the financial systems and identification systems that we take for granted in the West. I am inclined to think the net effect of this would be good. Many people do not have any sort of identification or formal bank account (as required for a service like paypal, which is apparently unavailable in much of the world), but if they could get to a kiosk with some cash, they might be able to order something - provided someone was willing to ship it to them. This could be a big improvement in the lives of many people. It could also help economic growth, facilitating transactions at greater distances and of greater complexity than was possible before.

      Should we not build any infrastructure because criminals could use it? Criminals can drive on the roads, too, but that does not mean we stop building them. We police them. This system would have to be policed.
  • The market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:39PM (#6494332) Journal
    PayPal wont accept payment for "adult" related eBusiness now (ie; pornos).

    Whoever steps in to fill that gap make a friggin mint. The frontrunner seems to be CitiBank's C2It, though I know nothing of such services.
  • Great!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by DogIsMyCoprocessor (642655) <dogismycoprocess ... m ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:40PM (#6494344) Homepage
    This will allow me to assist my Nigerian friend, Joseph Mbuto, in his attempt to free the $21 million dollar account his uncle once controlled.
  • What can it do? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kotukunui (410332) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:40PM (#6494345)
    If you pay cash for your (legitimate?) music/movie/pr0n download, does the machine have a CD/DVD burner and a disc pops out, or does it have to re-direct the download stream to an e-mail account (thereby identifying the user, damn!).

    Some more details on capability would be cool. Google here I come.
  • by isotope23 (210590) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:40PM (#6494346) Homepage Journal
    I can see the US government blowing a gasket
    about quick and easy anonymous money transfer...

    • by zoloto (586738) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:03PM (#6494524)
      correct. and once some dumb criminal discovers he can use it to buy a gun (insert 1,000 $, get the card with amount on it, give to gun seller then go bang-bang) and then uses that gun to say... kill a high political figure (no insinuations there!!!) or popular person etc. BAM! instant ban or regulation.

      it's nice but this, I fear, will go the way of big hair and mullets... unless you live in the south.
      • by Xerithane (13482) <xerithane AT nerdfarm DOT org> on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:08PM (#6494554) Homepage Journal
        correct. and once some dumb criminal discovers he can use it to buy a gun (insert 1,000 $, get the card with amount on it, give to gun seller then go bang-bang) and then uses that gun to say... kill a high political figure (no insinuations there!!!) or popular person etc. BAM! instant ban or regulation.


        Yes, and since you have the anonymous purchase card you don't have to register the gun or go through the other processes. "Here's my anonymous cash card!" "Right, here's your pistol and ammo." You do know that you have to register to buy a gun, right? You also know you can buy a gun with cash, right?

        Anybody who accepts these cards will accept cash, and you have no benefit over them. For some reason I doubt that most private gun sellers will offer support for these cards.
      • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

        by autopr0n (534291)
        Why not just use the $1000 to buy the gun? What's the point of buying the card?
      • once some dumb criminal discovers he can use it to buy a gun (insert 1,000 $, get the card with amount on it, give to gun seller then go bang-bang) and then uses that gun to say... kill a high political figure (no insinuations there!!!) or popular person etc. BAM! instant ban or regulation.


        But of the money-transfer device, obviously, not guns.

  • by Khomar (529552) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:41PM (#6494349) Journal
    From the article: "N the 1997" N?! Now even the New York Times is slipping into Net-speak. *sigh* My old high school English teachers must be in agony. So much for the American education system....
  • by TokyoJimu (21045) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:42PM (#6494358) Homepage
    Sorry to disappoint Mr. Amos, but for at least the past twenty years, you have been able to make anonymous cash payments at any bank ATM in Japan.

    You just key in the bank name and account number to transfer to, insert the cash, and it's on its way. The ATM will even make change for you.
  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:42PM (#6494369)
    The New York Times has an article about a way to anonymously transfer cash online (NYT registration required)

    Why to I find this sentence funny ?

    So, finally banking can be anonymous (yeah right, in your wildest dreams [whitehouse.gov], but we still need to register with NYT?
    No wait, you can't do do banking with a hotmail account ...
  • by alen (225700) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:43PM (#6494377)
    How does it perform identification to verify that the person picking up the money is the person you paid. I don't really see this serving any use since there already is a cash transfer system. It's called postal money orders.
  • Already been done. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:43PM (#6494381)
    Good ol' R, S , and A made quite a while back a system to digitize money into extremly long numbers to represent money. Each number would be encoded the bill amount alone. They also proved it would be untrackable and unbreakable.

    They also made into the system a way of determining real-time if any "bill" was being used more than once.

    Wow. Anonymous atm. It's a real shocker if it hasnt already be theorized up to the top.

    boring.
  • Its already big pain in the ass (for an American)to get some money online to bet on a football game.

    The way they crack down on the gambling industry, you can bet they'd scream "terrorism" and "drugs" and all the other things they have wars on.

    Not to mention the Tax Evasion uses, and we all know that taxes are #1 when it comes to the governments concern.
    • If this thing works over telecommunications circuits then it's illegal to use it for gambling. The law is decades old and not something that was made up for the internet.
  • sounds good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alienhazard (660628) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:44PM (#6494387)
    This sounds like a very good idea to me. Being one of those teens that has money, Its a pain to buy stuff online through my parents. Although I could also see this being used for bad, i.e. kids anonymously buying pr0n, alchohol, or other illegal/immoral things.
  • The sticker on the ATM that says "please ignore the camera". Oh and the finger prints you're leaving on the keypad.
  • by PincheGab (640283) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:46PM (#6494408)
    This sounds fine in principle, but the state banking authorities all over the USA are clamping down on "anonymous" funds transfers rather ferociously, specially after Sept 11.

    This is not hearsay or speculation, I work in the financial services industry, and I can tell you that the financial laws are going the other way - less anonymity and higher identification requirements for money wires.

    In other words, this guy will have to keep transactions down a ridiculously low upper limit to avoid ID requirements.

    I have seen people wiring money for very fraudulent puposes, so I don't really share people's feelings that wiring money should be anonymous.

    As for this guy's plans to use the technolgy abroad, he should take into consideration that the USA is requiring other countries to follow USA-like laws and he might have the same issue abroad.

    Again, this is from first-hand experience, not hearsay.

    • The article said that he is marketing this to kids buying junk on ebay I guess. But all the kids that bought DVD's from me paid me by money order if they didn't have a credit card. What use is this invention going to have? You need some form of identification to make sure that the right person gets the money.
      • Re:Useless invention (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        He has your info sure, and essentially just deposits cash straight into your account. The customer needs no bank account, credit card, PayPal account, etc.

        He just goes to the local box and sticks 20 bucks cash money into a slot, which electronically credits you. He is somewhat anonymous, paying cash (of course, you are shipping to him), you are not.

        People are hyping the word "anonymous" erroneosly here.
      • Just to nitpick (;)) eBay has a no under-18 policy. I've been buying stuff online sice I was 11 w/ my debit card, but still can't use eBay.
    • please explain the fraudulent purposes

  • I run a couple websites and a large portion of my user base is kids in the range of 14-17. Collecting cash from them has always been a problem. Some would opt to send in cash, but this has problems as well. I can see this becoming very popular if it gets implemented well.
  • Obviously this system is not perfect, but as a teenager who has a good deal of cash but no credit card, and doesn't like to go to his parents to buy stuff online, I think I would definitely use this if I thought it was safe. I am security-minded, but the main reason I would use this is convenience, not privacy. However, rather than buying music and games online, like the article suggested, I would probably use it to buy real merchandise (band shirts, etc)
  • by fehlschlag (543974) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:51PM (#6494447)
    Although I really support the idea of being anonymous for protective purposes, I don't quite understand how this product helps very much.

    Sure, you don't have the logs of cash coming out of your account (credit, savings, etc), but there is cash being sent somewhere, and that somewhere has to be well-defined for the cash to get there.
    Also, the product, assuming something is bought, has to go somewhere, again a well-defined location, even if it is a mail-drop.

    AFAIK, all wired money transactions are logged in some fashion, and for this to be approved by the government, it would have to be as well. I still don't see how super-beneficial this gimmick might be.
    • Anonymity is something this product fails badly at, so that isn't it's main use.

      Think of this as a machine that spits out a "prepaid" credit card on the spot. Somebody who doesn't qualify for a credit card can stick money in, and then get a card number that's valid for online transactions... finally a way for little Jimmy to spend his allowance money at Amazon.com without having to bother his parents.
  • by fredistheking (464407) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:54PM (#6494468)
    I had my account number stolen after buying computer equipment from small online stores (pricewatch). After having to change my account number I started using disposable credit card numbers from American Express [americanexpress.com]. These numbers can only be used once and expire at the end of the month. Also, if someone were able to crack the Amex system, at least I will be notified. I was not so lucky before. If you are really paranoid, I imagine that you can call and get these numbers over the phone as well.

  • Not in all countries is easy to get an international credit card that can be used to pay things online. There are requeriments like age, minimum of transactions or salary, maybe not previus debts, and things like that.

    Something that enables to pay directly with cash, no risks involved (like the fear of many of using their credit card number online) and really for everyone (well, with the cash and with that kind of ATMs near :) could do a real boom for online payments (at least, for the things that don't h

  • by FsG (648587) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:12PM (#6494579)
    1. Click on URL, you're redirected to registration/login page
    2. Go to URL bar, replace "www" with "archive" in the URL, leaving the rest alone, and hit ENTER
    3. The system will bounce you around a few erroneous URLs, before returning you to the homepage
    4. All NYT links will now work without registration, thanks to a special cookie set by the bouncing process
  • As soon as his patents on his excellent e-cash protocols expire we can get down to business.

  • No way in Hell (Score:2, Insightful)

    by felonious (636719)
    With all of the anti-terrorism tasks in effect there is no way this will happen and/or last simply because it's an anonymous way to move funds. This goes directly against laws being implemented to stop all forms of money laundering, transfering funds with maximum anonimity, and fake store fronts of which to move the money through.

    There's so much more to this but the only way this idea would make it is for it to not be anon but that defeats the purpose right?
  • Suuuuuuure... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Duncan3 (10537)
    Getting a debit card and a checking account is trivial and legal for any 6yr old. That's NOT the target market.

    But it's primary use will be for drug dealers to launder money. For married men(and women) to pay for hookers and strippers. For people to turn petty cash into petty lap dance...

    Big market for those things tho ...
  • by forgetmenot (467513) <atsjewell@NoSpaM.onebox.com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:38PM (#6494733) Homepage
    The slashdot blurb talks about anonymous payments... Lots of comments in this thread talk about anonymous payments whether how it would work or whether the gov't would cry foul, etc...

    A search on the article itself does NOT have the word "anonymous" anywhere in it.

    So... given that the article is very short on implementation details, how does one come to the conclusion there is anything anonymous about it? Because no credit card is involved? Not saying it isn't... but it just seems there's a big jump to conclusions.. unless I'm blind.
  • I think a good way for them to implement this would be to allows customers the ability to print out a "Bill", It would have some number on it tying it to the person's purchase. The "Bill" could then be paid at an ATM machine just like many other bills such as utility bills are. After probably a day or two of processing time, when the seller gets confirmation of payment of the bill, the product could be shipped. This may not be as anonymous as other means, but only uses existing infrastructure to process
  • ...drug dealers.
    (or money launderers)
    [or hot items]
  • by hey (83763)
    Gosh, everyone is so negative on this.
    Well... I like the idea of anonymous cash transfers.
  • illegal (Score:5, Informative)

    by austad (22163) on Monday July 21, 2003 @08:18PM (#6495334) Homepage
    Unfortunately, this is illegal. I work for one of the companies listed in the article.

    It's against the law. The feds say that all ATM transactions must have positive ID of the cardholder (PIN number, driver's license swipe, etc) As far as electronic money transfers go, there has to be some positive identification on the person sending the money, but curiously from what I can find, not on the person receiving it.

    Nice idea, just not legal here in the US.
  • by alizard (107678) <alizard&ecis,com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @08:56PM (#6495567) Homepage
    This requires that ATMs be retrofitted or custom-built to handle inputs of cash, and that banks be willing to handle cash transfers from individuals to individuals and be willing to accept a far lower ATM reliability level and increased service/maintenance costs at the same time. (i.e. if the cash ID/counting machinery is down, so's the machine)

    The potential profits are too low for the risks involved. Also, there are already ATMs that have been retrofitted to accept cash for the purpose of paying bills for defined (telco, utility) customers. Ever see one?

    There are cheaper and more cost-effective ways to do this than via ATM, I filed a provisional patent app for one years ago.

  • by writermike (57327) on Monday July 21, 2003 @11:21PM (#6496381)
    "The New York Times has an article about a way to anonymously transfer cash online (NYT registration required)."

    You mean I actually have to register with the NYT to anonymously transfer cash online?!

    WHEN. WILL. IT. STOP?!

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