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Author Topic: "Consensus!" Fiat to Crypto P2P Exchange Concept  (Read 1679 times)
Duane Vick
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February 20, 2014, 12:05:34 AM
 #1

I'm reposting this here. Originally it was in the Bank Run! P2P thread but don't want to distract from that thread or coattail it.

I'm just thinking out loud here but maybe something can come of this.

Western Union has a way to send cash to their agent locations. These transactions can by picked up in cash by a person by simply presenting the MTCN (Money Transaction Control Number) along with ID at the agent location. Once cash is picked up, it is obviously not reversible. There's a period of about 3 days for the cash funds to be available for pickup. The downside is having to show ID.

My thinking is that there still needs to be an escrow system that works anonymously. The escrow system can rely on mining for escrow fees. A not-yet-solvable block can be created once Bob deposits BTC plus escrow fee and enters his first and last name. In order to be solved, additional information has to be input from the transaction. When Alice sends the Western Union Three Day payment, she gets a MTCN from Western Union. She then enters that MTCN into the client, the country it was sent to, and amount. She also must enter a BTC address to receive the BTC when the block is solved. Once that information is entered, A waiting period of 96 hours is created. This creates time for Bill to obtain the cash, making the fiat transfer irreversible. The escrow system encrypts all the information and checks Western Union online to verify the MTCN is valid and the receiver matches, etc. If it all matches, then the block becomes solvable. Once solved, the btc gets paid to the bitcoin address supplied by Alice. The escrow fee gets divvied up amongst those who solve the block.

This solution would have to integrate well with checking Western Union online. This might require people to do this manually. In that case it adds an actual human work component to the escrow system. Now of course, a person might just say yes or no to whether the transaction information on Western Union's website matches the information in the block. To facilitate this, I think several people would have to confirm the transaction. If your confirmation or rejection of the transaction doesn't match with the other transaction checkers, you lose points. Lose enough and escrows won't be assigned to you anymore. Truthful responses will be rewarded with small amounts of points, leading to more escrow verifications coming your way. Those who verify blocks, leading to them being solved, get a portion of the escrow fees.


I'm not a programmer and don't fully understand how blocks, etc., work so this might be full of flaws. Hopefully, not so many that it is useless even as a beginning concept.



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Duane Vick
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February 20, 2014, 12:20:19 AM
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More about escrow agents:

Escrow agents would be composed of humans and of a quantity requested by the Bitcoin seller. Seller will specify an escrow fee ranging from $0 with no upper limit. Seller will also specify the number of agents needed to validate the transaction. So, as an example, Seller specifies a fee of 0.01 BTC and 10 agent confirmations. The 10 agents split the fee, getting 0.001 BTC each. Now, in the case of smaller transactions, a no fee transaction can be specified but there are some risks involved with that. I think that initially, anyone can download the client and become an escrow agent and potentially earn btc for doing so. When you first become an agent, you are limited to $0 fee and low fee transactions. Sellers and Buyers can rate the overall transaction and this system rewards trust points or reduces trust points to the agents. Also, agents who don't reach the same consensus as the other agents (they can't see other agents' validations) will get their trust reduced, and vice-versa for those who achieve consensus.

When you choose to pay a higher fee, you get access to agents who have received higher trust in the system as well as more agents, increasing the likelihood of drawing experienced agents. This can be important for transactions where more money is at stake.


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Duane Vick
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February 22, 2014, 05:13:04 AM
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Is there anyone who would comment on whether this could be feasible on a technical level?

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dansmith
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February 22, 2014, 11:55:49 AM
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I always prefer taking the simplest approach.
In your scheme the simplest approach would be involving a human escrow.

1. The Seller commit the BTC to be sold to a 2of3 multisig address (buyer, seller, escrow agent)
2. The Buyer sends the WU transfer
3. The Buyer gives the Seller the MTCN, asking the Seller to release the multisig funds.
4. The Seller uses MTCN and checks online if the WU transfer's been made.
5. The Seller can now release the BTC.

or if the Seller is stubborn and refuses to release the BTC, the Buyer takes the case to the human escrow agent.
The human agent releases the BTC to the Buyer.
Additionally you can add a collateral, so that the Seller can be penalized for being obtuse.

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