Guillaume's blog

Thoughts on the future of money

Posts from the “oauth” Category

Microformats and decentralized online currencies

Posted on May 17th, 2009

Most people are probably aware of the announcement by Google (following Yahoo’s announcement) that they would be supporting microformats. What is really interesting to me is what this means for online currencies. If you look at an hReview, what it is fundamentally is a declaration of positive (or negative) experience measured as a number betwen 1.0 and 5.0 about an item, which someone publishes on the Web anywhere he/she wants. An aggregator like Google in turns aggregates it and computes an average of the rating. The reviewer does not need the authorization of the reviewed item to publish the review. That name typically includes a link (URL), which can be viewed as one of the identifiers of the reviewed items on the Web. It…

Improving the home loan application process

Posted on January 31st, 2009

I recently was very fortunate to purchase a house in San Francisco. As most home buyers, as part of the process, I had to get a loan approval  and to provide a lot of paper-based information. Unsurprisingly, I submitted this information in the form of electronically scanned print outs of various online Web services (thank Science I didn’t have to mail printed statements). This pile of information was then manually verified for accuracy and authenticity, and the relevant information was manually fed to a mortgage approval system. Here is the information I had to provide: Hazard insurance policy Complete institutional statements covering most recent months + as applicable, reasonable explanation and documentation for any large deposits within the last 60 days Copy of the…

Using ATM to send cash – no bank account or card required, only a cell phone.

Posted on November 5th, 2008

If you haven’t read this at bankwatch or banktech yet: Privier’s New ATM Service Requires No Card, Account The service is a cash-to-cash service targeted at the unbanked population. After registering a mobile phone online as well as other personal information, a user can go to an ATM, deposit cash, enter a mobile phone number, and receive in return a 10-digit withdrawal code that he can send to someone else. This is essentially an authorization delegation mechanism, and as such it reminds me of OAuth, which allows authorization delegation for APIs on the Web. The main issue here is adoption: the service is only valuable if the receiving party can go to an ATM that supports the technique, so my understanding is that this…

Defining and relating reputation, whuffie, attention, social capital and privacy

Posted on September 8th, 2008

Reputation I define having reputation as having reputable third parties willing to confirm one’s claims as true. These claims include: personal information such as one’s date of birth or first name,  transaction information such as timely re-payment of debt following a credit card purchase,  opinions expressed that are shared by others such as a blog post or  actions done or not that are approved by others artifacts produced that are appreciated by others Whuffie  Verifying someone’s claims used to be expensive and limited to a few players, such as credit bureaus in partnership with credit card networks. The recent computerization of communications has reduced the authentication cost by increasing the amount of authenticatable information (in the form of published opinion/thought pieces) and the potential…

What the IT at Google Bank would look like

Posted on May 30th, 2008

As I was watching the Google I/O keynote presentation, I thought about how all the development tools provided by Google (Google Gears, GData, OpenSocial, etc.) could be put to work to create a Google-powered Bank, and what the IT architecture of this Google Bank would look like. Here is how I think it could look like: All user interaction devices, whether it is a teller workstation, mobile phone, ATM machine, kiosk would provide access to the bank via any of the standard Web browsers (Opera, IE, Firefox, Safari). If access to device-specific functionality is required, it would be done by Google Gears (say for instance, that I want to access the ATM’s cash dispensing functionality, or I want to access the mobile phone’s built-in… a perfect banking use case for OAuth

Posted on May 13th, 2008 provides a free service, which is able with your authorization, to connect to your bank(s), retrieve your bank account information and all your transactions and provide value-add services with the data. In particular, it allows you to see where you money is spent and give you hints at how you could save money. I personally think it is a superbly designed UI to the user data held at banks, which shows how much value there is to unlock, and also how much startups can be so much more efficient at delivering innovating services than banks themselves sometimes. Yodlee, a partner of, was a dot com era example of this and might be their Web 2.0 equivalent. One problem is: requires you to provide your…