Is there a white paper that describes the core protocols of OT in a very simple and straightforward manner? I imagine at it's core, OT is very simple...but videos of GUIs and interviews obscure that simplicity. Satoshi's white paper gave me that clarity about bitcoin...is there something similar for OT?
Unfortunately I haven't written up an official white paper yet, but there are some resources to understand the concepts...
Open-Transactions is comparable to Ricardo, which is described at the high level, plus diagrams here:http://www.systemics.com/docs/sox/overview.html
The core account system is designed around "destruction of account history", an idea that was pioneered by Truledger.
"Truledger in Plain English" is the best introduction: http://truledger.com/doc/plain-english.html
The untraceable cash instrument is implemented with the Lucre library.
White paper available here: http://anoncvs.aldigital.co.uk/lucre/
Instructions for using the OT API: https://github.com/FellowTraveler/Open-Transactions/wiki/Use-Cases
I have written quite a few wiki articles, you can see the list here:https://github.com/FellowTraveler/Open-Transactions/wiki/_pages
Some of the messaging / transaction protocol is explained here:https://github.com/FellowTraveler/Open-Transactions/wiki/Messaging
So under the MAIN window and "Account list" i assume those are all just your own accounts on your computer?
The accounts are displayed for whatever server they are on.
In the case of the video walkthru, I'm using a test server that is running on my own machine. (Via the "localhost" server contract, a test contract that comes with OT.) So yes, those accounts are "on my computer".
If you issued something like stock. Is there any way to know exactly how many stock someone else has?
Currently there is not a message that allows you to look up someone else's account and view the balance. (Of course, people are free to show you their last receipt.) It wouldn't be hard to add an API call that verifies such receipts, or that downloads the current balance for certain types of accounts.
I like the idea that this can make bitcoin truly anonymous (and that's just one small piece of OT!)
I think the main benefits that OT gives to Bitcoin are:
1) Instant finality of settlement (instead of waiting for the 6 confirmations...)
2) Untraceable and anonymous cash.
3) Convertibility to other asset types on OT markets.
4) (Soon) Safe storage of Bitcoins on OT servers, via voting pools on the Bitcoin blockchain. (To prevent incidents like happened at MtGox and MyBitcoin...)
The benefits that Bitcoin gives OT:
1) A universal medium between OT servers, with no 3rd parties necessary.
2) A publicly-auditable reserve that cannot be confiscated or shut down.
3) A network of existing exchangers and businesses who crave more functionality and safety for their Bitcoin.