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Re: [Taler] Wallet to wallet transfers

From: Jeff Burdges
Subject: Re: [Taler] Wallet to wallet transfers
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2017 11:53:41 +0200

On Mon, 2017-07-17 at 12:04 +0530, Noufal Ibrahim wrote:
>     I'm trying to do something that works more like conventional money
> where I can give it to other people. Is it possible to do this
> somehow? Perhaps just hide the user->exchange communication so that
> they don't have to do that explicitly. 

I'm unsure about the current status of wallet-to-wallet transfer
implementation, but the important thing you need to understand is : They
cannot be used between uncordinated or distrusting parties.

Imagine this scenario :  

Alice has Taler coins and transfers them to her brother Bob.  Alice is
honest so her wallet deletes these coins  correctly, or otherwise marks
them as unspendable.  Alice has a computer problem, like hard drive
crash, theft, etc., so she restores her machine from backup.  Alice's
backup was after she withdrew some of the coins, but before she gave
them to Bob though.  As a result, Alice spends those coins without
knowing she gave them to Bob.  Now when Bob tries to spend it fails and
his wallet balance magically shrinks, so he gets pissed off that he
spent money but the merchant says he did not.  

All parties are completely innocent of wrong doing, but we get a
disagreement between Bob and the merchant who both know nothing of
Alice's backup.  The error messages explain that the coins were spent,
but Bob and the merchant may not understand that this has anything to do
with Alice.

We've discussed doing some "cloud" coordination for transferring coins
in this way.  We could keep some metadata in Bob's wallet about where he
got the coins to mention Alice in the error message.  It's a messy
situation though regardless.  We believe wallet-to-wallet transfers are
a good solution for parents giving their children spending money, but
beyond that requires care.  And trust among the transferring parties.


p.s.  We're developing a more robust scheme for doing only single hop
transfers, like if a website wants to (micro)pay users for doing

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