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digital cash
Last modified: Sunday, September 01, 1996 

A system that allows a person to pay for goods or services by transmitting a number from one computer to another. Like the serial numbers on real dollar bills, the digital cash numbers are unique. Each one is issued by a bank and represents a specified sum of real money. One of the key features of digital cash is that, like real cash, it is anonymous and reusable. That is, when a digital cash amount is sent from a buyer to a vendor, there is no way to obtain information about the buyer. This is one of the key differences between digital cash and credit card systems. Another key difference is that a digital cash certificate can be reused.

Digital cash transactions are expected to become commonplace by the year 2000. However, there a number of competing protocols, and it is unclear which ones will become dominant. Most digital cash systems start with a participating bank that issues cash numbers or other unique identifiers that carry a given value, such as five dollars. To obtain such a certificate, you must have an account at the bank; when you purchase digital cash certificates, the money is withdrawn from your account. You transfer the certificate to the vendor to pay for a product or service, and the vendor deposits the cash number in any participating bank or retransmits it to another vendor. For large purchases, the vendor can check the validity of a cash number by contacting the issuing bank.

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For internet.com pages about digital cash . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

FAQ on digital cash
A brief, but informative FAQ about digital cash.

Network payment mechanisms and digital cash
This site has various articles and sources of information related to digital cash, as well as links to other sites.

Yahoo!'s digital money companies page
Yahoo!'s directory of digital money companies.

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related categories

Electronic Commerce

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