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There may exist a potential Bitcoin rival, fairCash. The founder mentioned this briefly at the Mobile World Congress in a Q&A session with Google. There a little resources on the internet about fairCash and their homepage is written in an advertising tone and the technical information given is superficial:

"It comprises a comprehensive technology framework that combined eWallet hardware and algorithmic software elements to conduct pre-paid eCash transactions which mimic the behavior of Physical Cash in the closest possible way through teleportation of financial objects."

They post a thesis and and patent on their website. Google Scholar finds one "scientific" paper or conference abstract of questionable quality. From these, we can learn, that fairCash tokens are electronic secrets (read some data), issued and cleared by a central authority. They can be circulated using special devices (eWallets) in a peer-to-peer fashion. However, protection against double spending and fraud is only guaranteed by the central authority (and trust into the tamper resistance of eWallet devices).

Can anyone expand?

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    I've never heard of it, but judging by the fact that it uses teleportation technology I would say it is far in advance of anything Bitcoin has to offer. – Chris Moore Feb 29 '12 at 20:13
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I don't know anything about this in particular, but there is nothing new about centralized cryptocurrency. Satoshi in his paper references the state of the art at the time, which is digital signature based tokens which have to be verified by a mint for authenticity. They can use Chaumian blinding for anonymity, as in Digicash - OpenTransactions also implements this.

Bitcoin is of course completely different in that it's decentralized. Ben Laurie has somewhat infamously demonstrated his failure to grasp the concept of decentralization:

A friend alerted to me to a sudden wave of excitement about Bitcoin.

I have to ask: why? What has changed in the last 10 years to make this work when it didn’t in, say, 1999, when many other related systems (including one of my own) were causing similar excitement? Or in the 20 years since the wave before that, in 1990?

As far as I can see, nothing.

So fairCash isn't any more a rival to Bitcoin than other similar companies that have failed in the past, and is likely to join the list Laurie is talking about.

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