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Author Topic: [RFC] bitcoin electronic check standard  (Read 2491 times)
jgarzik
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August 06, 2010, 10:41:57 PM
 #1

I have developed a sample electronic check for bitcoin.  This should work for printed checks, as well as for mobile devices.  Maybe we could develop this as a standard for http://bcspec.org/.  Note that this scheme requires a payment processor as intermediary, to store the checks until they are paid.

Sample check, suitable for emailing, scanning or mobile phone photograph: http://gtf.org/garzik/bitcoin/check.pdf

Sample output from barcode scanner program zbarimg:
Code:
$ zbarimg check.pdf
QR-Code:BITCOIN_CHECKv1 u:my_user n:1231-abcd-1231-defa v:100.00

Key:
"BITCOIN_CHECKV1": specification identifier
"u":  user identifier at payment processor.  Note: unreliable information (rely on 'n').
"n":  unique check id number at payment processor.
"v":  value.  Note: unreliable information (rely on 'n').

Perl source code (requires qrencode program): http://gtf.org/garzik/bitcoin/gen-check.pl.example

QRcode is a nice, barcode-friendly, photo-friendly method of passing information.  It's very flexible.

However, the concept of electronic checks themselves have a few notable details:
* May work with merchants
* May work with mobile phones
* Like checks, a simple photograph can enable theft.  A normal US check includes bank account info, from which a thief may use to steal your money.  With bitcoin checks, the thief may only steal money for the amount of the check.
* At the option of the payment processor, a password may be required in order to use the check.
* Payment processor may provide option to stop payment on a check.


Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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jgarzik
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August 07, 2010, 04:28:50 AM
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Updated script URL to gen-check.pl.example, to stop the Web server from attempting to run it Smiley


Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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August 07, 2010, 06:50:22 PM
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As I just posted in another thread, just write the user name and password of a MyBitcoin.com account with bitcoins in it. Instant check. Shocked

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August 21, 2010, 08:23:19 AM
 #4

I don't know whether you can for commercial purposes call these "checks" in the U.S., because they are probably not negotiable instruments under the UCC in the U.S.   Not because they are electronic, but because bitcoins are not government-issued currencies and thus not "money" under the UCC.    Unfortunately it's still "money transfer" under money laundering laws.    Caveat: IANAL, you should consult a lawyer.
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