Governance of anonymous financial services

Steve Schear s.schear at
Thu Mar 29 15:30:09 EDT 2007

Here is the situation.  An on-line financial service, for example a DBC 
(Digital Bearer Certificate), operator wishes his meat space identity, 
physical whereabouts, the transaction servers and at least some of the 
location(s) of the service's asset backing to remain secret.  The service 
provides frequent, maybe even real-time, data on its asset backing versus 
currency in circulation. The operator wishes to provide some assurance to 
his clients that the backing and the amount of currency in circulation are 
in close agreement.  The mint's backing need not be in a single location 
nor in the sole possession of the operator.

I realize this is a governance question but I suspect that crypto/data 
security may play a key role.

Some questions:
If independent auditors are used do they need to know the operator's 

What aspects of good governance can be brought to bear on this situation so 
that the operator's interests are more aligned with its clients?

Has anyone explored this from a math-crypto view?

If the backing is distributed among a multitude of holders (e.g., in a 
fashion similar to how Lloyds backs their insurance empire), who's 
identities are kept secret until audit time and then only a few, randomly 
selected, names and claimed deposit amounts are revealed to the auditors, 
might this statistical sampling and the totals projected from the results 
be a reasonable replacement for 'full asset' audit?  To protect the 
identities of the holders could a complete list of the hashes of each name 
and claimed deposit be revealed to the auditors, who then select M of N 
hashes whereupon the operator reveals only those identities and claimed 
deposits work cryptographically?


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