Executive Summary of the SOX TM Protocol

Features. SOXTM - Systemics Open Transactions - is a protocol for passing value instructions over the Internet with the following features:

Payment Models. SOX implements, or is capable of implementing, the three fundamental payment methods:

  1. Cheques. A payer can pass a transfer instruction to a payee for deposit. This method can be extended to provide micropayments (small payments that match the efficiency of the Internet).
  2. Cash. Token money may be implemented via either special token modules that implement, for example, blinding formulas, or by transfer of secret keys (followed by a suitable user-driven rollover).
  3. Direct. Payments written by the payer can be directly deposited on behalf of the payee.

SOX is effective down to $0.001, and can easily be extended to handle smaller values.


SOX was designed to handle monetary and financial instruments. The Ricardo architecture includes an Issuer and the open-sourced WebFunds client, both incorporating SOX as the protocol for communicating value instructions.

Ricardo forms the basis of a financial system, the other component of which is a trading exchange. The markets themselves are based on SOX implementing financial instruments using Ricardian contracts.

Trials have been conducted with zero coupon bonds, dollars, and metals, alongside a multitude of valueless instruments.

Stop Press
Intertrader announces support!

Intertrader, a UK provider of e-payments middleware, have announced their intention to support SOX and Ricardo within their payment management product, the Intertrader CashBoxTM

Building retail onto SOX is easy. Merchant sites have been demonstrated with pay-per-view (e.g., newspapers), purchase orders (e.g., sales of books), and pay-refund (e.g., overpayments and gambling). Other possibilities for SOX include:

All of these applications require some degree of higher-level code.


Value is held by a co-operative arrangement between an issuer of value and an owner of value. The issuer ascribes value to a registered public key, and the owner of that value controls it via the secret key. By definition, the holder of the secret key is the owner.

To maintain value, the issuer mounts an Internet server that receives instructions that are encrypted and signed. The server provided by Systemics uses a conventional accounting back-end to control the allocation of value; other methods are possible.

To control value, an owner uses software that issues SOX instructions over the Internet, such as that provided by the WebFunds open source project or their partners.

Communication is divided into two broad packet layers:

In fitting with the inherent modularisation of Ricardo, SOX itself says nothing about the type of value that is being managed, providing a byte array to carry that data. In practice, within the Ricardo implementations, value is typed by Ricardian Contracts which are legal contract, digitally signed by issuers. The message digest (MD5 or SHA1) of these documents forms the identifier for the type of value.

More Information. Write to us or see the SOX Index.

Ricardo, SOX, and Systemics are trademarks of Systemics Inc.
CashBox is a trademark of Intertrader Ltd.
Cryptix is a trademark of The Cryptix Foundation Ltd.

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