Electronic wallets, server-side or client-side

So, I’m studying E-commerce at the moment and am working through a chapter about how to simplify online payments. They suggested two very common techniques. One is a server-side storage of cash, similar to a bank account. This means if the merchant website accepts payments from this server you can save time with purchases, all details are hosted on their servers and security is maintained by them for many users. The other common alternative is a client-side wallet. This involves users downloading software onto each of their electronic devices that they wish to use for payments.

I think I would like to see another alternative… similar to what is happening with things like the social site diaspora. What about decentralizing the storage of these e-wallets. Allowing personal users who have a server to run and maintain their own version of this electronic wallet. It limits the risk of hackers gaining access to thousands of accounts and also effectively allows each user to maintain ownership over their personal details.

I am a huge fan of people developing online identities, but also, of individuals having control over that information. Being able to run your own invoice server, electronic wallet, personal id for social sites like facebook etc or generally being able to keep this type of information separate from institutions and private from companies that could exploit that information will be an improvement on individual privacy that I would much prefer.

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