Funge Systems Launches New Smart Card Open Transaction Platform for Mobile Devices and Personal Computers

Early Adopters Include Microsoft, Smart Card Integrators, Titan Systems, ATMEL

Funge Systems Inc., the developer of a new smart card payment brand for digital mobile commerce and e-payments, announced today The Open Transaction Platform(TM) (OTP) for smart card transactions.

This technology enables secure financial and non-financial smart card transactions on any personal computer or mobile device. This open, non-proprietary platform allows secure electronic transactions independent of any specific financial institution, operating system, hardware or software provider.

The power to choose a service provider or application developer is in the hands of the corporate or government customer that provides the smart card to its end user or consumer.

The Funge system was developed to take advantage of the convergence of smart cards, e-commerce, wireless telecommunications and the Internet. The OTP Funge-enabled smart card provides corporate and institutional customers with the Secure Authenticated Counter (SAC), Universal File Structure (UFS) and cryptography needed to interface with wired or wireless digital devices.

The cards are designed to be compatible with personal computers, ATMs, point-of-sale terminals, vending machines, cable set top boxes, mobile telephones, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). It enables any secure transaction to take place - credit, debit or "stored value" e-purse (which allows for downloading funds to the card).

A key differentiator of the new Funge Systems smart card payment brand is that customers have the freedom to choose any card operating system, smart card manufacturer, encryption, backend process or financial settlement institution to create its own e-payment or mobile commerce smart card architecture.

Each user of the platform can define its own business rules as well as have a product that works across multiple interoperable implementations.

Although the Open Transaction Platform is, by its very nature, an open, non-proprietary platform, Funge Systems has brought together an initial team of "best-of-breed" partners to help launch the OTP and to demonstrate and deliver a total end-to-end e-payments solution. This ensures that the smart card-based system is available now to any business needing a secure, cost-effective e-payments solution.

Among these "early adopters" of the Funge Systems business concept are several technology, infrastructure and equipment companies as well as application developers.

They include Chase Manhattan Bank, which provides financial transaction settlements; ATMEL, a global supplier of secure Flash-based micro-controllers; Smart Card Integrators, Inc., a smart card integrator; Titan Corporation, a wireless technology provider; and Microsoft, which provides the card operating system.

For example, Funge Systems has worked closely with Microsoft to ensure that the Open Transaction Platform is compatible with the Windows for Smart Cards operating system.

The Windows for Smart Cards operating system brings the benefits of Windows to the smart card industry with familiar development tools, compatibility with other Microsoft operating systems, and interoperability over multiple processors.

The Windows for Smart Card operating system also enables multiple applications to be downloaded to a single card, meaning Windows for Smart Card customers will be able to add the Funge Systems Secure Authenticated Counter and Universal File Structure to smart cards also used for network access, healthcare, GSM communications, and other tasks.

Funge Systems developed the Secure Authenticated Counter to provide a means for authenticating cards, terminals and users. Each customer can write their own business rules limiting the liability for lost or stolen cards. With the ability to securely authenticate and transmit information, the SAC can be used for payments of any amount.

In addition to a PIN, the system can easily add a biometric security feature for highly secure or sensitive transaction requirements.

To encourage rapid and widespread use of the Open Transaction Platform, Funge Systems is licensing the source code for a one-time license fee of $1. To break down old barriers to smart card adoption, the cost of manufacturing smart cards and installing or upgrading readers will be subsidized by Funge Systems and its partners.

In addition, because the transaction process is no longer based on a proprietary operating system, customers can post card issuance download applications, switch file structures, and even switch operating systems if necessary, at any time.

Keith Benson, CEO and founder of Funge Systems, said: "By eliminating these financial and technology barriers, Funge Systems enables providers and application developers to offer their customers complete flexibility of choice for optimum growth. Funge Systems completely changes the traditional business model that has constrained the use of smart cards globally. With the Funge Systems OTP, all cards will be accepted at all points of sale in the virtual world."

Funge Systems and Newcom, its research and development arm, hold patents that secure the company's position as the legitimate provider of smart card readers with multiple chips for digital mobile phones and the integration of mobile telephones with PDAs and card readers.

The patents help to ensure that the Funge Systems OTP will reside on all mobile devices using a smart card for payments and non-financial transactions. The company holds patents in Australia and South Africa with others pending in more than 100 countries. Funge Systems intends to license this essential technology to interested parties.

The US patent application, allowed in November 2000, is focused on technology that enables digital phones to carry multiple subscriber identity module (SIM) cards. A SIM is a smart card application that safely stores subscriber authentication identity keys, and the SIM application uses these keys to authenticate the mobile user to gain access to the GSM network.

The Open Transaction Platform can be adapted to any type of e-payment program - consumer to consumer or business, consumer to government, intra-organizational or any other variation of transaction types. Additionally, the Open Transaction Platform allows migration from wired to wireless as customers and geographic markets around the world become ready.

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