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The New Old Law of Electronic Money

James Steven Rogers

Boston College Law School

SMU Law Rev, Vol. 58, pp. 1253-1311, 2005
Boston College Law School Research Paper No. 62

A variety of electronic money systems have recently been proposed or implemented in which the initial transaction between the parties would - without any contact to the banking system - result in the instantaneous transfer of bank credit. For example, smart-card systems and various systems that have been proposed for internet payment transactions would operate by loading transferable value onto a device, so that a payment transaction could be completed by a transaction between the parties, without any contact to the banking system. It is generally assumed that there is no present law, statutory or judge-made, that applies directly to such electronic money systems. This article contends, to the contrary, that such electronic systems are essentially identical to the system of circulating bank notes that flourished in the United States in the early nineteenth century. Indeed, in its strongest form, the claim considered in this Article is not simply that the law of circulating bank notes might serve as a source of potential analogies, but that this body of case law already applies to such systems as a matter of ordinary principles of stare decisis.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 96

Keywords: electronic money systems, smart-card systems, Internet payment transactions, circulating bank notes

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Date posted: March 8, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Rogers, James Steven, The New Old Law of Electronic Money. SMU Law Rev, Vol. 58, pp. 1253-1311, 2005; Boston College Law School Research Paper No. 62. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=680803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.680803

Contact Information

James Steven Rogers (Contact Author)
Boston College Law School ( email )
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States

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