A safe and scalable payment infrastructure for trade of electronic content

Gadi Shamir*, Michael Ben-Or, Danny Dolev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BARTER (a Backbone ARchitecture for Trade of ElectRonic content) is a payment infrastructure that facilitates digital content trade over an open network. BARTER is designed to operate over a large-scale, global and heterogeneous communication network. The BARTER protocols address two vital requirements, neglected from existing electronic commerce systems: scalability and transactional efficiency. These protocols possess strong properties such as delivery atomicity, agreement validation and the ability to resolve several classes of disputes. BARTER'S novelty is twofold: First, BARTER servers are not required to perform expensive cryptographic operations such as commitment verification; commitments are cross-verified by the parties themselves, thus reducing the overhead of online transaction processing by orders of magnitude. Consequently, BARTER can serve as an efficient online/offline clearing infrastructure. Second, BARTER integrates scalability considerations into several system components (the authentication subsystem, the account management subsystem, and the maintenance of global data) that are likely to suffer service degradation in a world-wide setting. In addressing these issues, BARTER takes into account the inherent asynchronous, unreliable, insecure and failure-prone environment assumptions. We contend that by employing service distribution, BARTER is expected to scale well, meeting the demands of a world-wide setting, over which it is intended to operate.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)331-354
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Cooperative Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


  • Atomic transactions
  • Electronic commerce
  • Electronic markets
  • Fair exchange
  • Fault tolerance
  • High availability
  • Secure systems


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