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Re: [Taler] age-restriction is about coins, not currencies

From: Jacob Bachmeyer
Subject: Re: [Taler] age-restriction is about coins, not currencies
Date: Wed, 08 Sep 2021 17:28:40 -0500
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Schanzenbach, Martin wrote:
On 8. Sep 2021, at 03:21, Jacob Bachmeyer <jcb62281@gmail.com> wrote:

Schanzenbach, Martin wrote:
I think use cases such as "soft binding" of pocket change to certain 
products/services could still make sense.
Eg. 10% for candy, 20% for games etc.
Even that would be quite difficult to consolidate properly for businesses.
This type of "budgeting aid" could be implemented entirely client-side and 
transparently with respect to the Taler protocols.  Users configure their wallets to set 
certain amounts aside for certain categories and indicate the category to associate with 
each transaction.  The wallet rejects the transaction (and offers access to revise the 
user's budget to permit the transaction) if the funds allotted to that category would be 
insufficient within the user's budget.

No other entity need even be able to see the user's categories or budget outline; the 
"restriction" is entirely in the user's wallet and can be effectively overridden if the 
user so chooses.  Businesses would receive only the standard tokens, with no indication that token 
X was budgeted for use with them.  The "soft binding" use case is entirely client-side, 
requiring only some additional metadata to preserve the budgeting information when synchronizing 

I think I would agree with you. I did not put time into finding those examples, 
I just wanted to illustrate a use case which is not as highly regulated as age 
The problem with age restriction is that it will happen if you agree with it or 
not, because it is regulated. So if the Taler technology does not support it, 
merchants will have to implement it in another way.
As a user, you will not be able to "opt out" just because Taler does not 
support this feature for its transactions, and merchants (this is my assumption) will not 
be fully compliant by relying on the proposed incarnation of the feature.
Mostly because the restricted goods and the legal age for them are defined by 
the state and its laws.
If you advocate from the perspective of a libertarian society, I fully agree 
with you that this feature is unnecessary and if at all should be implemented 

My perspective on this is that age restrictions are *already* implemented by other means and we should not add a feature (seeking to provide a better means to implement the existing rules) that could be easily abused to impose *other* restrictions that may not currently be practical. In other words, merchants already handle age restrictions and, while provably anonymous age verification would be itself a good thing, we should recognize the potential abuses to which such a tool could be put and we should not *assist* states in making more restrictions.

The "budgeting aid" is a separate case. The key difference between "soft binding" for helping the user keep to a budget and age restrictions is that "soft binding" is purely a private matter while age-restricted tokens are an attempt to conform to public regulations with (1) no guarantee that regulatory authorities will deem it acceptable and sufficient and (2) no guarantee that regulatory authorities will not demand that same infrastructure be put to far less ethical uses. Our only choice here is the choice of whether or not we build that infrastructure; once it is built we will not be able to control how it is used.

-- Jacob

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