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September 20, 1998

US MERCANTILE BANK DUMPS DIGICASH’S ECASH

By CBR Staff Writer

Missouri-based Mercantile Bank has ended a three-year trial of DigiCash BV’s eCash. It was a mutual decision, says DigiCash VP William Donahoo. Mercantile inherited the technology when it acquired Mark Twain Bank in 1997. Three hundred merchants and 5,000 customers participated in the trial of the untraceable internet currency, but according to reports Mercantile found that few of the participants were among the bank’s core customers in the six midwestern states where it wants to do business. Donahoo retorts that Mercantile – which he calls a very small midwestern bank – hadn’t bothered investing in eCash, hence the disappointing results. He’s sanguine about DigiCash’s future. Since the Mark Twain Bank trial began, DigiCash has signed Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Bank Austria in Europe as well as Australia’s St George and Bank of South Australia. Donahoo says talks with an American bank of comparable stature are well under way. Expect an announcement later this year. Donahoo adds that ideally he’d like to be able to make eCash available to US customers again, before 1998 is out.

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