Security and Privacy Applied Research Lab

How to Spend Your E-Cash

Mira Belenkiy
Brown University


An electronic cash (e-cash) scheme lets a user withdraw money from a bank and then spend it anonymously. E-cash can be used only if it can be securely and fairly exchanged for electronic goods or services. In this work, we introduce and realize endorsed e-cash. An endorsed e-coin consists of a lightweight endorsement x and the rest of the coin which is meaningless without x. We reduce the problem of exchanging e-cash to that of exchanging endorsements. We demonstrate the usefulness of endorsed e-cash by exhibiting simple and efficient solutions to two important problems: (1) optimistic and unlinkable fair exchange of e-cash for digital goods and services; and (2) onion routing with incentives and accountability for the routers. Finally, we show how to represent a set of n endorsements using just one endorsement; this means that the complexity of the fair exchange protocol for n coins is the same as for one coin, making e-cash all the more scalable and suitable for applications. Our fair exchange of multiple e-coins protocol can be applied to fair exchanges of (almost) any secrets.