NW_20010701_en_Commverge, July 2001_ "Soft Money_ Hard Cash Goes Digital. Slowly"

July 1, 2001

We’ve all heard about the mobile phone being used to make a purchase from a soda machine. Demonstrations at various trade shows have garnered responses ranging all the way from “oh wow” to “who cares?” No matter how visionary or far-fetched (depending on your point of view) it might seem, the idea that people could be interested in trading their pocket money for digital cash is far from a new one.

Mario Houthooft, [CEO of VASCO,] asserts that the Internet has been a major driver behind digital cash. “Now on the Internet, with electronic banking, people do use digital dollars,” he says. “This thing really takes off because there is an application, and the infrastructure is there. But now, the problem for a bank that’s issued a couple of million cards to its users containing e-purse and electronic bank identity applications, is how can the bank use that card in Internet-based applications without reissuing cards, changing infrastructure and going back to the old mistakes?”

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