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Re: [Taler] More questions

From: Christian Grothoff
Subject: Re: [Taler] More questions
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2019 19:53:33 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.4.0

On 2/1/19 1:38 AM, David Kleuker wrote:
> Thanks for your detailed answers so far!
> I'm really enthusiastic about this project.
> It looks very promising to finally solve the problem of microtransactions.
> And be fast, secure and have low fees. Like Bitcoin once was.
> The demo works already pretty smooth except the errors i reported.

Well, one was already fixed by a trivial change, the other one, well,
let's just wait until Florian is back from his Honeymoon ;-).

> When you need funding, you should communicate that.
> Consistent funding is actually one of the biggest problems in the FOSS
> community and i try to find a solution. Your software might be a
> technical solution for money transactions. The communication is another
> problem.

I cannot disagree here, only say that there are only so many hours in a
day and I believe _my_ time is better spent on the development side. But
anyone here is really welcome to help with communication, be it giving
talks or improving the Web site (it's in the www.git).

> I would suggest to create a donation page where you explain why you need
> money and how much. Than provide payment options, ideally SEPA, PayPal,
> Bitcoin and maybe Credit Card. You should ask for recurring donations.
> Keep the people updated about your progress and thank the donators!
> That's all i have for now.

I feel like accepting cryptocurrencies would send a really disassociated
message, even more than PayPal or Credit Cards.  But more importantly,
I've _never_ heard of a free software project raise significant amounts
this way -- but you can waste significant time setting it up! So right
now, we're focusing on either commercial investors (and are preparing an
investor presentation that should be finalized in February),
collaborations with the banking sector, or government grants. I
personally think that is more likely to provide the funding this project
deserves. Besides, I generally rather have volunteers contribute ideas
and concrete work than financial donations.

Oh, and we do have https://taler.net/invest up already for a while, and
got quite a few mails from _small scale_ investors, and so hopefully
we'll be able to combine that with some larger investor(s) into
something that really works.

> After reading the website, mailinglist and watching all the talks, i
> still have some questions.
> What is the status of the project? (short answer)

Working prototype, but without real bank integration or regulatory approval.

> How can i best follow the progress?

This mailinglist.

> When will i be able to use it? (website says 2019, german translation
> 2018, when 1.0 will be the launch version and the one following 0.9,
> it's probably 2020)

If things go really well, 2019. If things go really badly, never ;-).
Also depends on what you mean by "use it". Getting it into all of the
places where you pay every day will be a _huge_ undertaking that'll
likely take a decade.

> Can i send money to another wallet (e.g. to a friend)?

Not yet, in the future, yes.

> Maybe without
> fees on the same exchange. Would it work with different exchanges? (i
> found old answer on ML, whats current status?)

Shared/non-shared exchange won't matter. Fees will apply if you don't
trust your friend, if your friend is your spouse or kid and you know you
can trust them that they _delete_ data from their device (and won't
restore from an old backup), no fees will apply.

> Can a Wallet only use one Exchange or multiple? For one Currency?

Currently, one exchange can only offer one currency. A wallet can use
any number of currencies and exchanges, including many exchanges for the
same currency.

> What happens if an Exchange disappears or get hacked? (you probably
> loose your money)

Taler provides the so-called "emergency" protocol, where an exchange
notifies wallets that it is going out of business, forcing the wallets
to deposit remaining coins automatically back into the owner's bank
account.  We expect regulators to require exchange operators to have
insurance/and or capital reserves to sustain operations (and payouts)
during this shutdown period.  So no, by design you do not loose your
money. In fact, this is also the _only_ Taler operation where the
protocol does not permit the exchange to charge fees.

Summary: exchange gets hacked and closes down => your money ends up
automatically back in your bank account (assuming your wallet goes
online during the shutdown period, which likely will last 6-12 months).

> With how many organizations are you in contact to create exchanges?

3 central banks (so far they always seem to like us, but nobody there
expects to move fast on anything given the conservative environment they
inherently operate in) and one regular bank (see below).

> How many organizations are planning to provide an exchange at launch?

By definition. one: first one to be ready will define launch.

> I sent an e-mail to the GLS bank in germany and asked if they would
> consider creating an exchange.

Actually, GLS bank is already *the* bank that we are talking to. AFAIK
they don't need to be convinced (they said they want to do this with
us), we just need to:
(1) finish integrating Taler with their API (work in progress)
(2) jointly convince BAFIN (German regulator) that we have a sustainable
and compliant business.

> Consider adding the answers to the FAQ.

Patches welcome? ;-)

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