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Author Topic: The anonymous dropbox depot  (Read 3833 times)
Cryptoman
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December 23, 2010, 04:26:17 PM
 #1

The problem: Bitcoin allows you to make anonymous or nearly-anonymous payments, but you must reveal your identity if you wish to have physical goods delivered to you in exchange.

Solution: The anonymous dropbox depot.

How it works: XYZ, Inc., an above-board firm, establishes a physical point of presence (depot) in a metropolitan area.  The XYZ facility has a number of lockboxes, each with a digital keypad lock, the combination of which can be changed remotely by the firm's computers.  On the front of each lockbox is a digital display, also remotely reprogrammable, which indicates the box number.  You wish to order an item from NewAmazon, which accepts BTC as payment.  Here is the process:

1. Visit XYZ's website and obtain a unique box number.

2. Place your order on NewAmazon, pay for it with BTC, and specify the shipping address as:
   XYZ, Inc.
   123 Main St.   
   Box 1234 (the number you got from XYZ's website)
   Your city, etc.

3. In a few days, XYZ receives the package from NewAmazon.  They select the correctly-sized lockbox, depending on the size of your package, and email you the cost of receiving the package, based on their previously-disclosed rate schedule.

4. You send XYZ the fee in BTC for receiving your package.  You can also keep BTC on account with XYZ to avoid this step.

5. XYZ places the package in a lockbox and emails you the code.

6. You go to XYZ's depot and look for the box with your number on the digital display.  You enter the combination which was emailed to you and retrieve your package.

7. If you fail to retrieve the package within the agreed-to time period, the lockbox code is automatically changed.  You must now forward XYZ additional BTC to pay for rent of the box.  When you do, a new code is emailed to you.

Thoughts?  A solution in search of a problem?


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ColdHardMetal
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December 23, 2010, 04:37:51 PM
 #2

I like it. It would be pretty seamless from the client's end as well. They pay the BTC, get the box number, wait for the code email and they're off, just like going to a regular PO box really.

You could make it even smoother if NewAmazon operated XYZ themselves, or had a close enough tie with that company. The customer would just place an order to city X. NewAmazon would send them an e-mail telling them the location of the box facility, the box number, and the key code once the package had arrived. That way the buyer doesn't have to do anything but pick what they want to order and ship the money.

I guess you'd want the option to order from many different vendors and not just NewAmazon so maybe that wouldn't be as flexible as is optimal.


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December 23, 2010, 05:10:40 PM
 #3

Nothing a good API couldn't fix ^^
I love the idea  Grin

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Anonymous
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December 23, 2010, 10:20:09 PM
 #4

+1 on the decentralized post office.


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December 23, 2010, 11:03:24 PM
 #5

Then you combine it with the distributed robotic courier network!

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December 23, 2010, 11:51:20 PM
 #6

This can't be legal.

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December 24, 2010, 01:03:55 AM
 #7

There are anonymous safety deposit boxes: http://www.24-7privatevaults.com , why not an anonymous parcel box? Pay cash for a box, no ID required.

Have package shipped to:

John Smith
Anonymous Parcel Box #5000
my city, ST 12345

Wouldn't need all the secret codes.

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December 24, 2010, 01:20:26 AM
 #8

This would instantly be utilized by people with, say, stolen credit card information, and then closely watched by The Party Van. People already do this with, say, vacant houses, usually for illegal purposes.

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ColdHardMetal
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December 24, 2010, 01:46:23 AM
 #9

There are anonymous safety deposit boxes: http://www.24-7privatevaults.com , why not an anonymous parcel box? Pay cash for a box, no ID required.

Have package shipped to:

John Smith
Anonymous Parcel Box #5000
my city, ST 12345

Wouldn't need all the secret codes.


There needs to be something. Having a physical key to "Anonymous Parcel Box X" doesn't make it very anonymous. There has to be no ongoing tie between the buyer and the box for it to really work. That's why a randomly assigned box and a randomly assigned access code are so good.

As for what people would use it for, it wouldn't really be for illegal purposes if they are buying legit products from legit online vendors. If it was set up so that only approved vendors had access to the box/key assignment system you wouldn't have to worry about the system getting hijacked by Joe the pot man or Biff the heroin dude.

As for why, it would really only appeal to privacy nuts assuming it was set up to prevent use for drug drops and stuff like that.

Anonymous
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December 24, 2010, 04:43:03 AM
 #10

The person picking up the product could get the location sent via sms as they show up. The dropbox  company would be the shipping address.

Then you only have the location when you actually use it.
Cryptoman
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December 24, 2010, 05:19:04 AM
 #11

This can't be legal.
I remember getting a lockbox from a UPS Store one time, and they had to do a postal verification, i.e., some postal dude had to sign off on my actual home address.  This might be different though as you are not trying to establish an address.

Quote from: immaminer
As for why, it would really only appeal to privacy nuts assuming it was set up to prevent use for drug drops and stuff like that.
It's for those of us who want government and other nanny institutions out of financial transactions between honest, non-violent adults.

Quote from: Anonymous
The person picking up the product could get the location sent via sms as they show up.
You could preserve privacy as long as the phone was an anonymous, pay-as-you-go type.

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." --Gandhi
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