Settle on a name for the payments protocol
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In the incomplete draft specification, the protocol is currently called the Responsible Trust Traversal Protocol, which is usually abbreviated to RTTP, for understandable reasons. That abbreviation used to stand for Responsible Transitive Transactions Protocol, but someone suggested that transitive transaction meant something a bit different.
The upside of keeping the RTTP name would be that I wouldn't need to change anything, and the few places on the web that might still refer to (earlier versions of) the protocol by that name would still be using the current name.
The downside would be that it would be known by a meaningless acronym. I find it easier to invite ordinary people to contact me via the Jabber protocol, rather than via XMPP, even though the latter is now the "offical" name for the protocol. And email seemed to catch on better than SMTP.
So, what other names might be suitable?

The Hawala Protocol

This name has the advantage that it would communicate to a large number of people in the world exactly what the protocol is all about.
However, it would also communicate to some governments (see page 11 of this) that this is exactly the sort of thing they want to crack down on. On the other hand, governments that heavily regulate the movement of money probably won't take long to figure out that they want to heavily regulate users of the protocol, regardless of what it's called.
But the word hawala may also carry the wrong connotation for some of the ordinary people who might otherwise use the protocol. Appendix A of the above-linked document notes, "in popular usage, "hawala" is often used to refer to any sort of financial crime, particularly money laundering or fraud". Money launderers and fraudsters are not the people I want to attract to become users of this protocol; nor do I want to put honest people off the protocol by giving it connotations of illegality.


This word hints at the protocol's chains of trust, as well as its financial transactions and foreign exchange potential.
However, it's already been used as the name, or part of the name, of a dystopian novel, a campaign about supermarkets' supply chains, an information technology consultancy, and what appears to be a fundraising campaign involving bicycles.

The IOU Protocol

This name would communicate to many English speakers what the protocol is about, with an implied slant towards inter-personal debts, rather than use of the protocol by financial institutions, in an effort to remain competitive.
However, it's already been used or suggested as the name of a protocol involving Investor-Owned Utilities in California, and something involving smart contracts, which is not the same as, but a bit too close to what this protocol does.

The Credit Chains Protocol

This sort of explains what the protocol is about. Credit chain seems to be used as a generic term for something like what would happen in the protocol, though the current connotation perhaps inevitably suggests more centralization, given the financial world today.
The word credit gives the name more of a positive connotation than debt chains would have; even though the latter could be argued to be just as accurate a description of the protocol, chains seems to take on a different meaning when combined with debt.
Chains, as well as referring to the chains of trust the protocol relies on, could bring to mind the "blockchains" employed by Bitcoin and the like, at least in the minds of people interested in such money-transfer protocols.

Something else?

Other suggestions are welcome, as well as comments on the suggestions above.

Event Timeline

It's been suggested to me that credit chains evokes credit card debt, making that name less attractive.

I contacted Tyler Close, the author of the IOU protocol (the smart contracts one), asking if he was still using that protocol, or using or planning to use the name. He said he's not currently working on the protocol, but he noted that it's been presented at conferences (and won an award at one of them), and was picked up by HP Labs, as well as some other groups, so giving the same name to another protocol in the same general field might lead to confusion.

Here's another idea for a name:

Flying Money 💸

Flying money (飛錢 — often translated as flying cash) is sometimes considered to be the first kind of banknote. It was originally a written IOU redeemable for hard-currency copper coins.

While its history involves significantly more centralization than this protocol, it does involve IOUs, which are a central part of the protocol. The name is explicitly about money, and also suggests speed — Google Translate says that one of the meanings of the word 飛 in the original expression is swiftly — and transfers over long distances. Also, there's already a Unicode character for Money with Wings: 💸. (Unfortunately, I don't think I can make it bigger in this comment than it is in the heading above, so follow the link if you want to see the various ways it's sometimes rendered.)

On the other hand, the original flying money was, according to Wikipedia, so-called because the paper money had a tendency to blow away in the wind; this brings to mind Proverbs 23:4‒5. Also, the emoji is apparently sometimes (though by no means always) associated with people being separated from their money.

Would people associate this name with swift transfer of money, swift loss of money, or something else?

After writing the above about flying money, I discovered that the Japanese and Korean Wikipedia entries on the original flying money seem to be talking about something a little less centralized than I had imagined, and perhaps more like what the protocol aims to generalize and improve on.

However, it's a little hard to tell exactly what those articles are saying, when reading them through the lens of Google Translate.

tim claimed this task.


See also R4 and R5.