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Second USENIX Workshop on Electronic Commerce

Agora: A Minimal Distributed Protocol for Electronic Commerce

Eran Gabber and Abraham Silberschatz
Bell Laboratories


Agora is a Web protocol for electronic commerce, which is intended to support high-volume of transactions each with low incurred cost. Agora has the following novel properties:
  • Minimal. The incurred cost of Agora transactions is close to free Web browsing, where cost is determined by the number of messages.
  • Distributed. Agora is fully distributed. Merchants can authenticate customers without access to a central authority. Customers with valid accounts can purchase from any merchant without any preparations (such as prior registration at the merchant or at a broker).
  • On-line arbitration. An on-line arbiter can settle certain customer/merchant disputes.
  • Fraud control. Agora can limit the degree of fraud to a pre-determined (low) level.
Agora is authenticated, secure and can not be repudiated. It can use regular (insecure) communication channels.

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Last changed: 15 April 2002 aw
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