Electronic cheques



Cheque Google
Originally uploaded by José Manuel_

Sometimes there are technologies that you know have been invented but that for some reason never make it although you think they would be very popular.

One such example is electronic cheques.

Using standard cryptographic software, it should be easy enough to create a system that would allow Alice to create an electronic cheque and email it to Bob, who would then forward it to his bank which would use the information contained in it to initiate an electronic money transfer from Alice’s bank account to Bob’s account.

I even believe a Danish company wrote some software that did exactly this ten years ago, but I’ve never seen it used in real life.

Perhaps the reader would argue that electronic bank transfers are easy, so there is no need, but it means that Alice needs to request Bob’s account details, which is a hassle and a potential security hazard.

With electronic cheques, Alice wouldn’t need to know this. She might need Bob’s public key, but that could be in a public location without any risk to Bob, and Bob could choose himself which of his bank accounts the money should be paid to.

It looks like a no-brainer to me. Am I missing something?

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