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GNU Taler

Advanced electronic payment system for privacy-preserving payments

GNU Taler is an advanced electronic payment system for privacy-preserving payments, also in traditional ("fiat") currencies like the Euro and the dollar. Unusually, the entire Taler system is free/libre software. Unique to the GNU Taler system is that it provides anonymity for customers, while delivering various anti-fraud measures. Payments can in principle be made in any existing currency, or a bank can be launched to support new currencies. Taler does fall under the usual regulations for electronic money issuers. One of the regulatory requirements that needs to be satisfied before payment providers can switch to this new system is that the payment service operator (the exchange) will need to be subjected to an independent auditor (which naturally would be paid for the service). In this project, a third party security audit of the GNU Taler codebase will be performed, creating a technology commons for fintech.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

What website do you trust the most? Is it the search engine that gives you the results you are looking for, that news site that keeps you updated? What about the site or app that lets you access your money? Online banking over the last few years has become so user-friendly and commonplace that people pull up their phone to pay for their groceries or send their friends a payment request for the drinks they had last night. They trust their bank, which usually handles the site or app they use, to keep their money safe and make sure transactions go where they are supposed to. If that bank wants to keep its customers happy, it will make sure that banking site or app is safe and stays safe. But that does not mean it will not be interested in your payment data, or decide for you how the site or app works that lets you access your money.

Maybe there is a way to pay online just as you can in the real world: with money that you put in a wallet of your choice (one that only you have access to) and use to pay for whatever you want, anonymously. The open-source and free software (free as in freedom) collaborative GNU project is developing GNU Taler, a transparent electronic payment system that lets users do their finances privately and safely. Users exchange their existing money into digital currency that goes in their electronic wallet. Just like paying with cash, you only need a legal proof of payment when you buy something. GNU Taler lets you pas just as anonymously, while ensuring safety, promising immunity against fraud by phishing or creditcard information. Because the open-source banking environment does keep check of the incomes of selling parties, it also prevents money laundering or tax evasion.

Funding can help take GNU Taler the next step and be independently audited, so users can finally have a transparent, trustworthy and truly private online banking environment they get to choose themselves.

Run by Taler Systems SA

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This project was funded through the NGI0 PET Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825310.

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Please check out NLnet's theme funds, such as NGI Assure and the User Operated Internet Fund.

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