Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Franz Kurfess

Abstract

With the vast increase in smartphones, there have been an increasing number of opportunities growing in the app industry. One in particular is the way we deal with money. There are huge overheads in the current payment systems around the world particularly in the United States, many of which include large transaction fees. Many new businesses have grown to solve these inefficiencies and create a new platform that provides a new user experience, security, and convenience among many other things. However, many of these platforms are still centralized, making them more susceptible to attacks. This thesis goes over the various methods of payments, starting from their origins and discusses their flaws and ways they are being improved. This study explains where payment platforms are going and how they line up against other platforms in terms of security and usability.

We look at the origins of credit cards and why the US is lagging behind other countries in credit card security. Digital wallets like PayPal, Venmo, Square, etc. have done a remarkable job, but still have room for improvement in terms of security and usage. I try to solve these problems with the mobile application AnyCoin by bringing one platform that houses different types of digital wallets. The goal of this application was to grow a large user base and collect data off the transaction for future analysis and advertising. This study goes through an in depth analysis on the application from the

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perspective of merchants and consumers to understand what users are looking for in digital wallets.

Decentralized platforms and crypto-currencies like Bitcoin have also created different ways to send money by creating a trustless system that does not depend on any central authority. I discuss what Bitcoin is and exactly how it works and the flaws in the current system. Mining is the process that puts Bitcoin into circulation and secures the network. However, as more customized hardware is released, Bitcoin will fall subject to becoming more centralized, and unfortunately become heavy regulated if it is to be used as a currency.

Ethereum is a new technology that takes the concepts of Bitcoin and creates a platform for a developer to create a decentralized application. I create a few contracts that show how we can create a decentralized version of PayPal that works using other crypto- currencies. Ethereum is still in its alpha stage and has yet to be released to the public, but has already improved on the problems that Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies hold.

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