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Re: [Taler] new user; demo feedback; general questions

From: Christian Grothoff
Subject: Re: [Taler] new user; demo feedback; general questions
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2020 23:18:45 +0200
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On 8/22/20 10:49 PM, ricketson wrote:
> Hello Taler community,
> I recently learned about Taler and am very excited about it. I'm a big
> believer that we need a better online payment system than the credit
> cards and all those online apps -- Taler is one of the few systems that
> seems viable.
> I tried the demo, and just wanted to provide my feedback in case it is
> any value in the development and promotion of Taler.

Sure ;-)

> I learned of Taler via a Stallman interview profiled on Slashdot.
> I tried the demo (https://demo.taler.net/en/) and had a couple of small
> issues. I installed my wallet in Firefox, and could only get it to work
> if I selected the option to open the wallet automatically. Since I did
> not initially select this option, I had to reinstall the wallet to get
> it to work. The bank and essay shop worked well, but the tipping section
> gave me an error (code 503). "Backend response: {'code': 2710,
> 'exchange_http_status': 404, 'hint': 'tipping reserve unknown at
> exchange', 'exchange_code': 1151, 'exchange_reply': {'hint': 'Reserve
> not found', 'parameter': 'reserve_pub', 'code': 1151}}"

Yes, this is a known issue, we're completely revamping this part in the
upcoming 0.8 release hence there was no urgency in fixing it only for
the demo.

> I also have some questions -- they aren't pressing for me, but could be
> helpful as FAQs:
> 1. Can Taler be used directly from a bank account (without first
> withdrawing coins into a wallet)? In the US, banks have not established
> a viable electronic payment service for customers (though maybe Zelle
> will fill that role)  -- is this a role that Taler might fill, or is it
> specifically when you want to separate the transaction from the bank
> account.

You need to always withdraw first from a bank account. This is also key
for privacy: we need to decouple your identity from your purchase, and
the timing alone could otherwise easily leak your identity.

> 2. Can one Taler wallet work with several exchanges/currencies
> simultaneously?

Yes. https://test.taler.net/ is a second 'demo' using a different
currency -- alas right now also an incompatible protocol version. But
once 0.8 is out you'll be easily able to try it with multiple

> 3. Does the Taler exchange have to be trusted by both parties in a
> transaction?

Kind of. Usually users should never 'trust' the exchange, but the
*auditor* / regulator. So we would expect the parties to trust the
banking regulator (for the respective currency), and then the
wallet/merchant will be happy to transact with any exchange that is
audited by that auditor.

> 4. The 'survey' demo confused me -- it seemed like website was going to
> give me some Kudos, but my impression is that Kudos could only be
> received by special vendor wallets (not by regular customer wallets).

Indeed, if it works a normal user wallet will receive the kudos. There
is no 'vendor wallet'.

> 5. How can I help (as a potential user)? What are the bottlenecks for
> deploying Taler? Do you envision any small-scale deployments that might
> help people get more comfortable with it?

Any deployment requires at this point extensive expertise to setup the
keys and databases, so doing so at this time is really only useful for
people who really want to hack on the code, and not yet for potential

A small-scale deployment requires quite a bit of experience. I'm running
a first one at bfh.ch right now, and it takes time to setup and run, and
we're learning already a lot from it in terms of what we still need to

The main things small-scale volunteers can likely help with are:
- spread the word
- feedback on design/discussions on this list
- translations (Web site, UI elements, ...)
- help with bugs reported at https://bugs.taler.net/
- integration with Web shops (study merchant backend REST API at
https://docs.taler.net/) and feedback on integration experience

Happy hacking!


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