Release date:
April 14, 1997
Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Bank Austria and Den norske Bank to issue ecash(tm) the electronic cash for the Internet

Today, DigiCash bv announced that Den norske Bank and Bank Austria (the largest banks in Norway and Austria, respectively) will be the first banks in their countries to issue ecash(tm), DigiCash's electronic cash for use over the Internet.

Using only a PC connected to the Internet, the bank's clients will be able to pay for a wide range of products and services, including database searches, mail-order products, stock quotes, news, entertainment, and software.

Ecash is unique among Internet payment systems, in offering both security and user privacy. Security, a key requirement for making payments over the Internet, is ensured by public key cryptography, where the user and the bank exchange cryptographic keys thereby allowing secure encoding of all payment related messages sent over the Internet. Ecash also ensures the privacy of the user, permitting payments which do not reveal the customer's identity. Due to the low transaction costs of ecash low-value purchases, or so-called micro-payments, are not only practical but cost effective for both the banks and merchants, and help broaden the cyber-marketplace in terms of products and services on offer. Another important feature of ecash is its bi-directionality, meaning that the customer can also receive ecash from another ecash user. These peer-to-peer payments allow any user to become a seller of goods on the Internet. The ecash(tm) software also has a unique recoverability feature, which allows customers to recover their money in the event of a hard disk crash. Both Bank Austria (http://www.bankaustria.com) and Den norske Bank (http://www.dnb.no/) will work together with selected merchants in offering a diverse range of products to their ecash customers.

Apart from a PC, Den norske Bank's and Bank Austria's customers will not need any special hardware or cards. Once users have installed the free software, they can simply connect to their bank's Internet site and download digital coins from their ecash(tm) account directly onto their PC's hard disk. These coins can then be spent with participating Internet merchants using ecash's simple point and click interface.

David Chaum, DigiCash's founder stated: "These new agreements mark an exciting new series of partnerships we are forming with the banking community. They demonstrate that DigiCash and its partners are committed to making ecash(tm) (already recognised as the pre-eminent Internet payment technology) into a widely-adopted industry standard."

Robert Macho, Bank Austria, Senior Advisor Electronic Banking stated: "Since the beginning of 1995 Bank Austria offers - as one of the first international banks - direct online-account services on the Internet. The current existence of smart-card and electronic-purse services in Austria proves that the Austrian market is ready for the issue of digital money for the Internet. Therefore the implementation of ecash is the next logical step in the path to real electronic commerce. It will fill the gap between banking and credit-card business and will meet the needs of both private and commercial customers."

"There has been a lot of interest already, and in preparation for the ecash launch we've recruited some leading merchants. Interflora, the leading CD retailer (Akers Mic) and the leading financial newspaper (TDN) will be participating during the trial period, before we make ecash available to other merchants" said Bjorn Kloster, Deputy General Manager, Commercial Banking Division, Den norske Bank.

Robert Zipplies, DigiCash Business Development Manager, added: "We are very pleased to be working with two more leading banks in Europe to introduce a cutting-edge payment system to their customers. Ecash, like real cash, will allow consumers to shop in a secure and private manner which is both convenient and user-friendly. These ecash implementations will significantly stimulate the electronic commerce markets in both Austria and Norway."

Recent licensees of ecash, Deutsche Bank (Germany) and Advance Bank (Australia) are now in the final stages of implementing ecash and will soon be issuing ecash to their clients.

Two weeks ago DigiCash also announced its co-operation with Nomura Research Institute (NRI). NRI will be the first in Japan to license ecash technology for the development of an electronic money payment system. NRI will use ecash, denominated in Japanese yen, for a unique intranet based system that will allow NRI employees, departments, and associated companies to exchange value in real time, without the need for smart cards, paper, or complex systems.

Contact DigiCash Pty Ltd          Contact Den norske Bank,
(Sydney):                         (Oslo): 
Mr. Andreas Furche                Mr. Bjorn Kloster
Ph:  +61 2 9375 2316              Ph:  +47 22 949179 
Fax: +61 2 9375 2121              Fax: +47 22 949555 
mobile (0419) 385 569
email: andreas@digicash.com       email: bjorn.kloster@dnb.no
http://www.digicash.com/          http://www.dnb.no/

Contact Bank Austria
(Vienna):
Public Relations Department
Ph: +43 (1) 711 91 7011
http://www.bankaustria.com/