One class of finance applications that is interesting is that of developing new Intellectual Property (IP) over the net (a.k.a. IP). Following on from Ideas markets and Task markets, David points to ransomware, a concept where a piece of art or other IP is freed into the public domain once a certain sum is reached.
People seem ready for this idea. I've seen a lot of indications that there is readiness to try this from the open source Horde) and arts communities. The tech is relatively solvable (I can say that because I built it way back when...) but the cultural issues and business concepts surrounding IP in a community setting are still holding back the push.
Meanwhile, the CIA has decided to open up a little and build something like what we do on the net:
Opening up the CIA
Porter Goss plans to launch a new wing of the CIA that will sort through non-secret data
By TIMOTHY J. BURGER Aug. 15, 2005
In what experts say is a welcome nod to common sense, the CIA, having spent billions over the years on undercover agents, phone taps and the like, plans to create a large wing in the spookhouse dedicated to sorting through various forms of data that are not secret-such as research articles, religious tracts, websites, even phone books-but yet could be vital to national security. Senior intelligence officials tell TIME that CIA Director Porter Goss plans to launch by Oct. 1 an " open source" unit that will greatly expand on the work of the respected but cash-strapped office that currently translates...
The reason this is interesting is their obscure reference to translation, which we can reverse engineer with a little intelligence: the way that the spooks get things translated is to farm out paragraphs to different people and then combine them. They do this so that nobody knows the complete picture and therefore the translators can't easily spy on them.
Now, this farming out of packets is something that we know how to do using FC over the net. In fact, we can do it well with the tech we have already built (authenticated, direct-cash-settled, psuedonymous, reliable, traceable or untraceable) which would support remote secret-but-managed translators so well it'd be scary. That they haven't figured it out as yet is a bit of a surprise. Hmm, no, apparently it's scary, says Eric Umansky.
Unfortunately, they didn't open up enough to publish their article for free, and on one page at least Time were asking $$$ for the rest. More found here:
... foreign-language broadcasts and documents like declarations by extremist clerics. The budget, which could be in the ballpark of $100 million, is to be carefully monitored by John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who discussed the new division with Goss in a meeting late last month. "We will want this to be a separate, identifiable line in the CIA program so we know precisely what this center has in terms of investment, and we don't want money moved from it without [Negroponte's] approval," said a senior official in the DNI's office. Critics have charged in the past that despite the proven value of open-source information, the government has tended to give more prominence to reports gained through cloak-and-dagger efforts. One glaring example: the CIA failed in 1998 to predict a nuclear test in India, even though the country's Prime Minister had campaigned on a platform promising a robust atomic-weapons program.
"If it doesn't have the SECRET stamp on it, it really isn't treated very seriously," says Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit. The idea of an open-source unit didn't gain traction until a White House commission recommended creating one last spring. Utilizing it will require "cultural and attitudinal changes," says the senior DNI official. Sure, watching TV and listening to the radio may not sound terribly sexy, but, says Scheuer, "there's no better way to find out what Osama bin Laden's going to do than to read what he says." --By Timothy J. Burger