ERTP: The Electronic Rights Transfer Protocol

Mark S. Miller markm@caplet.com
Thu, 17 Jun 1999 22:50:52 -0700


Recent correspondence with Nick Szabo stimulated me to write down my 
thoughts on the next protocol layer up from E to build towards Smart 
Contracting:


		ERTP: The Electronic Rights Transfer Protocol

The summary section on http://www.erights.org/smart-contracts/index.html reads:
		


Capabilities are electronic rights of a sort, but by themselves lack 2 
crucial features needed for tradable electronic rights: 

 * Exclusive rights transfer.
 * Acceptability testing (so a 3rd party can determine if a trade is 
   mutually acceptable).

The next layer above distributed capabilities, ERTP 
http://www.erights.org/javadoc/org/erights/ertp/package-summary.html , does 
provide these properties. The ERTP protocol accommodates fungible & 
non-fungible rights, exclusive & non-exclusive rights, and blinded or 
non-blinded transfer. Only electronic rights manipulable via ERTP are called 
*erights*.

ERTP is a simple protocol involving only 4 types and 9 methods.  
erights.updoc http://www.erights.org/smart-contracts/erights-updoc.txt shows 
money re-implemented as a proper eright.  



This turned out cleaner than I expected.  Thanks to Nick for stimulating 
this to happen.  Lots of comments and criticisms of this would be most 
welcome. Right now it's quite evolvable, but once it starts getting used 
it'll accumulate the stickiness of any protocol standard.  Let's debug this 
while it's young.

	Cheers,
	--MarkM