Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 2002)

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Subject: Re: e-postage again
From: Tom Neff <tneff @ grassyhill . net>
Organization: Grassy Hill Entertainment
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 23:28:43 -0400
To: list-managers <list-managers @ greatcircle . com>
In-reply-to: <p0511171fb90e174637ba @ [165 . 227 . 249 . 18]>
References: <p0511171fb90e174637ba @ [165 . 227 . 249 . 18]>
Reply-to: tneff @ grassyhill . org

My point is that when at least some of us make a brief remark pointing to an idea or possibility, it is really not necessarily always the case that we are ignoramuses trying to "rehash" or "reinvent" something that greater, wiser and mightier intellects with fancier book credits have "discussed repeatedly." Many of the discussions in question are no more productive than this one, for one thing; and some of us do read and follow them as interest and time permit. I actually installed and played with hashcash last year, for example, and it did not seem to me to be the model I was looking for, but I am deuced if I am going to stop thinking about the problem just because some fellow Net veteran with a case of smartass ennui wants to jump to conclusions.

What I was going to say about e-postage was this. Most of the existing postage models use it as a labor- or expense-based barrier to denial of service. I am looking for something more like a proof of license to send. An individual email recipient could elect NOT to require valid postage from all or (more powerfully) a limited subset of senders. If they want to see valid postage, though, they can. Postage would hash the sender into the mark, so that a valid stamp could not be passed around. Individual postage, with sender and recipient hashed into the mark, would be available for free via an individual Internet transaction. "Bulk postage," for mailing lists, would only be available via an authenticated Internet transaction, using an account for which a legit bulk sender would have to enroll. Bulk postage would only hash the sender (and maybe the listname) in.

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