2.6.10 Micro Payments (micropay) bof

Current Meeting Report

Micropayments BOF - IETF 46 - Minutes

Location: Omni Shoreham hotel Washington DC.
Date: November 8'th 1999
Time: 15:30-17:30
Chairperson: Ilan Zisser (IBM) replacing Amir Herzberg (IBM).
Participants: about 120 people.
Purpose of meeting: Discussing the possibility of an IETF activity in the field of micropayments.

Meeting's minutes:

1. Ilan Zisser opened the meeting and stated his opinion that the micropayments area might benefit a lot from a standard.

2. Thiery Michell from the W3 consortium presented the standardization work done so far in this field at the W3C. In particular he presented the latest micropayments markup standard which is in final draft and can be found at http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-Micropayment-Markup/ .

3. Ilan Zisser presented the IBM approach towards issuing a payment order from a client to a merchant. This message is using public key cryptography and in particular digital signatures to ensure the authenticity of the message.

4. Mark Manasse from Compaq stated his opinion about a possible standard. Mark is responsible at Compaq to MilliCent, which is a micropayments system that uses symmetric cryptography. He believes that it is premature to discuss a standard to make micropayment systems interpretable and rather it would be better to create a framework to let different payment systems coexist.

5. Bob Hettinga from IBUC offered his company's help in assisting to build an open micropayment system.

6. John Ioannidis (JI) from AT&T Labs presented work done in the labs in the direction building a microtransaction system.

7. Several people from the audience participated in the discussion. The drift from their words was that it would be nice to have some kind of a standard. However: what is the thing that we should standardize?


1. This subject draws a lot of attention and interest. This is clear by both the number of people who attended and the things that were said during the discussion. It seems that most of the people who participated are interested in establishing a working group in the IETF that will try to standardize some aspect of this field.

2. The main issue seems to be "What is the mandate that should be given to such a WG?". The options range from defining a framework for micropayment transactions to take place to defining a standard for a "micropayment transaction ".

3. I, as the chairperson of the BOF will try to collect a bit more data from people and to try to come up with a suggestion for such a WG.


1. Do you think that the IETF should establish a WG to discuss a standard in the micropayments field?
2. If the answer to question 1 is affirmative, what do you think should be the mandate of the WG?

Mailing list

The following mailing list is open to discuss these issues: micropayments@elab.co.uk.

To subscribe please send a subscription request to: micropayments-on@elab.co.uk


None received.