Ecash was conceived by David Chaum as an anonymous cryptographic electronic money or electronic cash system in 1983. It was realized through his corporation Digicash and used as micropayment system at one US bank from 1995 to 1998.


What is ‘eCash’

An Internet-based system that allows funds to be transferred anonymously. Similar to credit cards, eCash was free to users, while sellers paid a fee. Because of security concerns, eCash remains more of an idea and less of an actual payment system.

Explaining ‘eCash’

eCash uses blind signatures (a type of digital signature where the message’s content cannot be seen before it is signed) so no link could be made between withdrawal and spend transactions. The system was used by one bank in the United States, the Mark Twain bank; however, the system was dissolved in 1997 after the bank was purchased by Mercantile Bank. eCash was a trademark of DigiCash, a firm that went bankrupt in 1998 and was sold to eCash Technologies. eCash Technologies was acquired in 2002 by InfoSpace.

Further Reading

  • Money in electronic commerce: Digital cash, electronic fund transfer, and ecash – [PDF]
  • The economics of mobile payments: Understanding stakeholder issues for an emerging financial technology application – [PDF]
  • The social construction of a secure, anonymous electronic payment system: frame alignment and mobilization around Ecash – [PDF]
  • This Time Is Different: Facebook's Libra Can Improve Both Financial Inclusion and Global Financial Stability as a Viable Alternative Currency to the US Dollar – [PDF]