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Case study of a commercial standard

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1 Author(s)
Severance, C. ; Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI, USA

There are several forms of digital currency and electronic charges that will begin to allow micropayments for Internet site access. Once there is a convenient way to collect micropayments, the number of quality sites will increase dramatically and attract a wide range of Internet users. Digital currency schemes, including CyberCash, First Virtual, DigiCash, and CheckFree, have been around for some time. Each has contributed to the development of electronic commerce, but in some ways there were too many solutions to be able to adopt one of them as a general solution. So the author was heartened when in 1995 MasterCard began to work with Netscape Communications to develop LivePayment, an approach to electronic commerce. He thought that Netscape's dominance in both the browser and commercial server market would ensure that the standard would be universally supported. Possibly in reaction to the Netscape-MasterCard alliance, Microsoft and Visa began to develop a competing electronic transaction standard, the Secure Transaction Technology. Later, Netscape and MasterCard accused Visa and Microsoft of planning to charge a royalty for each use of their standard. Eventually the differences were resolved, and in February MasterCard and Visa agreed to support a royalty-free standard called Secure Electronic Transactions. Progress on SET has been good since February. Netscape has announced that it will support SET in addition to LivePayment. Given that Microsoft, Netscape, MasterCard, and Visa are all behind SET, there is a good chance that it will become the universal micropayment scheme

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 11 )

Date of Publication:

Nov 1996

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