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As of Friday 17 November 1995 everything on these pages is free, Free, FREE! Actually, given the state of things with the migration of the beta trial to realware, things may never actually go back to costing token amounts. (See the Ancient (Web) History page for details. The failed purchase is worth a glance too.)

Welcome to the Digital Jungle EShop. Using ECash you can purchase the data and consulting services that fill our "Eshop shelves". Enjoy your visit.

ecash What is ECash?

ecash How go I get my ECash software?

ecash Doesn't information want to be free?

ecash About the Digital Jungle EShop

ecash Browse the "EShop shelves"

ecash Our complaint department

ecash ECash software usage hints, tips, warnings.

ecash Small print

What is ECash?

ECash is the digital analogue to physical coins. It has the same properties as does the legal tender to which you're used: you can't spend one coin twice, the coin has no memory of who owned it or what it was used to purchase, and it's difficult to forge.

ECash was first described in a Scientific American article written by Dr David Chaum in 1983. The company he founded, Digicash B.V. of Amsterdam, implemented his ideas in software and then conducted the "ECash Trial", an experiment with E$1,000,000. Users of the Internet were able to purchase data with free digital money.

Deployment wins. -- Philip Zimmermann

The ECash Trial was ended when, in November 1995, the Mark Twain Bank of St. Louis became the first to offer a large-scale gateway between ECash and legal tender. (A small-scale Cypherpunk ECash commodities market did so earlier.) ECash is now legal tender, the digital manifestation of monies deposited at Mark Twain Bank, convertible to any of 25 world currencies. It's now possible for you to purchase information and consulting services from any EShop on the World Wide Web.

How go I get my ECash software?

It's a three-step process. First you must visit the Mark Twain Bank web pages to obtain the applications form and instructions for opening a new account. Fill out the form and arrange to have some funds deposited at the bank (via mailed cheque or wire transfer). The bank will mail you an account name, password, and a URL where you may obtain the client software. (If you need help with any step of this process, please send email to Mark Twain Bank's ECash Support team.

Then you're able to purchase things with ECash.

Doesn't information want to be free?

That's a tough one.

Richard M. Stallman, of the Free Software Foundation, many years ago suggested that it was wrong to charge for software or standards, but that related consulting services (such as installing and customizing the software, or training staff in its use) was the way to go. (RMS enjoyed a paying job at MIT which allowed him to create "free" software; MIT paid for its development (and RMS's rent) and then allowed their employee to give away some of the fruits of his labor).

I'm trying to make a living in the high-technology industry without daily seeing the same four walls. I write books and articles and get royalties. I write web pages for clients and consulting work (evaluation, purchase, installation, networking, troubleshooting, administration, staff and end-user training) for clients around the planet and charge an hourly fee. I alpha- and beta-test software and hardware, write reports and reviews, explore and evangelize outstanding new technologies.

I don't make a living from these web pages, but I do want to explore the dynamics of on-line finance. I don't expect your purchases of my inexpensive (but high-quality) data to even cover the monthly fee I'm charged by the bank. (You, by the way, will sooner or later have to get one of the ECash accounts that will be offered by bank just as you now need a checking account. I'm trying to set a precedent for reasonable retail, rather than some sort of goofy price-gouging that does nobody any good.

It takes many hours of on-going work to research, gather, compile, fact-check, and format the data you see for sale. I charge less for each item than I pay for a daily or Sunday newspaper, which I read in an hour and then lay aside to recycle. None of the data here are exclusive; you can do the same legwork as I do each week (or month, depending upon the data).

I would prefer that you join the experiment; help us see if a market exists for real "information workers" (not the poor bastards they chain to a data entry terminal for eight or more hours per day). If you are under-age, and may not have your own bank account, or if you are in a country or location so far removed from the usual flow of mail and commerce, let me know. You'll get what you need.

The rest of you, thank you very much for giving us a chance. You - or your children - may enjoy a change in careers because of what you spend here this day.

About the Digital Jungle EShop

As mentioned above, the Digital Jungle EShop isn't a world-spanning money-generating operation. It's a small shop founded on the hopes of making telecommuting and other remote computer work feasable. Most of the data I compile are quickly moved onto my web pages, available to all. Only a few items will go onto the "EShop shelves". Please, look around, join the ECash wave, and make things happen.

Browse our shelves

The EShop reflects my interests and skills. As the shelves get stocked you'll find data relating to computers, ham radios, how-to documents of all sorts, eventually photographs and sounds, and - of course - some of the different contracting services I offer over the net. Items will be added from time to time; notice thereof will be put on my What's New page and on the "EShop shelves".

The complaint department

complain to me

I try my very best to make sure that the information you'll find here is of the highest quality; tasty, accurate, and screaming for heavy-duty use. We go out and pick it ourselves, early in the morning, and rush it back to the digitizer to have it arrive fresh and crispy at your computer. Hundreds of satisfied customers have enjoyed their data and services purchased here and have come back for more.

In the unlikely event you're unsatisfied with a purchase, please be sure and let us know. We've undergone a lengthy interview process to staff our complaint department with the most enthusiastic co-dependents available in Silicon Valley: they're not happy if you're not.

Our Manager of Customer Services (pictured here) will handle your message personally. (I wouldn't worry about the long knife, he seems to be smiling.)

ECash software usage hints, tips, warnings

You're no help(er app): In order to make a purchase you must have the ECash client software running before you click on a "buy" link. The software is not a helper application for your web browser, and so it won't be automatically started for you. I have heard that Digicash is thinking about making the client a helper app as time permits.

AOL behind the times: On 24 July 1995 I heard that America On-Line (AOL) does not support the ECash client. I'm sorry about that. If you're an AOL subscriber, send a note to Stephen Case, President of AOL, and request that they make this a priority. When Digicash informs me that this has been fixed I'll remove this note. (In the meantime, enjoy Tom Finley's AOL Sux web page.)

Still having problems? Get help from Mark Twain Bank's ECash Support Team.

Small print

That we need disclaimers proves we live in a sick society. While I have tried my utmost to ensure the reliability of the information for sale in the EShop, I disclaim all liability for inconvenience, injury, death, and/or loss of monies or materials caused to your use of what you buy here. Depending upon the actual law (and the enthusiasm of your attorney) I may not be able to weasel out of my responsibilities.

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

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