NetCash: The USC Anonymous network payment research prototype

[Papers and Documentation] [Other Systems]

The NetCash research prototype is a framework for electronic currency developed developed by Clifford Neuman and Ari Medvinsky at the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California. NetCash will enable new types of services on the Internet by providing a real-time electronic payment system that satisfies the diverse requirements of service providers and their users. Among the properties of the NetCash framework are: security, anonymity, scalability, acceptability, and interoperability.

NetCash was designed to facilitate anonymous electronic payments over an unsecure network without requiring the use of tamper-proof hardware. NetCash provides secure transactions in an environment where attempts at illegal creation, copying, and reuse of electronic currency are likely. In order to protect the privacy of parties to a transaction, NetCash implements financial instruments that prevent traceability and preserve the anonymity of users.

NetCash and NetCheque: A great combination

When used in combination with NetCheque, service providers and their users are able to select payment mechanisms based on the level of anonymity desired, ranging from non-anonymous and weakly anonymous instruments that are scalable, to unconditionally anonymous instruments that require more resources of the currency server.

NetCash provides scalable electronic currency that is accepted across multiple administrative domains. Currency issued by a currency server is backed by account balances registered with NetCheque to the currency server itself. NetCash currency servers also use the NetCheque system to clear payments across servers, and to convert electronic currency into debits and credits against customer and merchant accounts. Though payments using NetCheque originate from named accounts, with NetCash the account balances are registered in the name of the currency server, and not the end user.

Since the introduction of the NetCash research prototype, there have been several other payment systems that have used the NetCash name. Over time, various of these systems have operated at None of these other systems are affiliated with the NetCash research prototype.