Open Trading Protocol Standard For E-Commerce Now Available

Chris Smith smith at
Tue Jan 13 03:50:22 GMT 1998

Included below is today's press release on the
Open Trading Protocol (OTP). A lot of the background
work has been done over the last year and a half. 

XML came along at just the right time! The fit is, I think,
very good. There is input from this group, as we were trying
to ensure that we didn't create something too difficult to
work with.

The web site is up and running. Feel free to browse, and if
you have questions, I will either try to field them, or,
with a longer turn around, run them past the working group.

The release is version 0.9 - we felt it was appropriate to
get public feedback, and, if possible, a round of first
implementations before we could confidently issue version 1.


Release Date: January 12, 1998

 Contact: Edward Dixon, MasterCard International,
 914/249-5028 or email edward_dixon at
 Contact: Robin O'Kelly, Mondex International Limited,
 +44 (0) 171 557 5036 or email Robin.O'Kelly at

Open Trading Protocol Standards for Internet Commerce Now
Available For Comment and Implementation
OTP Consortium continues to grow with over 30 companies now
propelling the development of this standard for retail trading
over the Internet

PURCHASE, New York, Jan. 12, 1998 For the first time, a global
standard for retail trade on the Internet has been published and
is available now on the Internet. The complete specification for
the Open Trading Protocol (OTP) developed by the leaders in
Internet commerce has been posted for public comment, and pilot
implementation and trials.

The OTP website ( gives access to the OTP
specification, informational material as well as an email forum
to facilitate the exchange of comment and recommendations by
merchants, vendors and financial institutions. The website will
also provide any updates to the specification that come as a
result of this exchange.

The OTP standards enable a consistent framework for multiple
forms of electronic commerce, ensuring an easy-to-use and
consistent consumer purchasing experience regardless of the
payment instrument or software and hardware product used. The
protocol is freely available to developers and users, and builds
on XML, an emerging standard for information exchange on the
Internet. As a set of truly open standards, the protocol is not
"owned" by any one company, and its development will be managed
by an appropriate independent organization.

"The publishing of the OTP standards represents an important
milestone in the development of electronic commerce," said
Michael Keegan, CEO, Mondex International, a consortium member.
"If the potential of electronic commerce is to be fully
realized, it will flourish only in a truly open and
interoperable environment, an environment that the OTP standards

"Electronic commerce is really starting to click. The OTP
specification has been designed to support and complement other
specifications like SETtm (Secure Electronic Transactions) and
the EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip card specification
to offer a consistent online interaction for consumers,
merchants and banks using any number of payment options," said
Steve Mott, Senior Vice President, Electronic Commerce/New
Ventures, MasterCard International.

"Standards are the key to the Internet, and they're the key to
making it easy for our customers to become e-businesses," said
Mark Greene, vice president, IBM Internet payments and
certification. "OTP has done a significant service to the
industry by making this standard available for all of us."

"Sun has been involved in the development of the Open Trading
Protocol specification and we're delighted to see it released to
the public," said Patrice Peyret, director of the Java Commerce
Group for JavaSoft, a business unit of Sun Microsystems. "The
industry needs concrete technologies like OTP that will enable
electronic commerce. Like the Java Card API, we expect the Open
Trading Protocol to provide a reliable foundation for
transmitting a high volume of electronic transactions across
almost any network, including the Internet, and we look forward
to its future development."

The OTP initiative, established in anticipation of what is
expected to be a multi-billion dollar industry by the turn of
the century, now gains the support of DigiCash and SIZ, two
leaders in retail electronic payment systems (see Notes to
Editors). Today's announcement that DigiCash, a pioneer in the
development of electronic payment systems, and SIZ Computer
Science Center of the German Savings Banks, a German leader in
smart card introductions, especially GeldKarte, will both
support OTP as a global standard for retail trade on the
Internet demonstrates the growing momentum for the standard.
Thirty other members of the OTP consortium have brought OTP from
a concept to a significant standard in the Internet marketplace
in just nine months.

"The OTP will ensure that traders, retailers and shoppers will
all speak the same electronic language," said Michael C. Nash,
president and CEO, DigiCash. "We fully anticipate that Internet
shopping will quickly become more popular in the next few years,
and the OTP standards will help that process."

Alexander von Stülpnagel, CEO of SIZ, agreed. "The most
important need for the success of Internet commerce is the
existence of a framework which handles the whole business
transaction and where different payment systems can fit in. OTP
is this framework which can ensure that all business partners
are provided with systems for global and local Internet

The OTP standards were pioneered by AT&T, Hewlett-Packard
Company, MasterCard International, Mondex International, and
Open Market Inc., as well as all of Mondex International's
shareholding banks. Others who have combined with the effort to
develop the OTP include Hitachi, Royal Bank of Canada, BT,
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, CyberCash, Dot Matrix, First
Data Corp., Fujitsu, GIS, Hyperion, IBM, Information & Database
Network, Intertrader, JCP Ltd., MPACT Immedia, Inc., Mercantec,
Netscape Communications Corporation, Nokia, Oracle, Smart Card
Integrations Ltd., Spyrus, Sun Microsystems, Unisource, VeriFone
and Wells Fargo.

The Internet marketplace is growing rapidly and is expected to
be a $200 billion industry by 2000, according to Forrester
Research analysts. However, this marketplace is critically
dependent upon commonly accepted universal standards for
trading, security and commercial operations. This protocol will
reduce the merchant cost of setting up and doing business on the
Internet, while retaining the flexibility to offer products and
services in differentiated and innovative ways.

With the number of people who have purchased online currently
reaching 10 million, according to Nielsen Media Research, the
OTP standards will play a key role in rapidly increasing that
number by providing greater confidence in the efficiency and
reliability of the Internet marketplace. With the benefits of
online shopping greater access to information and increased
control in searching for goods and services fast becoming
evident, consumers, operating within the OTP standards, are
expected to shop online with confidence and ease, regardless of
the payment method, instrument, or software/hardware components
they use.

The OTP standards specify how Internet trading transactions can
occur easily, safely and efficiently for all parties,
independent of the method of payment very similar to the trading
environment in the physical world. Many existing protocols such
as Secure Electronic Transaction (SET), a global industry
standard for secure credit card payments over the Internet (see
Notes to Editors), focus on making a payment. The OTP standards
complement but don't replace these protocols by providing a
clearly understood set of rules that cover the following:

* offers for sale;
* agreements to purchase;
* payment (by using existing payment products, such as SET,
  Mondex, CyberCash, GeldKarte, etc.);
* the transfer of goods and services;
* delivery;
* receipts for purchases;
* multiple methods of payment;
* support for problem resolution;
* payment brand and protocol selection.

In addition to providing consumers with a consistent approach to
trading on the Internet, consumers will also have records of
purchases which could be used for tax purposes, making expense
claims, feeding into financial management software or sending a
claim back to a merchant to solve a problem.

Notes to Editors:

SIZ focuses on setting standards for the German Savings Bank
Organization (GSBO) in terms of architecture, methodology and
products, providing consulting services and coordinating joint
application development of IT centers (but not developing
applications on its own). This is done in close cooperation with
the IT centers and the Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband
(DSGV). According to its mission, SIZ is basically covering all
of IT, with special emphasis on technology (systems,
telecommunications, office), security, application coordination
and application provision. One of SIZ's tasks was the
introduction of Germany's electronic purse, the GeldKarte. Now,
30 million GeldKartes are issued by the GSBO.

Founded in 1990, DigiCash is a pioneer in the development of
electronic payment systems that provide security and privacy.
Available for open and closed systems and network use,
DigiCash's products are based on patented developments in public
key cryptography devised by Dr. David Chaum. DigiCash's first
product was a road-toll system developed for the Dutch
government. DigiCash's cryptographic technology has also enabled
the company to develop smart cards for a diverse range of
applications including CAFE, the smart card-based payment system
operated by the Headquarters of the European Union in Brussels.
The CAFE project was funded by the European Union, just one of
the several European Union technology projects with which
DigiCash has been involved, designing cards that feature
pre-paid cash replacement functions, loyalty schemes and access

SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) a global standard secures
credit card payments over the Internet by utilizing digital
certificates, which validate the genuine identities of both
cardholders and merchants participating in transactions via the
Web, combined with the encryption of individual card numbers.

A reprint of David Birch's (Hyperion) recent Financial Times
Virtual Finance Report article on the concepts behind shopping
protocols such as OTP is available from David in electronic form
(PDF). E-mail directly to daveb at to request a

# # #

Copyright 1998, The Open Trading Protocol Consortium

 Chris Smith                                          <smith at>

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