When I used to blog for Wilmott, I used to be a frivolous uninhibited person. But now, I’ve noticed, the gravitas of Reuters, and the fact that every post has to go through their editorial staff who have standards to uphold and probably don’t want to get sued either, has inhibited me. I think twice or even three times about writing unweighty garbage. Will it be long and significant enough? I don’t want to sound stupid.
The hell with that.
The other day I used the Chase app on my iPhone to deposit a check from my health insurance for $17.32. The app made me enter the amount, and then asked me to use my iPhone’s camera to photograph both the back and front of the check. Then it sent it off, and later, I got an email telling me that the check had cleared.
Impressed, I sent out a short tweet saying “Chase iPhone app lets you deposit checks by photographing them. Just did. I’m hoping you can soon deposit cash the same way.”
Soon after I received a tweet from @ChaseSupport: “@EmanuelDerman Glad to see that you’re using our mobile app! Cash quick deposit isn’t on the roadmap, but I’ll forward the suggestion.”
They didn’t seem to realize I was kidding, and that photographing cash to deposit it is fraught with problems.
But then I wondered what would happen if I posted photos of my $17.32 check on the internet and encouraged everyone to deposit it photographically? Eventually all the copies of checks would bounce back to the original issuer and flood him. It could be like a distributed denial-of-service attack that brings down the banking system. Probably I shouldn’t be allowed to publish this idea.
I suspect that the idea of a denial of service attack originates in college dorm stories about everyone simultaneously flushing the toilet while someone is showering. You can read about the infrastructure implications here.